"I have a bunch of guy friends who I grew up with and they’re still my closest mates. But as much as I love them, they’re also a bunch of assholes.
Here’s why. Whenever we hang out, my toddler is always along. So they like to chirp and joke: 'Goeie kind, slegte Ma' (good child, bad mom) when she does something funny or seeks attention.
In a sense, they’re probably right, if society deems them right.
I’m 36 years old, I drive cars for a living and I have a two-year-old daughter. I like to say she’s 2.6 years going on 23.
You see, most child advisors and other moms will judge me because I don’t really have a proper routine with my toddler.
She doesn’t eat her dinner at 5pm, or have a bath at 6pm. There’s no story time at 7pm so that she can be asleep by 7.30pm.
Truth is, I don’t live a fairy tale life. But, I do have a pretty cool job which means often I have to travel and leave my little family on their own. We also live about 60km from work which means my husband and I have to be up before the birds awake to catch a train and trek to work, even if we drive in.
And since we live in a country where MetroRail has not improved its infrastructure in decades, my husband only gets home at 8pm, if we're lucky. That means our routine or 'evening schedule' revolves around that.
We have late suppers, and my daughter who gets a bowl of cereal as a meal, or two slices of peanut butter bread, or a scrambled egg – or whatever the heck she will eat at that time, will usually want her own plate of food after 8pm too when we're sitting down for dinner.
I don’t put her in the bath every night, but I do wash her with water in a basin when we don't win at that. And get this… she doesn’t wear pajamas. In fact, most times she insists on keeping on the very clothes she wore all day even after a bath. That includes her boots she has to sleep in. Don’t worry, I take them off when she’s fast asleep. That’s also the time I can administer some nose drops or nasal spray, if need be.
You’re probably thinking I have no control over my child. I do, I just refuse to fight with a developing little being who is discovering that she is her own person.
And depending on what time we finish our chores – if her dad and I have the energy to do so, she’ll always choose a book or three to read at bedtime. We’ll read and once she’s done, she’ll ask me to put it away while I turn out the lights.
She’s a feisty little girl. Stubborn as heck – so am I, and her dad. She’s assertive in her ways, and I thought she was a tad too aggressive for a little girl. Turns out, according to all the parenting tips and articles which I don’t follow anyway – that’s pretty normal too.
She has a great daymother, who lets her play outside and helps her garden. She also has a best friend who she has picnics and pretend tea parties with.
She LOVES to write and draw, she’s a hoarder of note, and man, does she love to sing and dance. She loves cars as much as her petrolhead parents and watching Blaze and the Monster Machines or Nella, the Princess Knight.
But best of all, she always says please and thank you, even in her sleep when she’s asking for some milk. (Another shock horror! Yes, my little girl still has some milk during the night!)
My point is, I might not follow the books, I might not do what is expected to do what is right. When you’re a mom and dad, you really parent on a whim – with a lot of faith and prayer. There is no right or wrong when it comes to loving and raising your children to their best of your abilities.
Am I bad mom? No I am not, because to that little girl, I’m the best mother I can possibly be and she loves me just as I am."
Do you follow a routine with your toddler? Are you a firm believer in strict routine or do you go with the flow? Do you think it also depends on the child? Do you think you're a bad parent because you do things a bit differently to what you think society expects Please do share your stories and comments to email@example.com and we may publish them.