The Curious World of Parenting...
Have you ever watched your child eat and enjoy something you loathe, or watched them excel at something you are completely rubbish at? I used to find it surprising when my children liked something I didn’t or disliked something I thought was amazing; I’m not sure why really, as they are of course individuals in their own right. However, whilst watching my 8 year old munch away on raisins, (which I cannot stand) it reminds me that my children are not carbon copies of myself and are actual humans with their own quirks and personality traits, some of which are, completely opposite to Mummy and Daddy.
Although I knew my children would all be different, I think I was surprised when my eldest struggled with spelling and when my medium child played up at school. ‘Where did she get that from?’ I’d ask myself - definitely not me, as I was never brave enough to step out of line at school… Suddenly I was (and sometimes still am!) the mum being beckoned over by the teacher at pick up time saying ‘can I have a word?’ Ugh, what’s she done now?… To me, this is strange, alien territory as I was never that child. However, it is during these moments it dawns on me that it’s my job to ensure they become the best versions of themselves, whoever they may become and to help facilitate their individual journeys along the way. Sometimes I think that all I really want is for them to be happy.
I am a busy mummy of three and the juggle is real. Most mums can relate to the juggle struggle and most of the time, ensuring all our kids are satisfied at all times can be impossible. I have two girls at primary school and one boy in nursery, I work as a teacher and have launched ‘Ta doodle dah' in addition to my ‘normal’ life. Life is busy and sometimes, that realisation that I am not doing everything I ‘should’ with my children on a daily basis can cause the dreaded guilt to creep in.
I am not a pushy mum, I like to think of myself as quite chilled and once my kids are home from school they do have the freedom to play and be themselves. They need that down-time and home should be a place for fun, creativity and imagination. I dread getting them to do their homework and hate the battle I am often faced with when I broach the ‘h’ word to my reluctant 6 year old. But however ‘unpushy’ I am, I still want my children to succeed and make progress at school; I’m sure most parents would feel that way. I feel happy when they pass their spelling tests and proud when they can read a page of their books without making a mistake. I think we all want our children to acquire the skills necessary to achieve in life and there is a fine balance between encouraging, helping and pushing them; don’t push too hard or they will fall.
We all want the best for our little ones, they don’t have to be top of the class, however, we want them to be able to read and write. So much emphasis is put on kids to read at home, but what about writing? I am definitely not a pushy mum, however, I like to think I’m a bit of a nudger. My kids love a bit of role-play and sometimes, I notice that if I leave a pile of dressing up in the middle of the floor they will gravitate towards it and ultimately start playing with it, even for a short while. Similarly, if I give them a pen and paper or a notebook, they will incorporate some writing into their game. Swirly scribbles and complete gobbledegook, creative stories and inconsistent spelling, kids have wonderful imaginations and in the words of C.S. Lewis, ‘you can make anything by writing.’
All parents want to inspire their kids in some way and I for one, would never want them to feel ‘forced’ to do anything. My number one priority is for my children to be happy and ensure that at the end of their years at school they will have acquired the skills to be able to cope in the real world. Unfortunately so many kids do not leave school with the literacy skills needed to support themselves or get a job. In fact, 1 in 8 disadvantaged children do not even own a book.
At ‘Ta doodle dah' we are linking up with ‘The National Literacy Trust’ to try and help raise literacy levels in disadvantaged areas. 10% of each notebook and set of notecards sold will go to the charity and we are releasing five new notebook designs in time to launch the partnership.
Any kind of writing at home can be fun; writing that will not be judged or ever come into contact with a red pen. Writing on fun notecards or in stylish notebooks is even better! I will always encourage my children to be themselves and #writerainbows because then the possibilities for their futures are endless. They will evolve and become who they are meant to be and I will be proud of them whether they like raisins or not.