By Amanda Wright
With 2 children under the age of 5, I know I’m extremely fortunate and blessed, but I also feel extremely stressed, overwhelmed and constantly chasing my tail. Yet when I look across the playground or at mother and toddler groups I see other parents, calm, collected, unfazed as within their Mary Poppins bag they have everything under control. What I would love to know is, is this just a misguided perception that I’ve created in my mind or what is the secret to having their life sorted!
I think it’s hard for parents as we might say we don’t, but we do judge each other. We wonder if we should be playing that game with our children, singing that song or teaching them to sign as they learn to talk. We always wonder, could we be doing more, should we be doing more.
You see, no matter what we do, the guilt eats us up. My house is never tidy and it drives me insane! I know everyone says “it won’t ever be tidy again, well not until the kids get older”, but then I sometimes look at other parents and wonder where they hide all of the mess. Do they have a secret closet like Monica from friends, that when they know when they have people coming over everything gets stashed in one place and hidden away?
How do other parents deal with remembering everything that gets thrown at us from school! From sports days, to valentine’s discos, jeans for Gene’s day and of course the regular, bring something for the raffle. My diary is full and then I still forget. My cakes will be shop bought as I don’t have time to bake, if I do my children or the dogs have destroyed any masterpiece in 0 to 2 seconds and I also have to face the fact that…I can’t bake. But how do other Mums do it? How do they make sure their kid is dressed in red for the valentine’s party or they rock up with a perfectly baked batch of cakes?
Even when our kids are younger, if someone asked me now what my children’s first word was or when did they learn how to say that? There would probably be a blank expression on my face and then probably a lie, so that I didn’t look bad in front of the other Mums. But now, there’s apps! Apps such as Moment Garden or Peekaboo Moments which are designed to help you to record everything from first moments, to favoured pictures. All filed away and savoured for when you need to know the exact dates and times, of when they first said “Mummy” or when they took their first steps. Mums need to struggle no more remembering these crucial dates, we just need a helping hand to jog our memories!
An App to Help?
I know deep down that I’m not the only one out there who scrapes their hair back, dressed ready for “messy play”, scrambling in my kids back pack (only to realise I’ve forgotten the ballet shoes!) as when I actually find the time to speak to other Mum’s I find we are all really in the same position.
It’s hard, and it’s hard to find other Mums who are facing the similar daily battles as well as attending the same groups and classes and sing the same songs as you a thousand times a day!
Mum herself, Founder Michelle Kennedy, has developed and launched a new app called Peanut with Co-founder and parent, Greg Orlowski. Peanut in its simplest form, connects Mums with others like them, who are nearby and also interested in hanging out!
It might sound a little bit too much, hunting similar Mum friends out – but the truth is becoming a new parent can be daunting and finding and making friends with similar interests as well as being able to talk to people who feel the same and are in similar situations can be hard. Any help in this area is a bonus as it also takes away the awkwardness of trying to make friends in the local soft play or toddler music group in between nursery rhymes!
It does sound very similar to Tinder with its, swipe up to give another Mum a wave or swipe down to skip their profile, but its focus is about helping users find others with shared interests.
Personally, I think this could be a hard concept for Mum’s to take up because of the potential perception and eyebrow raising it could cause. However as a whole it’s a good idea. We need to be talking to others to find out that no, it’s not just you. Making us smile to hear other people’s stories of their child crying all day as they went to school in their uniform, when it was dress down day. Or the child who refuses to take part in the second rendition of “wind the bobbin up”, but finds the latest Justin Bieber song clearly more appropriate – well it just makes you feel normal!
Of course every parent is different and that’s a good thing. It helps us to grow and learn from each other. That’s the whole point, no matter how perfect we think we are, there is always something new to learn when it comes to children. Even if it’s how to keep your kids occupied for 5 minutes whilst you manage to put a load of washing in, or keeping in touch with other Mums to help you remember the school bake sale is on Monday!
Perception is what we make of it and is more about what we want to see rather than what the reality is. We sometimes as parents need to stop being so hard on ourselves and realise that we’re all in the same boat really and sometimes it’s ok to admit the truth!
Taken from the March issue of Geek Parenting, out now!