Tuesday, 17 February 2009

There ought to be a manual here somewhere....

I wonder how you can tell if you're a good parent. I suppose if your kids are basically nice people that's a pretty good indication. People are always complimenting me on how well-behaved my children are, they play nicely with others, they don't have (too many) tantrums and we can take them out and be confident they will do the right thing. That doesn't seem quite enough though. Perhaps confident, carefree children is a sign of a good parent. If that's the measure, I'm not so sure I make the grade.

Catherine is so much like I think I was when I was her age. Actually, I think I was even more stressed than she is, which makes me think I must have been a bit of a worry for my mum! I remember not wanting to go to school aged 10, because I was picked on all the time, by one or two girls in particular (who shall remain nameless, because would you believe Facebook has brought us in touch again). Catherine, I think, mostly likes school, although she is so self-conscious to the point of fearing swimming lessons because she's worried she'll be teased. On the whole, Catherine seems quite worried about almost everything, at least it seems that way to me. She often assumes the worst about a given situation, which drives me totally mad because I try to see the best in things. Consequently I'm not as sympathetic to her as I should be.

I also worry I'm failing to show her that she is loved and loveable for the wonderful person she is. This is a big thing, and I wish I could do it better. I tell her every day, more than once, how much I love her and how proud of her I am. I give her lots of hugs and kisses, maybe not enough. Maybe it's not those things that matter, it's the stuff I do or don't do inbetween. I want her to take pride in her appearance, to care about how she looks, but at the same time I don't want her to obsess and worry. She already worries, who am I kidding... I try to compliment her whenever I feel she has dressed well or done something clever with her hair, but she hates clothes shopping because she doesn't like having to take her clothes off. I know just how she feels...

I don't know what the answer is. I know I was a pretty insecure person growing up, in fact it wasn't until quite recently (well, let's say the last 6 or 7 years or so) that I've become more self-confident and pretty much happy with the person I am. I hope Catherine will survive her mother and grow up to become a confident young woman a lot sooner than I did.


  1. I think you have to be careful not to measure your "success" as a parent by the way your children turn out.

    There are so many influences, and yours are only part of it. Friends, schools, media, the millions of experiences we all face... you only help them find their feet in the world but the path they walk on is their own.

    If you love, allow them to grow, support them and let them know they are unconditionally loved, then you are a good parent in my book. we all make mistakes, but it's how we deal with our mistakes that says more I think.

    God bless you and your role as a mother, a wife and a friend <><