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Forty percent

Fat Mum Slim /

Recently we drove down the coast, 14 hours, to Sydney and then the South Coast. And if you seem to feel like I’ve dropped that sentence around a lot of late, it’s because I have. FOURTEEN HOURS is an epic drive, and we survived it. It’s kinda my biggest achievement EVER.

Now, I’m one for walks down memory lanes, so we went past our old place at Bondi for a little bit of meeemories. While doing so I quizzed Lacey, “Do you remember living here? Do you remember where you bedroom was? Do you remember all the things that happened here?”

Lacey was 4 when we left Bondi, so at the age where she can retain some memories. We did a lot of great things in that house. I spent much time on educational-type play, we laughed, we didn’t sleep {gah!}, we used to take her to the zoo A LOT, to the aquarium, we did so much stuff.

So her response kinda baffled me. “Oh yeah, I remember that we used to play movies. You’d set up a shop and sell me tickets and we’d watch movies together. And I remember that the man who owned the shop across the road gave me lots of lollies.”

Both these things happened and I love that she remembered those two things, but I wanted her to remember ALL THE GOOD THINGS WE DID. Like seriously, I invested some hardcore parenting time in that apartment.

I turned to Hubby and said, “Well, those parenting years were a waste of time.”

I was joking. They weren’t. But we could have saved some money and time and just played that movie game a lot more.

I would have been devastated had she only remembered the bad things that happened there, like the time Hubby went away to school for three months and I lost it. I was lame and felt like I couldn’t survive the solo parenting/work from home gig anymore. I went into my room, closed the door and cried while she sat on the other side of the door. Or the time I tried getting her to sleep with Tresillian on the phone, and she slept sitting up all night {worst thing I did}. She didn’t remember that stuff.

I met someone recently, and we were talking about parenting… and we both felt like we were both pretty average at it, most of the time. I do. I see people with their educational ways, and their A+ parenting style and I feel like a dud. Plus I’m not consistent with parenting, my eldest still sleeps with us, or me with her, and I sometimes lose my mind.

That person I met, she told me that we only have to be an awesome good parent 40% of the time. It made sense when she told me, but let me try and retell it here. Kids only remember 40%. So it’s not like you could be a completely horrible parent, and then turn it on for 40%, but if you’re stuffing up now and then… give yourself a break. Like my mum, I think she was/is the best mum ever, but surely she must have stuffed up at times. Surely. But I remember the good stuff; the way she loved us, the food she cooked, and how she gave me pretty awesome siblings to hang out with. I kinda remember that one time I got soap in my mouth, and when she’d sometimes get tired and sleep on the lounge in the middle of the day.

To be honest, I just want to let my kids be kids. I don’t want to fast-track them to something they’ll become later in life. I want them to play, and explore and figure life out at their own pace, with me by their side. And now I know I can laze around and be a mediocre parent 60% of the time, I might take advantage of it. {Note that I know where that 40/60 study came from, and no search brings it up}.

If you need me, I’ll be over here laying around doing nothing much at all, sixty-percent of the time anyway.

  • Marney

    I LOVE this! It’s so true and I know that so many of us feel a bit crap about our parenting a lot of the time…striving for 40% is so much more achievable!!!!

  • Just beautiful. You and this post. x

  • This is so true. What I remember most about my childhood was that mum played tennis and I thought it was a lot (like every day!) Mum tells me it wasn’t until I was about 3 that she started doing this with my Aunt (so my cousin was there) and she might have played twice a week but in my head it was every day and it was so much fun and mum lunched with the ladies all the time and it was always sunny! That is seriously what I thought motherhood was going to be a whole lot of tennis and lunching what a rude shock i was in for!!! Seriously woman when you are next driving to Nowra (even if it is from the airport!) you literally drive past my back fence if you come down bulli pass. Love this post gives me hope that my kids will only remember the good stuff!

  • Haha. So many memories.
    I really hope the Little Mister remembers the good stuff when he gets older. I think as parents we spend so much time terrified we’re fucking them up. It’s funny what our parents think we’ll remember and then we bring up some weird, obscure memory instead haha.

  • Barb N

    …. I absolutely LOVE this post Chantelle.
    It’s hard not to be hard on yourself……
    I went and apologised to my ( adult) kids about the things I felt I failed at as a parent and they didn’t know what I was talking about. … they only remembered fun things…
    Hugs… Barb xxx

  • Em at Kisses in Chaos

    Chantelle, I so totally hear you!! I feel like I’m screwing it up all the time! I just had a conversation with my husband on the weekend about exactly this issue! “What will our kids remember?!” I really hope it’s all the good stuff!!!

    • Maybe we just have to keep talking about the good things!

      • Em at Kisses in Chaos

        Totally!! I think it’s what keeps us going! ☺️❤️

  • I love this post and have tried to tell myself along the way that they won’t remember hardly anything, if only I knew what I know now after 3 kids then my oldest might not be such a worry wart!! x

  • I just hope they remember the RIGHT 40%. 🙂

  • So nice to read this kind of post that encourages parents in the job they do. Some days I think I’m doing pretty well with a great 40%.

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    I reckon mine remember some of the stuff ups, let’s hope all the hours making forts and play dough are enough to cover me x

  • I’ve been working with child mental health nurses since I had pnd and they say it’s actually only 30%. Sometimes I have days where I think we’re not doing enough educational play or I’m spending too much time doing things on the computer but I have to remind myself she probably won’t remember most of it anyway {especially since she’s only 2}. I think sometimes were way too hard on ourselves as parents.

@Fatmumslim