Poke. Prod. Poke, stir a little, twist that knife some more, go on, you’re so shit you deserve it.
Think of all the times you put yourself first. You were tired because you stayed up too late the night before, pottering around doing your own thing. Admit it, you simply could not be bothered playing a card game when he asked “Mammy will you play with me?” ten minutes before he was due to go to bed. You couldn’t be arsed with the arguments and badgering and nagging him to get to bed. So you took the easy way out and said “no, no card game”.
And how many times have you prioritised cleaning up the house when, really, shouldn’t you have just dropped everything and just played with him instead? “Let me help you” he’d say. “It’s okay, I’ll be quicker myself” you replied.
Remember those Sunday mornings where you thought to yourself, ah, I’ll just grab another hour in bed, he’ll be ok watching telly downstairs for a wee while before we go out? “He’s happy amusing himself for a bit” you said to yourself.
Those times you check Facebook or email on your phone when you should be doing something constructive with him. The times you’ve sent him upstairs to tidy his bedroom because his exuberance and turning cartwheels in the living room is starting to do your head in and you want a five minute break.
Face it, you’re a rotten mother. You probably shouldn’t even be allowed to have kids.
THAT is the voice in my head. Sometimes it deafens me, sometimes it just whispers poisonously. But it’s always, always there.
Except… What if, actually, you aren’t a shit mother? Wouldn’t that be novel?
What if, to offset the times you’ve put yourself first, there are many, many more times you didn’t?
I’ve been reading Hands Free Mama for a while now. And to be honest, it’s never made me feel good. The woman is the kind of mother I’d LIKE to be but don’t feel I’ll ever actually be able to emulate.
So her posts are like my weekly self-flagellation of guilt. Poke. Prod. Twist that knife. Never measure up.
I SHOULD BE LIKE HER.
And I’m not. I never get it right. I always fuck it up somehow.
So her post about being good enough was both a complete shock and a salve to my soul. Maybe the fact he knows I am there for him, always, always there in his corner, is what’s most important?
Maybe I just have to keep doing the best I can? Maybe my best is actually acceptable? Maybe I’m actually not quite as shit as that voice in my head tells me.
But tonight, after I’d written most of this post, he asked me again to play cards, not long before his bed time. And I said yes, of course I will. And we played, and he loved it, and I loved it, and we had a wee golden bubble of this is absolutely just right .