The other week after one of 'those' mornings where everything seems to take twice as long, and you find yourself repeating yourself twenty times, you feel like you're failing at work, at being a Mum and even failing at hair (I apparently make my daughter feel like she's being tortured when I brush it) I had a little bit of a wobble, I was OK until we got to school but she didn't want to go in, she just clung to me asking for "One last hug and kiss" I didn't want to let her go, all I wanted to do was bring her home with me and wrap her in my arms but we both knew I couldn't.
So instead we pulled up our big girl pants and off she went, I have no doubt her big girl pants lasted far longer than mine, because mine fell down as soon as I got a respectable distance from the school, and then? Well then I allowed myself to have a little cry.
During my walk/pity party a lovely lady stopped and asked me where my usual smile was, I was about to just brush her off and change the conversation but instead I found myself being honest, and telling her I was having a "crap Mum day" I waited for her to back off at speed (as I was pretty sure she was simply being polite) Instead she gave me a kind smile and said "My Dear we ALL have those days, some of us hide it better than others" and patted me on the arm. It made me feel a little bit better, because even if it wasn't altogether true and not everybody has days like these, it made me feel less alone. In a world where perfect parenting and perfect lives are all over social media at the click of button it's easy to compare yourself and sometimes feel like you're getting it wrong.
That morning as I was torturing, sorry I mean brushing my daughters hair I thought about all the things I'm pretty rubbish at as a parent, those areas where I feel I fall pretty short (like I said I was having a bit of a pity party) such as the following;
I'm rubbish at hair -It's true, I can just about manage a ponytail and perhaps a basic plait but other than that I'm crap, I even struggle brushing a parting in a straight line, I look at other children with their hair in intricate plaits and braids that wouldn't look out of place in a music video, and feel a bit of a let down on the hair front. Sorry doodles.
I can't drive - I've never been able to pass my test, there is a hedge at the bottom of the Village that has never grown back the same after I drove through it on a driving lesson. Not being able to drive never mattered in the early years, we'd walk everywhere or we would get the bus and train it would always add to the fun. However as my daughter has got older and there are clubs and parties and meet ups in places I can't get to I feel pretty cross with myself, I feel like I've let her down a bit. It's awkward always asking for favours as I don't want her nor I, to feel like a burden (even though people are generally lovely about it)
When my daughter reaches 17 I am insisting she has driving lessons and not quit! No matter how many hedges she drives through.
I really don't like soft play - I feel like I am committing some sort of parenting sin here but I hate soft play. In fairness at aged 9 it is now an activity we do a lot less than we used to
If I didn't have someone with me to share the pain, I'd be drinking coffee wishing for it to be over, a bit like a bad date, except you can leave the bad date and meet your friend for a drink instead.
You can't leave your screaming, crying, sweaty child in the pit of plastic balls whilst you disappear for a cocktail, well you could but you'd be judged. Harshly.
I know deep down that the likelihood of anything really bad happening to both of us at the same time is small, We look after ourselves but I know we could do more, and we can't travel separately on planes and trains which did cross my mind, as A) we can't afford to and B) We're not the Royal Family or One Direction.
We are lucky to have a big, loving family and cousins and friends who love our daughter, and who we trust implicitly with her, I always do my best to ensure the house is full of fun, laughter and friends. It doesn't appease the guilt though, our girl can struggle socially especially in large groups and I do wonder if the lack of siblings is the cause of that.
I wish we hadn't put off having another baby, I wish I hadn't lost my Darling Dad and Granddad when I was pregnant with our daughter, I wish I could remember my pregnancy without the overwhelming, all consuming feeling of grief that it brings. I wish I hadn't had a traumatic birth, wish I hadn't assumed all pregnancies end with a baby. Mostly I wish I'd of had a heart strong enough to put myself through all that again, for her. It might be too late now, and the guilt of that will never ever go away.
Then I thought about some the things that I'm actually pretty good at.
No I'm no good at hair that is true, but you know what I am brilliant at? Stories; telling stories. making up stories, creating characters and acting the story out - we have had hours of fun doing this, dressing up and building sets. Yes my daughter may fall short when it comes to having a fancy hair do but she has tons of creativity and a love for story making and storytelling and you know what? Yeah, she gets that from me. Go me!
I can't drive but Mark can, and even if Mark isn't around to drive us where we may need to go it's never stopped us. My daughter and I still go on tons of adventures! We hop on the Train or the Bus and sometimes even the Ferry and have days out, we love discovering new places and exploring them together.
I may actively despise soft play but I'm always the Mum who'll say yes to a house full of kids, a sleepover or a party. Halloween/Birthdays/Easter/Christmas/Cinco Del Mayo- any excuse I love a house full, nothing makes me happier than seeing my daughter playing with her friends and family. Our house is always full and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'm a good cook, I'll never say no to a stray animal she may bring home, nope not even the worms (to Marks dismay) we have mini discos when we're on our own, I give the best hugs, I will always support her and fight for her, and have her back no matter what.
See I really am crap at hair!
So yes I may fall short in some areas but I'm pretty sure I make up for it in others. Despite my best efforts and my aspirations at the start, there really is no such thing as a perfect Mother, there isn't.
We don't all get it right all of the time, and If you are reading this and saying you do, I'm calling liar liar pants on fire, sorry.
We really are all doing our best in this journey called Motherhood. If I do find myself having a bit of a wobble again I will remind myself of something my Nana once said "Rachel if you worry so much you're getting it wrong love, I'm pretty sure you're doing something right"
*You can pass it off as your own If you gently press on the surface of a Victoria sponge with a rolling pin it cracks a little and then add your own extra icing sugar on top... or so I've heard)