I am not the best mother in world, there I said it. Being a mummy has not come naturally, indeed there are days (read weeks) when I question why I even set forth on this venture. I try to do all the things that a good mum is supposed to do but really my heart isn’t completely in it and every now and then I slip up and then the guilt seeps in.
We were in the garden a couple of weeks ago – before this incredible heatwave – and were enjoying a bit of sunshine and warmth for the first time in months. Tilly and Joshua were both pottering about and I was attempting to have a cup of tea and read the local paper. It was after school and I’d been at work for the day so all a bit tired and starting to think about having to cook. T & J’s pottering turned into a mission to make ‘bird nests’. Now you and I both know that bird nests are an amazing feat of nature, twigs, mud, moss, feathers all combined by some ornithological magic. T & J had arranged a few twigs and handfuls of mud onto the table and were now attempting to get them to stay together, I am studiously trying to ignore the mess and yelling at them to clear it up so I pretend I’m not watching. However Tilly is wandering back from the back of the garden with something in her hands and as she gets closer I start reading an article on the Frome Festival (a really great annual festival by the way, you really should come one year, first two weeks in July generally.)
“Mummy, mummy, look I’ve found some moss for our birds nest.”
“Oh that’s nice, I’m trying to read,” head still down not looking.
“But Mummy look – it’s really cool,” now stood a foot away from me.
“Tilly, I’m trying to read,” head still down not looking.
Tilly turns and starts walking away and as she does so I hear her mutter “You could have looked mummy.” That was when the guilt started and now a few weeks later I’m still feeling guilty.
Tilly was quite right, I could have looked. It wouldn’t have taken a second. But the combination of tiredness and a complete lack of interest in what they were doing overtook Mummy Mode and the real me surfaced. I didn’t want to look at a clump of dirt, I just wanted to have some peace and quiet, some time in my own company with no interruptions. However being a mother means that when the children are around you have to be interested in things you wouldn’t normally be. You have to bite your tongue a million times a day so you aren’t constantly shouting. You have to do things that you really don’t want to do. You have to be someone you have never been before. Some find this enlightening, rewarding, enriching, the best thing ever and they are the best mums in the world. Me? I find it alien, irritating and at times depressing. Like I said I’m not the best mum in the world.
My end of term school report this year definitely says ‘could do better’. Next time I will really try.