Saturday, 11 February 2017

Why There's No Such Thing As The Perfect Mum

I've been a Mum now for 10 years.

10 years.

I can't quite get my head around that.

People always say in the begining "Enjoy it. It goes so quickly" don’t they? And you put it down as being just one of those things people say, but it really does. For me it feels like it’s gone by so incredibly fast, yet if I were to close my eyes I can recall almost every single moment, feel every wave of emotion I've felt as a parent. 

The Happiness, the pride and frustrations. 

The heart swelling moments when they tell you they love you without prompting. 
The heart racing moments when as a toddler they attempt to run directly into oncoming traffic. The feeling you get after this is fear, then anger, then pure elation. Quickly followed by guilt if I remember correctly. It's always about the guilt isn't it?

Parenting is a bit like being on an emotional roller coaster in general really.

I was the perfect parent before I actually became a parent. I had 2 much younger Sisters you see, so I was used to being around babies, thought I knew it all. I changed nappies, I made bottles, I rocked them to sleep. I also dropped them, well only one actually but you know, I therefore knew what to do in a crisis - all part of the learning journey.

When I got pregnant, I read every single baby book imaginable, I ordered my Bugaboo and purchased Clarins’s Beauty Flash Balm.

I thought I was already winning at parenting.

Then I had a baby. An actual baby and it turns out I didn't actually know it at all (Except maybe the nappies part)

I was alerted to the fact this parenting malarkey wasn't quite going to be quite how I expected, when said baby failed to leave my vagina according to my birth plan. 

The Birth plan. Ha!

When contractions aren't eased by birthing balls or soothing music, they hurt, and make you stab the birthing ball with a pencil so hard the pencil is quickly confiscated. 
Sometimes your baby doesn't want to come out of your vagina at all and you need an emergency c section, and you might just nearly die too.

I don't recall reading any of that in the Yummy Mummy guidebook funnily enough. 

Anyway, I didn't die and I remember leaving hospital a few days later on bright, sunny April morning, holding my perfect, red faced little bundle of joy. And right there and then, I promised her, I was going to be the best Mum in the whole wide world to her.

So, what exactly did I think this 'best Mum' looked like when I was reading the Yummy Mummy guidebook and optimistically patting my birthing ball?

Calm, always happy, never shouts
Doesn't just go to Mum and Toddler groups, she is the Mum everyone wants to BE at Mum and Toddler groups.
Baking - all the baking.
No electronic toys.
Cooking everything fresh and Organic
No TV 
Patience, all the patience in the world.
Education.Education.Education - not doing that in a shouty Blair way here, it was v important to me.
PTA, bake sales, School fetes - I was going to own that shizz.

There is no doubt Mums like this do exist out there, no really.

However, I quickly discovered I wasn't going to tick off a good 90 per cent of that list and I worried that didn't make me the 'Best Mum' after all.
I hated Mum and Toddler groups. I tried, I really did but I never really felt like my baby or I fitted in. Which is a bit silly, the baby obviously fitted in she wasn't the one with a resting bitch face. 
Baking I can bake, so that's one at least.
No electronic toys. Pffft accept your home is soon going to look like the Toys R Us baby aisle threw up in your living room.
Cooking everything fresh and organic? Erm sometimes. Sometimes a jar is just fine. Your baby will not suffer irreparable health damage from a jar of (quite frankly delicious) egg custard you know.
No TV. Haaaaaaaa. I could have French kissed whoever invented In The Night Garden during unsettled nights.
Patience. Let’s face it you need all the patience in the world with kids but unless you’re on mind altering drugs your patience does wear thin at times. Even if you don’t lose your shit in the playground/park/party I’m guessing you probably scream into a pillow when you get home.
Education. Important granted but my daughter being happy is more important.
Calm, happy, never shouts. See patience
PTA/Bake sales/School fetes. I'm going to break it to you, you aren’t the only one who wants to own that ‘shizz’ At least 30 % of the parents from each class want to as well. Some like, really want it, and let’s face it you can’t all get the front seats at every Christmas performance. Every year. So let them get on with it, just buy bake, donate, support and say thank you. 

So, as you can see I tick off one thing thing on the list of what I thought made a 'best Mum'. One thing.

Does that make me a bad Mum? If you tick off 2 of those things or more does that you a better mum than me? I don't think it does, because what I have discovered in the past 10 years of parenting is that being the 'best Mum' to your child isn't based on how many Mum and Toddler groups you attend. It isn't measured by whether you feed your child organic food exclusively, own the PTA and don't let them watch TV. 

I didn't do any of those those and S thinks I'm the best Mum in the world, I'm not and I hate to break it you, you're not either. 

There is no such thing as a perfect parent. There is no one exclusive right way to raise a child. 

I didn't join the PTA - doubt I'd be allowed on- I struggle with not doing it my way compromising. 
I sometimes buy cakes and pass them off as my own. I let her watch too much TV some days, and some days my patience is worn thin and I shout.

But I know that I am always doing my best, always. 

I may go to bed wishing that I hadn't shouted that day. Knowing that I let her have to long on the Ipad, let it slide when she didn't eat her fruit. But I also fall asleep knowing that so is she, right next door. She is falling asleep warm, safe and knowing that she is loved and that she is happy.

I'm guessing that at the end of the day that's all that really matters?

I used to worry a lot that I let my daughter down by not being the PTA Mum, or the Organic non shouty Mum. Or the Mum who arranges 34 playdates and 16 clubs a week.

But I know in my heart that I am absolutely the right Mum, for her.

And if i'm constantly worrying that I'm getting right? If I'm always making sure I do my best then you know what, my best is good enough.

I am pretty sure the 'me' back then, whispering that she was gong to be the best mum in world to that red faced perfect little bundle was already hazarding a guess that parenting wasn't go to be quite like she'd imagined anyway.

She'd failed to pack her Clarins beauty flash balm, didn't have a clue how to put the Bugaboo together and was leaving the hospital with a deflated birthing ball.

Being a Mum is never going to be how you imagined it to be. Some day's it's better some days it's worse but remember, enjoy every single minute. It really does go by so fast.

Rachel x


  1. Nice one Rachel. I've spent too many hours watching the competition in the playground, and hearing the boasting etc etc. Seren is a star, as are you and Mark as parents. Believe you me, some of us blokes worry as much as mums do and I have experienced the worst of the Clarins-toting helicopter parents. Just do it your's brill!!

  2. ahhh chris thanks so much for your lovely comment and support as always! that Clarins beauty flash balm - grrr X