There’s a lot of press about yummy mummies, slummy mummies, attachment parents, Alpha parents – all labels and stereotypes which are a bit silly and flippant and all with an undercurrent of divide and conquer about them.
I’m a different kind of parent. My kind is inclusive, welcoming, and invites tales of Doing Just Enough. I’d like to welcome you to the world of the Inadequate Mother. We never quite reach the dizzying heights of glamour, wholesomeness, bohemia, or chilled-out cool that other mothers seem to exude.
Here are my confessions. If you can relate, pull up a seat in the club,
My child is the one who has stained clothes. I SWEAR they were clean on, and all she has done is enter the car, exit the car and walk down the street and she has stains all over her clothes. It’s a similar mystery to the one which sees my lips wiped clean of lipstick after 10 minutes despite not having kissed, drank, or uttered a word during that time. I should have shares in Napisan.
My child is the one with a lunch that looks decidedly thrown together. While others are jammed with treats, home made slices, or exotic rice paper rolls, mine are happily chomping on a vegemite sandwich, followed by an apple and some Shapes. It’s fine – but it’s not great.
It was probably me who you saw being reprimanded by the school teacher that time. It was about nits. I genuinely did not realise that we parents were expected to spend hours with a nit comb going through our child’s hair every night. (When do we do this? In between homework, dinner, play, stories and bed? Am I never allowed to have spare time ever again?)
I don’t always have baby wipes or tissues in my bag. This means my child sometimes gets snotty sometimes and I may or may not surreptitiously wipe her nose on my shirt. Maybe.
If you see the kid on World Book Day in slightly faded pyjamas, it’s probably mine. I forgot, you see, until that morning, and it’s hard to whip up even a basic Harry Potter get-up in the 13 minutes until we had to leave the house. So my kid stayed in pjs and represented… that kid, you know the one, in the book about sleepovers. Or Wee Willie Winkie. Or something.
All of the above does not look good, I’ll agree. I should remember World Book Day, I should have all the right stuff in my handbag, I should have the nit thing covered, I should put time and love into lunchboxes, I should teach my child to not attract dirt like little magnets.
But I have my own priorities: manners, fun, reading, cuddles, down time, long walks and silly conversations. I don’t judge those who have neat clothes and a bag full of essentials, but who don’t drum in to their kids the importance of saying please and thank you and read books each night. So if you don’t judge me either for my little failings – let’s be friends.