There is many a parenting manual out there instructing us on the best way to raise our children. The manuals very often contradict each other and parenting gurus come and go, leaving your average parent feeling overwhelmed and confused. So you may not be impressed when I tell you that there is a new parenting guru in town. Did I mentioned that he is a cartoon character?
Our parenting guru in question is Flop, a character from Bing on the CBeebies channel. He is the small knitted creature shown in the above image (taken from the CBeebies Bing page) who is apparently Bing's parent or guardian and is an excellent example of parenting. I thought I was going potty when I found myself thinking this when watching the show a couple of months ago, but when reading a forum on something unrelated I found this to be the subject of a thread and it turns out that many others agree. Flop is a model parent. He approaches every toddler mishap calmly and seems to have the perfect answer to every parenting challenge.
My favourite example comes from an episode in which Bing is arguing with one of his friends and the toddler tempers are starting to get heated. Flop takes the two of them outside and asks them to choose a cloud. On choosing a cloud each he tells them to blow all of their anger into their cloud, so that it can float away. The two kids stand there blowing as hard as they can as if trying to blow out the world's biggest birthday candle. It isn't long before the two are laughing together again. I don't know if things like this would work in real life, but the show is full of these sorts of examples - ways to deal with the toddler years calmly and positively. But as much as I would like to, I don't think I much resemble my knitted parenting guru. I am more like another character that is a parenting favourite...
Yep, it's Nanny Plum, the cynical, sarcastic and often hilarious character from Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom (image taken from Nanny Plum's official Twitter account - I kid you not, check it out here). As much as I dream of being the ideal calm parent who has an answer to every situation, I find that I tend to channel the Nanny Plum cynicism, especially when I am trying to clean food off the walls. As much as I would love to channel Flop every minute of everyday, I have accepted that this is not realistic and have learned to embrace my inner Nanny Plum. Parenting seems to bring our lingering sarcasm and cynicism to the surface, especially as our children reach the toddler years (and realise that they don't necessarily have to stay obediently lying down as you change their poopey nappy.) It is a challenge at the best of times and it would be too much to expect ourselves to be on point in every situation. We just have to try and get over our guilt and look at the funny side. There is no such thing as the perfect parent and we might as well find chances to laugh at our flaws (I highly recommend the blog 'Hurrah For Gin' for a hilarious take on parenting).
If we can muster our inner Flop, then great! If we can handle every toddler meltdown positively then brilliant, but let's not expect this to happen all of the time. There are time's when we are going to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, and Nanny Plum will come to the surface with a sarcastic quip (on a good day. On a bad day it will be a full-on tongue lashing). And this is ok. It takes a village to raise a child and we don't have a village (more on this in a post later this week). We need to have eyes in the back of our heads and we don't have them, so let's not expect ourselves to be super mums! Instead, let's take a leaf from Flop's book and try and implement his examples when we can; when we can see through the toddler-induced brain fog. For all of the other occasions, when Nanny Plum comes to the surface, let's just accept her and try and see the funny side. And most importantly remember, no one is perfect!
Do you have a cartoon parenting idol? Let me know in the comments.