We give ourselves a hard time don’t we? Not just mothers, not just women; us humans.
We apologise (read more here), we specialise in deferential praise, we compare ourselves to others and slot ourselves into cement pigeon holes.
When out on the circuit (NCT/school playdates) I admire and admonish in equal measures. I measure my parental success out in spoonfuls of home-made bolognaise, bricks of lego fire engines built, tidiness of home, number of cakes made and pictures of Queen Elsa drawn and always come up short.
Here are what I have decided are my parental failings (the list could grow at any moment)
- I don’t like loud noise
- I can’t live with or in mess
- I don’t delight in cooking healthy nutritious meals (it involves forethought, mess, time and dallies with possible rejection)
- I don’t revel in craft – can’t hack the sticky glue and glitter combo
- I’m not good at boisterous “rough play” (I see red when I’m elbowed in the eye socket, or my teeth are head butted)
On a long car journey going over my faults (as I do), I realised I spend too bloody long on my punishing mental check-list of failures. Although I’m lacking in many of the traditionally wholesome arts of parenting, I have happy, questioning and down-right hilarious kids. I can’t have screwed this up too badly then?
So, I forced myself to stop being so British for a moment and think about when I feel like I’m going to break in half smiling.
- Dancing round the kitchen like I’m at a rock concert with my family
- Cuddling and whispering “I love you” until I almost turn cannibal and eat their pudgy cheeks and pointy ears
- Playing the worst ever game of eye-spy in the car (“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with bird”, “bird?”, “yes! How did you know Mummy?”)
- Moon, star, tree, bird and woodlice gazing with my wide-eyed wonderers
- Watching my children play and move around in their own quiet magical worlds
- Reading in 4 different ‘voices’ with my babies squirming on my lap
- Singing with and for by beauties and taking bedtime requests
- Having a cheeky hot choc in a café with my two small best friends (and letting them ‘pay’)
- Visiting castles and touching the swords (oi oi), visiting National Trust properties and rolling down hills (as I describe here), visiting palaces and sitting in the thrones to the sheer delight of my kids
- Watching their joy at conquering new skills – fastest scooter in the West, top ‘spin around-er’, quickest Wally spotter, best ‘clip-clop’ shoes wearer.
I want to dance with my children, sing with my children, nuzzle my children and then stand back and watch them set the world alight.
I don’t want to let Mr Maker loose in my scandi-chic dining room, then host Wrestle-mania in the discarded glitter after a healthy quinoa and alfafa salad.
And … that’s ok.