I have a confession – and it’s one I’m not proud of. My name is Cherry and I am a control freak mum! Before Little Miss and Little Sir made our family complete, I had daydreams about what life would be like. I’d be in the kitchen, making lots of yummy but healthy treats with Little Miss and her friends while the boys ran and played in the garden making mud pies and memories. Then they’d run in happily chasing each other, gulping down squash before running back out to climb trees. We’d get together every meal time to talk about our daily adventures and they’d go to bed tuckered out from all the excitement, while I sat on the sofa and smiled to myself.
So………….what on earth was I thinking? It turns out that although I love to cook, I really don’t like to cook with the kids. The mess they create makes my stomach churn and I spend the whole time saying ‘Don’t do that..’ or ‘Do it this way’. Mud pies?? Why did I ever think that would be a fun activity? Mud, clothes, mess, washing kids and clothes – what a complete stress. Kids running in and out of the house?? Grass and stones all over the floor, shoes thrown haphazardly across the floor. Hell!
It turns out that I like very controlled play. I’m OK with outdoor play and free play but I almost can’t resist telling the kids that they need to be careful, or need to try and do something a different way. Sitting with them to do playdoh is a nightmare. The desire to stop them mixing colours together, or sticking it to everything in sight is nearly overwhelming. Eating meals at the table is just another control freak moment. The kids aren’t holding their cutlery properly, or they are eating too fast or too slow or in the wrong order (I know!!!).
So this is my summer project – to let the kids be free from my control (well a bit more free!). I’m trying really hard to let them control their play times, to let them make decisions and follow them through to the natural conclusions. I’ve stopped critiquing meal times and am trying hard to focus on only a few teaching areas (eating with our mouths closed is a big one for us at the moment). And I think I’m doing OK. I’ve managed a week and I think the kids are enjoying their summer holidays more. I’ve started saying ‘That’s OK’ rather than ‘No’ when there is no good reason to say no. I have to be honest – I’m finding it hard, but when I see the look of joy on their faces when they climb to the top of a climbing frame that I would normally have stopped them going up, or I see the excitement when they are investigating floating boats outside and getting covered in water, I know I’m doing the right thing!
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