Look at Moi – I’m Parenting

There’s a new family at our school. They’re Australian and they have 5 children. When I told my husband about them, he feigned devastation. “You know what that means. We’re no longer the Australians with the 4 kids, we’ve just become the Australians with the 4 kids who didn’t try hard enough”.

I have often joked that 4 children in 6 years was an exercise in extreme parenting. It was also an exercise I wore with an indulgent and oversized badge of honor. If there were awards for getting knocked up, I was lining up in the front row for mine.

Perhaps it was the reaction of those around us. Their excitement and even their horror seemed to spur me on. I once walked through an airport in Melbourne with a baby strapped to my front and another in a carrier on my back. Adding to the degree of difficulty, for a score of 9.9, I was also pushing a child in a stroller with one hand and dragging a suitcase with another. I had something else, a slightly freaked out yet smug look on my face. “Look at moi, Look at moi” my euphoric face said, I can do anything, I’ve just flown with 3 kids under 4 – on my own!

I know I’m not the only one. I’ve heard others giving themselves a pat on the back, casually sneaking the odd detail in when they think they’ve got it right. Maybe, it’s their child’s organic vegetable intake or the fact that they’ve managed to make the tennis schedule fit in with the soccer training and ballet class. Perhaps someone’s child is finally dressing themselves. Someone started a business from home while breastfeeding twins, someone else gained a degree while weaning a baby and caring for a toddler. We’re not waiting for the validation – we’ve already self validated. Your welcome.

Why? I’m guessing it’s because we’ve learnt that no one else is going to do it. Sure, your partner might tell you you’re doing a great job and maybe even your family. But is it as rewarding as unbiased feedback?

When my youngest child was 5 months old, I returned to the corporate world and two shocking, yet amazing things happened:

Number 1 – we were allowed to leave the office and get a coffee, all by ourselves! No one sat on my lap and not one of my colleagues pulled apart a blueberry muffin and squished it in to my pants.

Number 2 – I had fixed targets, set goals and people told me when I was doing a good job. I had performance reviews where we discussed me, me and me and the self development of me and how I felt about me and the role I was in.

There were no blurred lines. The goals were on paper, expectations were explained, performance management plans were put in place.

It was the complete opposite of parenting.

There is no CEO of parenting. No one to report to. Sure, there’s plenty of books, thousands of “experts” and opinions – but no opportunity for a “parent of the month” award. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a round of applause from an independent resource? An award, perhaps for the way you handled the dispute over whose turn it was on the computer while wrangling the 5 year old out of the bath and practicing for the French conversation test tomorrow.

I’m still waiting for my key performance indicators, parent strategy map and end of year bonus. But, in the meantime I’ll just continue on with my regular today-I-have-no-idea-tomorrow-I-might-rock-at-this roller coaster ride that is parenting. And if you’re doing well today, if you’ve had a win, give yourself a pat on the back.

Any ideas on what some of the key performance indicators for parenting should be? How about:

Did everyone under the age of 12 leave the house with clean underwear this morning?
Was everyone under the age of 12 wearing underwear this morning?
Did you manage to get out of the house this morning without shouting “I’m going to count to 3”

Feel free to add some of your own..

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  • http://myjourney20-me.blogspot.com/ Linda (Me)

    Has everyone cleaned their teeth ?
    Has everyone got their school bags / sports bags / homework / lunch / library books – EVERYTHING THEY NEED ?
    Come on, WE NEED TO LEAVE NOW !!!!

    HAve a great day !

  • http://bigwordsblog.blogspot.com/ bigwords

    At the moment, I am just trying to get through the day with everyone fed and out of their pjs. I like to set my goals low as I know there’s no way I could achieve any more advanced tasks at this stage.

  • http://asiavufullcircle.blogspot.com/ MsCaroline

    Just like with professional jobs, there should probably be different indicators depending on the job you’re doing.  For example, when I had infants, I considered myself an enormous success if I didn’t have spit-up anywhere on my clothes.  Obviously, you can’t get nearly as many points for that with teenagers.  On the other hand, if you engage your teenager in a 30-minute conversation that doesn’t end in a hostile exchange, you should get huge bonus points, which really wouldn’t be fair to award to parents of a six-year old (well, my six year olds never stopped talking.  Maybe it should be dependent on each kid.)   

    My fourteen-year old left for school this morning with a smile and a wave, and I never said a thing about how ludicrous his hair looked (on purpose, mind you.)  Surely that’s worth something?

  • rebekah dickinson

    Have you seen The mum song video? Its so true…   So funny.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYukEAmoMCQA personal key performance for me would be, If for just one day I was able to have them were matching socks, then I might be up for some kinda parent award….

  • Photographer Mum

    I’m just happy if everyone can put their shoes on without me asking 5 times in the space of 10 mins

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    Oh yes!! It’s that last thing before making it out of the house. Every. day!

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    Thank you! Had completely forgotten about that song. I think award should be socks on feet – if they were matching that would have to mean a hefty bonus surely?

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    Yes. Yes. Yes! 

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    With 3 under 5 both of these events are worthy of promotion and a hefty pay rise. 

  • http://twitter.com/mamabook Michelle

    Ok, you beat me to it… was about to add in “Is everybody wearing underwear this morning?” “Did anybody make it school on time this morning?” …. I just had my 1st parenting moment of success for the day at 9:30pm. All 3 siblings happily agreed to donate extra candy to oldest sibling who had his stolen by the dog. It was one of those remarkable moments that proves I am indeed an extraordinary parent, occasionally. 

  • http://twitter.com/mamabook Michelle

    Matching socks. Never!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08108690020832180204 kiwicrooks

    Hi Kirsty. I have one KPI only….to do a better job than my own mother. Simple. A little sad. Keeps me on track. I too have a great airport and three kids event. Never forget it.

  • http://www.smaggle.com/ Smaggle

    I used to teach special needs kids and my markers of a succesful day were – 

    * Every child went home wearing the clothing that they arrived in. 

    * I went home wearing the clothing I arrived in

    * I said ‘sit down’ less than 100 times

  • Virginia

    Did any of you try the “if you’re not in the car in 10 seconds, I’m leaving without you!”… when you were on the school run!  A fairly pointless exercise.  My baby starts his final Y12 exams tomorrow..so it’s all about healthy snacks, not asking too many questions about how the study is going and holding my breath for the next two weeks.  And he’s going for his driver’s license in the middle of the exam period.   My markers are all about  keeping the stress levels for all of us down as low as is feasible. No easy task!  Roll on Christmas … oh no… that means Christmas shopping and more stress!

  • Valentinavaselli

    I had something else, a slightly freaked out yet smug look on my face.
    “Look at moi, Look at moi” my euphoric face said, I can do anything”  LOL but so  true, whenever I get on and off trains back to Italy with my baby, the stroller, the trolley and the travelcot all holding on  my 166 cm x 54 kg figure I do feel like WELL, NONE OF U IS HELPING ME YOU B******* BUT I MAKE IT ANYWAY BECAUSE I AM WONDERWOMOM :-D, and then, sweated and smelly like a donkey, I arrive home to my mom, she  asks how it was the my journey and I smile a “Very good”

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    Awwww – Good Luck!  I have just entered the world of detailed bibliographies attached to hefty assignments (and that’s only 1 child in grade 6). I’m going to need extra vodka when the other 3 hit middle school. Seriously though, I hope the exams all run smoothly and its a distant memory by Xmas (which it won’t be because you’ll be waiting for results).

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    A baby, a stroller, a trolley and a travel cot?! OMG. I bow to down to you. Kxx

  • http://www.diminishinglucy.com/ Diminishing Lucy

    I bloody love you. Same same same same.

    I once flew Darwin to Adelaide with Liv (2.5), Charlie (14 months)  and Lexie – (newborn) – solo parenting at its best. I wanted my performance review RIGHT THERE at the airport!

  • Awelshgirl

    My current performance indicators are if I can say “watch your attitude” under 5 times a day… Followed by if I get a meaningful “love you mum”at lights out time.
    Actually, just make that the hearing ” love you mum” at the end of a day – then it’s been worth it.

  • vicky

    Now you see – if there were key performance indicators, performance reviews and bonus payments that would mean there was someone to hand your resignation into, or annual leave application…. because there have been days when one or the other has crossed my mind, and I haven’t been able to find any bugger to take either!!

    Great post Kirsty.

    For what its worth I think your a bloody legend! 🙂

  • http://shamozal.blogspot.com/ Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    Giggling. Rule 2 has worked for me in all stages of life – particularly my 20’s. Kxx

  • http://twitter.com/swaussie simon & anna

    Always blog posts with depth and always entertaining.

    I’m a faithful reader of your lovely blog (even though I don’t leave so many comments) and I want to give it some extra attention. I’ve therefore given you a Versatile Blogger Award that can be collected in our blog.


  • http://www.adventuresinexpatland.com/ Linda

    Yes. Yes. Yes. To everything you said, about everything, always. Yes!

  • Nikki

    How about making it thru breakfast without a tantrum!! I have a 2 yr old.

  • Khadijateri

    You are not in competition with the woman who has five kids… believe me 4 are plenty…. you are doing a marvelous job… lolol … there’s an american woman here that has ten kids… I am not even  thinking about competing. . . we now just add pets.. lots  and lots of pets!

  • http://www.sandramcd.blogspot.com/ Sandra

    Hello, just found you and this post made me laugh!  
    I remember taking 3 under 4’s to a show for kids as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.  The youngest was 2 months old and I don’t know what I was thinking!   A few years, and 2 more kids later we emigrated to NSW, the youngest then 8 months old.  4 planes in 24 hours,  2 days before Christmas  and again, no idea what we were thinking!!As far as I’m concerned so long as they all leave to go to school/preschool and I don’t get a phone call during the day, we’ve done ok.  Hallelujah for G&T!Nice to ‘meet you’!Sandra x