*sobs* Weepy Mother: “I’m just so tired”
Grandma: “Well let me sleep with her tonight..”
Weepy Mother: “NO!! Because then YOUR sleep will be interrupted and you’ll have to wake me to feed her anyway!.. Then we’ll BOTH be zombies!!…”
Weepy Mother: “I’m trying so hard..”
Grandma: “I know darling..”
Last week was..challenging. There are moments as a mother, when I feel at my best, when I feel I’m exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I’m “supposed” to be doing. It’s magical, empowering, fulfilling, and I know I’m raising a healthy, happy wonderful little girl. All rainbows and butterflies.
Then there are other moments, when I feel S***. -I sometimes find myself mentally noting all the things I’ve done wrong on any given day and internally labelling myself The World’s Worst Mother. (I know, ever so counter-productive and self indulgent, but I’m always quick to swing it back to the positive “You’re not the worst; for every bite of a digestive biscuit you give Maia; there’s another woman somewhere in the world watching her children guzzle down FIZZY DRINKS..”). Not that I’m comparing, we mothers never compare with one another; how juvenile and unnecessary. “Emily’s not allowed to watch TV you say?..And she speaks two languages? And sleeps through the night?…Gosh, well…WELL DONE YOU…Now stop being so smug and write down how you managed that, then perhaps move in with me and show me how it’s done. Super Nanny Style…” . (Maia doesn’t yet sleep through the night and we’re working on her picking up my mother’s native Visayan tongue.)
I do occasionally imagine myself in a court of Law, with a judge reading out my convictions:
Crimes of Parenting include: Giving child a bite of mother’s biscuit, some afternoons AN ENTIRE BISCUIT, (potentially increasing child’s risk of developing diabetes and or obesity in future), raising voice at child,(potentially frightening child and increasing risk of developing anxiety and or pure HATRED for mother), swearing in presence of child (but not AT child, just in frustration at other things, *washing machine not working* “OH FFS”. ) , failing to brush uncooperative child’s back teeth… – Defendant is found GUILTY for numerous counts of BELOW-PAR PARENTING. (But mainly for over use of both EVIL brainwashing TV and the word “FUCK”).
These lists run through my mind and I think “AM I REALLY SHIT?”.
Then I think, yes I’m a bit crap, and I Feel like a dick when I lose my temper. But I am getting some things right. (Not that this should be a surprise, being a mother means being a responsible parent, a role model, doing your best and more to raise happy, healthy children.. and a bunch of other things ).But just to make myself not feel like The Worlds Worst Mother for the moments when I am below par, I made a little mental list of some of the stuff that I do get right:
Aside from the occasional biscuit, she eats WELL. No processed crap, no freezer food, no crisps or anything high in salt, no soft drinks, hot chocolates or even juice, she’s amazing with fruit and veg. Tick tick tick. Once asleep, she wakes two or three times but easily goes back to sleep thanks to the power of the boob. (I’m immensely proud of myself for breastfeeding, I could brag about it all day long, I might actually throw myself a little FAREWELL breastfeeding party when I stop, to celebrate the end of one special Journey that I feel like even my friends have been part of, and that when they come over, they no longer have to witness the uncensored Topless Angie Show.)
We go to toddler classes and play dates often, she loves playing with others and meeting different children, she’s not exactly shy, very much the opposite. Social skills: tick. We’re pretty satisfied with her ability to communicate…language: Tick. Regular bowel movements TICK. Love of dancing and singing TICK. General feeling that I’m doing okay as a parent: tick.
Well I suppose a bit of TV just whilst I’m cooking won’t scar her for life. ( I don’t want her in the kitchen when I’m using THE BIG KNIFE, the big scary movie type one that even I don’t like holding..- Okay I know this one’s irrational but I don’t trust myself not to drop it..). And other parents have said they too give their kids biscuits occasionally and/or struggle to brush their child’s teeth.
Maia is adventurous, highly amusing and the most joyful little girl. (Well most of the time). I couldn’t be more in love with her personality. So clearly something is going well. No mother is perfect. (Only on Instagram are they perfect). We’re all just doing our best and trying not to swear. (I’m sorry but “oh fudge” just doesn’t cut it like good old F***.) I know this week will be just as challenging as last, only this week I’m making a concerted effort to be a little kinder to myself, self-talk wise. Less labelling, more acceptance. I’ll also be counting down from ten every time I feel the need to raise my voice. – Woah now, things are about to get…CALMER.