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I thought I was a good parent!!!!! Until!!!

  Image: Louisa Stokes /

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.


13 thoughts on “I thought I was a good parent!!!!! Until!!!

  1. Great piece!

    I was lucky enough to have a friend who had twins (not identical) almost at the same time as I had my little one. Therefore, I could early on see how totally different the little boy was compared to the little girl although they were/are brought up in the same way. She slept through almost from day one, he didn’t. She loves/d being on her own and watch what is/was going, he hates/d being on his own and wants/ed to be carried around, and the list goes on.

    Was a quick way to learn that the same parenting technique can “produce” different children. We often tend to forget that humans are individuals (albeit very tiny to start with!) from day one and as such different.

    1. It’s so true though, how different all children are. Yet, how lots of parenting techniques are to treat them all the same. I do struggle with that, so muddling through is my favourite option. Less stressful.

  2. Your doing a great job and I’m pleased that you got to chat to Mrs Nice and the conversation had such a massive impact on you and allowed you to see things as they really were

    1. I am sure I would have struggled a lot longer if it hadn’t been for that short conversation. It was fab..

  3. Very wise advice indeed. Until we have walked in another mother’s shoes and live her life we should cease judgement.
    The world would be a nicer place if we all supported each other more and we wouldn’t feel so stressed about our failures to be a “good” parent.

    1. It would be great, wouldn’t it!!! We all worry so much, and sometimes over things that we shouldn’t..

  4. What a lovely story. It’s so easy to think of yourself as a poor parent, especially when your kid doesn’t do what everyone else’s does.
    In a funny way though, I’ve come to realising that just caring about what kind of a parent you are seems to automatically qualify you as a good enough one.

  5. Very valuable point and I have realised it myself (though it doesn’t stop me worrying sometimes), but oh I know so many people who would benefit from knowing this, for their own good so they wouldn’t get so stressed. Jen

    1. I often wish I could tell some of the struggling parents of ASN children not to sweat the small stuff (which for us can be pretty big stuff lol). Mostly, we are all far too hard on ourselves. And we fret about what schools say too much as well (apart from the good teachers and schools out there). xx

  6. It’s funny how something as simple as a conversation in passing can make such an impact isn’t it? I reckon you’re doing a brilliant job! x

    1. It does, doesn’t it. I will always remember her. If she ever reads my blog, she’s know instantly who has written it tho lol. It was a short 5 minutes that changed how I parented in an instant. Amazing. Thank you. x

  7. I think I will always assume I am a bad mum. I have very high standards for myself (funnily enough not for others!) that I am unlikely to be able to live up to.
    However, I don’t actually think there is such a thing as a good or a bad parent (taking out deliberately abusive parents) because all of us just do our best for our kids. It’s not a science. There are no guaranteed results.
    I think the key is to not stand in judgement of other people’s parenting based on what you see. You can never know. Let’s all concentrate on our own stuff and when we interact with others be the Mr or Mrs Nice characters!
    Do I live in a naive bubble? I think so!

    1. I think we all have our own struggles, and it was good for me to hear someone else’s at that point in time, as I was feeling like a failure. School were also pointing the finger for how one son didn’t fit into the “mould”, so it’s easy to feel responsible for everything when some of it has nothing to do with you, and is just their nature. I’m older and wiser now. Hopefully this helps even one more struggling mum somewhere who is also struggling. I think you are very sensible, not niave. Thank you. x

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