etc Columnist - Alexia Rowley
Alexia Rowley on how to cope with being appraised by a child.
As a fairly new recruit to motherhood I am used to being my own worst critic. To worrying about the choices I make or the methods I use.
I am getting used to feeling mother’s guilt on a regular basis and receiving well-meaning advice from others, which often compounds the feelings of getting it wrong. Judgement is something that I, like many parents, worry about.
However, I have entered a new phase. Whilst my confidence is growing and I am getting more into the swing of this parenting malarkey, I now seem to have a new critic.
And this one is a lot closer to home, in fact, she lives in my home. My very own three-year-old daughter has now started to critique or make new suggestions for me.
This week my husband and I had a well earnt night without the children. A catch up with some old friends.
My little ones stayed with their aunt. The next day I was telling my daughter not to do something and she said “why are you being unkind? Why do you have to say no to me? Why can’t you be like Aunty D and be kind to me”.
Whilst I was impressed with her ability to compare and question my parenting, I was also taken aback. Since when has my little girl questioned her ‘all knowing’ mother?
Luckily for me, she has continued to question my approach and has, helpfully, offered me lots more advice and tips. When my son is challenging, she tells me not to get cross because he doesn’t understand and suggests trying a snack or a sleep.
When I say, she has had enough chocolate, she says, “it’s ok I will brush my teeth, I can have some more”. When I tell, her she can’t do something, she tells me that I am not being fair or argues with me and lists reasons she should be able to do said thing. I know from experience (having been a child) that this is only going to get worse.
I laugh at the old me, worrying about what strangers might think, when I now must worry about what my own daughter thinks of my approach.
I have my very own little parenting expert in my home telling me how to improve. One who truly believes crisps and chocolate can count towards your five-a-day, and that there is no need to ever say No.
The thing about having a little parenting expert in your home is that she is also my number one fan.
She loves me unconditionally, even if I do get things wrong. At least now I don’t have to worry about my own parenting flaws, as she can do this for me!