I once had a very interesting conversation with another parent who I see very rarely at school. She is one of those parents who gets involved with everything, and who is a lovely person, through and through. She is also very honest, and never thinks badly of anyone. I always think of her as Mrs Nice.
She once made me smile very much, and seeing her today reminded me of that day a couple of years ago when we had a conversation that rocked what I thought of as a good or bad parent. It also made me feel as if my attempts in raising my children were very normal. I will always be grateful for that, however I have never told her how much it helped me day to day.
I was in a particularly down mood that day, and my special needs boy had been struggling badly. He had kicked out at people in nursery, and the parents were looking down their noses at him and tutting loudly. One parent, even grabbed his hand and told him loudly not to point at her son, and I couldn’t blame her, as my son had been nipping hers through his jumper. Her sons reaction was just to sigh and smile at my son. He was very patient and understanding.
Moving away from that, onto picking up my older children, Mrs Nice seems to also have been having a bad day, and mentions how she had always though she was a great parent, a natural. She went on to say how she had no qualms having child number 2, as her first child was so nice, and quiet. She aimed to please, and was popular and well liked by all those around her. Mrs Nice had taken that to mean, that unlike some of the other parents and children that she saw around the village, she was a good mother. She had to be, didn’t she. Look how well her daughter had turned out.
Mrs Nice said she had convinced herself that she was so good at this parenting lark, that she was going to have some more children, as how could anything go wrong when she was such a natural as a parent. She had made a great job of being a mum in comparison to the children she saw at school and out playing.
The next few sentences made me smile. She went on to say that having child number 2 was instantly different. He cried all the time, he was demanding, irritable, didn’t want to do what he was told, and caused mayhem in the house.
It was then, she had realised that how nice and good her daughter had turned out, had little to do with her parenting skills. She had learned it was to do with her daughters nature, and part of who she was. She hadn’t parented her son any differently, but suddenly she was one of those mums with what is seen as a “problem child” – and dreaded parents night.
My children are high needs, and I had spent a lot of time before that thinking about what I was doing wrong as a parent. Not understanding why Gina Ford methods didn’t work with my children but worked with others. Then I gave up trying those things, and muddled through to find my own way of living with my children, and outside the “rules”, that people think we should all live by.
I will be forever in her debt.