I didn't really. If I stopped parents in the street and presented them with "Great Job" medals they might think I was a bit weird. But then that got me thinking, we're always quick to judge other parents - why would we not praise them as well? If someone came up to me and told me I was doing a great job I would probably cry and hug them. Then it would be really weird.
I see other parents every day. On the school run, as I run errands, go to the shops, etc. Here are a few of them I have seen, you might be one of them. If you are, WELL DONE and GREAT JOB.
The Woman Potty Training The Toddler
She is walking through the town centre just after school drop-off time. She is pushing an empty buggy loaded with drinks, a coat, odd bits of sticky sweets, the usual. Nearby a young girl toddles along, lagging behind, her hair in braids. The mother turns back to her and shouts "COME ON!! YOU HAVE TO HURRY UP OR YOU'LL WEE YOURSELF!!"
Now she might have been mortified that she shouted that out. She might not. She might just be pig-sick of peeling off wet knickers and leggings off a crying toddler. Whatever the reason, I salute you Woman Potty Training the Toddler. You were doing your job as a parent, and doing it well. Potty training is a tough time.
Here, have a medal.
It's not always parents who need to be told they are doing a good job. Grandparents are equally important. There is a Nan I know who minds both her daughter's and her son's kids one day a week. There are three children, all a similar age, you know - the difficult age - around 4. I see her pushing one in a buggy, the other two running around her, demented. But she saves her son and daughter about £400 a month doing this just one day a week, and she loves it. She wears trainers for the school run and could probably run rings around me fitness-wise. The kids adore her too.
Well done that Nan. Have a medal.
The Dad on The Bus With The Kids
I don't know where the dad is going or what he is doing. But he has two quite unruly children. They are causing a bit of a scene. He has Haribo. Sometimes people's sanity can be saved by Haribo, especially on a crowded bus where they might fall over if they keep climbing on the seats to "ding the bell."
Well done that Dad.
Yesterday was my day with the kids. Alice shouted that Rosie had "done a poo in her nappy and it's fell out". I sighed. But this is my job on my day off, this is what happens. On closer inspection of the bathroom, there were two perfectly round poo drops on the floor. I put them in the toilet, and picked up the nappy, which was folded face down. As I lifted the nappy, five "malteasers" flew out of the nappy, narrowly avoiding my face, landing all around the room. Rosie just looked at me and said "Mummy you're gross."
Parenting is weird and wonderful at the same time.
We're all doing a great job. We chose to have kids - yes they are our responsibility and it is our job to raise them and even do the "gross" jobs. But sometimes it is hard, kids don't come with a manual and everything you thought you might do with your kids changes over time. They are little tiny individual people with their own quirks and you do question whether you are doing the right thing, constantly.
This morning I left for work. I was ten minutes late because all three of my girls wanted a kiss before I left. They each stumbled downstairs to kiss me, sleepy and smiley. Rosie then said "Mummy...I haven't got a cuddle." So then I cuddled each of them individually and left for work.
Maybe I'm not the best parent in the world. But I must be doing something right.
Maybe I get a medal too.