Too many chiefs.

When Immy and Maddy were toddlers and even when Lily was small, I was able to parent in the style that I wanted.

Sure, I worried about what my mother in law thought of me and I listened to all the advice from well meaning people and worried that I would in some way screw up my kids.

That’s normal, right?

I think I was able to parent the girls and later the boys in a fair way.

I taught them rules and morals and respect and right from wrong in a relaxed, gentle atmosphere and they were loved.

Very much.

When Ivy and Noah came into the world, I fully expected that I would do the same thing.

I didn’t bargain on being only one of many mothers for the twins.

Not only that but that I would be the shunted mother.

If I say “No” to something, it doesn’t mean No to Noah and Ivy.

It means go and ask Maddy or Immy or Lily or AJ until you get the required answer and no matter how often I remind the big kids that I am the mother and they need to honour my decision, I am over ridden. The consequence of this is that the little twins are becoming really…high maintenance, for want of a better expression.

The big kids are encouraging them to do and say cheeky, often rude things, for their own entertainment. When they fall about laughing at what Noah has said or something Ivy has been coached into doing, all I feel is dread.

I see that the influence of the big children is turning my small children into the kind of kids that I don’t enjoy.

I feel sad that I am being thwarted by my own kids.

I have repeatedly asked them (especially AJ) not to teach Noah and Ivy terrible things.

This morning, while Noah was on the toilet and I was brushing ivy’s teeth, AJ taught Noah that it was funny to spit on his own shorts.

Not cool.

Noah has become very aggressive of late, because his cousin rough houses with him to the point of hurting him.

As I am typing this, Lily and Maddy are bickering over some plastic kitchen pieces and Ivy is screeching at the top of her lungs. Noah is bellowing about “never ever ever doing that again” and AJ is laughing his fool head off at the scene.

Do I feel helpless?


How can I be a good parent when I have so many other (less experienced) people weighing in?

It is most definitely a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

I hate being authoritative but I know I am going to have to pull in the reigns.

Otherwise I think I am looking down the barrel of bratdom and that, on top of everything else that is going on, just seems exhausting.