Three weeks alone with the kids and one mom wonders if she has the same parenting abilities as her mother had.
This holiday I had the pleasure of looking after all three of my kids on my own for 3 weeks. The 2-year gap might be fantastic for the kids, but it sure is a nightmare for the mom. By week 3, I was ready to commit murder or be committed.
Remembering that our mothers managed to look after us without benefit of pre-school has made me question my abilities as a mom. Am I really that bad at motherhood that it makes me incapable of coping with 3 little ones under the age of 5? Obviously I had to investigate the possibility that there might just be mitigating circumstances.
So what was different 30 years ago?No TV
For starters there was no TV
in South Africa then. Hubby and his sisters played outside most of the time. Even though I would love to do this, I have to be outside with them and that is not always possible. We live on a smallholding in the bushveld
and there are dangers that I need to protect them from.
I can trust the 4-year-old to stay away from certain types of danger, but the 2-year-old is fearless and daring. Add to that the heat of the summer sun and a big part of the day is spent inside.Routine
My mother-in-law mentioned that she stuck to a very strict routine. Which would be lovely if I’d managed it early on, but since neither hubby or I are very routine-like people, this sort of fell by the wayside during their early years. Routine
in our house has the flexibility of a hosepipe.
My husband and his siblings had to nap during the day until they started high school. My 4-year-old is a notoriously difficult sleeper. I’ve been fighting to get him to go to sleep since he was a baby. These days I just don’t have the time to sit with him until he falls asleep.
The 2-year-old thankfully doesn’t have too many problems dropping off, but the baby isn’t on the same time schedule as the other two. Leaving me with 2 loud toddlers during the baby’s nap time.Maternal age
I’m roughly 10 years older than our mothers were when they had their kids. Energy wise, I don’t have the same amount of oomph as I had 10 years ago. But hopefully I’m a bit wiser.
I’m still not sure if there is enough evidence to exonerate my lack of coping ability. It could be that my personality isn’t suited to looking after small kids, or that 30 years ago there was no way around it so you just had to cope. Maybe it’s the fact that my kids are social animals like me that need the interaction with their friends on a regularly basis. Or could it be the holiday horrors of too much sweets, cool drink and presents?
What every the reason, the boys’ bags were packed and ready the day before school started. Being able to work again with only the baby to look after is sheer bliss. Of course I live in perpetual hope that when they are slightly older, say 2 or 12 years from now, it will get easier.
Are parents today less capable than our folks?