A fortnight of illnesses had circled around my family like a perverse, vomit-filled merry-go-round and all of my apparently vital tasks were only half done, badly done or not done at all. My husband and I were behind on work and cranky with each other, our son was rogue and out of sorts and I was left feeling - yet again - like I was lagging behind with the world, wondering that thing I so often do: why I can never hold it all together?
Well I have had enough of the bullshit – enough of feeling I don’t come up to scratch – because I do.
Enough of the self-doubt, enough of criticising my actions and enough of questioning if I should have done a million things differently. Enough of going to bed thinking of what I got wrong, of all the things I didn’t do, of the stuff I didn’t deal with calmly enough… wisely enough… sensibly enough.
Parenting is hard. And every morning we get up and we solve problems, we make decisions, we juggle and we love – with every part of our being – and we do it damn well, too. And that should be enough for us. You and I rock every day as mothers without fail – and in case you need a reminder - here’s why:
You Had a Child
Right there – you rock. Whether yours was pushed out, yanked out or, after a hundred hoops jumped, adopted; you did it my friend. Painful though it most definitely was, you made it and that means you are king.
You Are a Fountain of Knowledge
Maybe less so about politics, history and world news for the moment – some things have got to slide - but award yourself top marks for knowing the lyrics to every crazily irritating song on Disney and being able to recite your child’s favourite books by heart. You also win a special prize for rarely forgetting which coloured bowl dinner must be served in and that the pasta and broccoli must never, EVER touch. It takes a special kind of person to retain all this vital info and not totally crack up several times each day.
You Live Most of Your Life in Stretchy Pants
Alright, so you may have heard some negative press about leggings or yoga pants, or as I like to call them, threads of beauty. However I need you to say this loudly and say this proudly: ‘She who embraces the stretch - ROCKS.’
Have you ever tried crawling up an inflatable slide in a dress? Or re-enacting Humpty Dumpty - baby balanced on your knee - wearing a fitted skirt? Well don’t - it doesn’t work – but in stretchy pants… you can do ANYTHING.
You Are All Kinds of Funny
So your stand-up act might only be in demand at home right now, but hey, that’s Hollywood’s loss. You’re the one who can make your kid laugh and smile more than anyone else in the world and they are your Number One Fan. Except when they are your partner’s, who sometimes has the edge on you. This is both sweet and fricking annoying.
You Have an 100% Attendance Record
You NEVER phone in sick – even when flu sees you barely able to lift your head or a fortnight of bad nights has you wanting to resign your role - you remain (perhaps involuntary) dedicated. The proof of this is right there in your personnel file of zero unauthorised absences. Damn straight there should be a bonus scheme in place but sadly… there isn’t.
You Are a Saviour
Yes you are, yes you are. You keep your children safe, fed and watered Every. Single. Day. You also try to keep them clean, but some things are bigger than us – let’s stop trying to fight this one people.
You Have Stayed Up Whole Nights
…On several occasions, because someone little and demanding needed you to. And the really impressive part: you did it completely soberly and half-rationally. That is a lot more than your average spritely young party animal could ever manage. You’ve still got it, friend.
You Can Act to Award Winning Standards
Your kid had a taste of candy and is going feral for more? ‘Oh no! Candy’s all gone sweetie… how about a nice, delicious, um… apple?’
You’re asked to ‘Play stores’ for the billionth time today and would rather slowly gauge out an eye? ‘Of course! Mommy would love to play stores with you, what fun!’
Your child won’t sleep despite it being way past bedtime? ‘Well Mommy is going to lie down right here on this super hard floor without any padding and go to sleep right now.’ Although depending on point 7, you may not actually have to act that last one.
You Get the Shit
Yes often literally – diaper failing stomach bug anyone? But also - figuratively. You search until they are reunited with their favourite, beat-up teddy… you make the time-consuming dinners that leave them full and content… and you find the toy they are completely, obsessively desperate for, regardless of it being so in demand it involves early-morning long queues, eBay stalking or the actual selling of your soul. You will do what it takes to get them the shit. Even if that clown, Santa Claus ends up taking all the fricking credit.
You’re not a perfect specimen – but wouldn’t that be boring? You make mistakes as a parent - but so what? There is one thing however, that you do faultlessly, impeccably, always: you love. And that is enough… what you are doing is enough… you are enough.
So there we have it – indisputable proof that as a parent, a mother and a human, we rock every day in this world, and it doesn’t go unnoticed – most especially by the people who really matter. And after all, aren’t they the only ones truly qualified to say?