I have been sucked in by mother guilt for the final time!
OK, no I haven’t. We all know that tomorrow morning when I get asked to take them to Flip Out (Don’t even ask…..some sort of trampoline amusement park?) because they are the ONLY children at their school who haven’t been, or I tell them that we have to go into Mummy’s work for an hour or two, the guilt will be back. Glaring me in the face, making me feel like I’m not the perfect mother.
And you know what…..I’m beginning to feel ok about that!
I have had to come to many realisations over the last 11 years to avoid throwing myself off a bridge because of that incessant nagging mother guilt that plagues us all.
1. I like my job and I’m allowed to work. My kids have actually always been fine about this. It has never occurred to them that their mum could choose to work or not work. They know I love my job, they know that I’m good at it and Miss 11 also knows that it means that she can do the countless hours of ballet that she does! And you know what, no one has ever directly made me feel like being a working mum is a bad thing. I got a few comments when I went back to work when Mr 5 was four months (it was only one day and my mum looked after him…….see I even feel I need to justify it to you and I don’t even know you!), but they were never judgmental or condemning. If anything, they were more concerned about me. Truth was I needed to work. I’ve mentioned before that the powers above did not make me to be a stay at home mum and after four months, I was going mad! So I can’t even tell you what it was…..just this underlying sense of mother guilt over the fact that, somehow, holding onto that little bit of me and doing what I needed to keep me sane, was selfish. Looking back now, I’m fine with it. I’m a big believer, when it comes to mothering, that mums should do whatever they need to to look after themselves, in order to look after their kids. In my case, that was go back to work, even just for that day. It kept me sane, made for a much happier mummy on my days at home and wouldn’t you know it, my kids didn’t turn out to be emotionally scarred! In fact they treasure the memories of their Nanny days and have a fantastic, loving relationship with her (who I personally think struggles now they are both at school. ;)
2. When my children tell me that they are the ONLY children on the earth that don’t have Instagram, haven’t seen How to Train Your Dragon 2, or have to go to bed by 8pm…..THEY ARE LYING!
I still have to remind myself of this one sometimes. Just because one girl in your grade sends you an imessage telling you to join Instagram, does not mean that EVERY other girl in Year 5 has it! I am not the meanest mother in the world because you haven’t seen every movie that gets mentioned during Show and Tell. And I am not the, and I quote “most infuriating mother on Earth,” because I take your ipod off you at bedtime. If I hadn’t caught you watching old episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (Harmless, I know...but it’s the principle!) under your doona at 10pm on numerous occasions, I wouldn’t have to!
3. I don’t know what I am doing! Seriously kiddies, I am making this up as I go along. There is no manual to tell you what to do when your 11 year old is being a madam, or when your 5 year old thinks he is Harry Potter and won’t leave the house unless you first find Lord Voldemort and destroy all 7 horcruxes (Thank you, J.K. Rowling)...even when you were late for work ten minutes ago. No one tells you what to do when your kid is three and still scared to do a poo on the loo! There is no special How to book that tells you what to say when there are mean kids at school, or when they come last in every running race at the athletics carnival or they are sad because their best friend won’t talk to them and they don’t know why. I’m making it up as I go along. And you know what, I’m doing an ok job.
I don’t know why it is that we, as mothers have this constant niggling that maybe we aren’t doing it well enough. It’s like my favourite quote says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlights reel.”
So Mother Guilt…...Tonight, after a shocker of a day that was complete and utter shit, but I did my best….it is you that can go and jump off a bridge!