Why being a sh*t mum doesn’t make you a bad parent

You're not a bad mum.
You're not a bad mum.

AM I a shit mum? We all ask this question some time throughout parenthood – but many of us ask it daily, writes Sara Fitzpatrick. 

Am I doing this all wrong? Am I even fit for the job? Who the hell put me in charge of a little person anyway?

The answer: Yes, I am a shit mum. I can be selfish, lazy and just not very good at this adult thing.

There’s no love in my bacon and eggs. Peeling a carrot and a cucumber and chucking some broccoli on to boil, all in the one meal, is a good effort from me.

 

 

I forget library books, wipes and water bottles and often cut story time short to watch Married at First Sight (it doesn’t get lower than that).

I will opt for dirty socks if we’re running late, and shove hair into ponytails when knots and tears are too much.

I say terrible things in the heat of the moment: “Why are you trying to ruin my life?” was a recent doozy.

Last week I told my three-year-old: ‘Sometimes, I could kill you!’ She turned to me in a great panic: ‘Please don’t kill me, mummy!’ We laugh about that now.

 

 

I don’t feel like a proper mum

Truth is: I have never really felt like a ‘proper’ mum.

I rejected parenting guides and the obligatory mothers’ group, (I wanted to escape the ‘mumsie’ world not expand it).

Hell, I haven’t even upgraded to an SUV (I’m holding onto my hatchback like it’s a symbol of youth and abandon – or something).

No, I’ll never be that polished mum: full of energy, wildly in love (somehow), still, with her husband and planning a third kid because, quite frankly, everything is going so swimmingly well – why the heck not?

F*ck you, Shoshana Valmardre! (I just made her up).

So I am a shit mum, sometimes. And I’m ok with that.

 

 

I just want to be a good mum

Because other times I am the best frigging mum to coast the Coles supermarket aisle.

No one tells stories like me – my Year 6 English teacher said I could make a fortune writing Mills and Boon and although this was possibly a dig, God damn it, she was right.

My characters are bloody masterpieces. Most loved is my fictitious four-year-old, Punzie (Rapunzel’s daughter) who always falls short next to precocious teenager, Elsie (Elsa’s daughter).

The girls relay my storylines for months, rehashing ridiculous scenarios: like the time Elsie didn’t show up to Punzie’s birthday party (despite RSVPing that she would) then proceeded to have her own party that very same day, time and place (Adventure World) and invite all the same friends.

Poor Punzie looked like a fool as Snow White, Belle, Barbie (some random called Rosie) and even Gaston partied with Elsie on the waterslides. Gold.

No one instills a sense of self in both girls and reminds them of their best qualities every day, like I do.

No one knows all their favourite books, movies, TV characters and song lyrics like me; spends hours talking about feelings and dreams for the future.

 

 

How do you bond with a baby? 

When I was pregnant with my first I worried we wouldn’t bond.

Guess that’s what all those reoccurring dreams of giving birth to an onion were about (now I’m really ‘peeling back the layers’ into some deep shit).

She arrived and loved me at first sight. I didn’t have to try. I didn’t even deserve it – but there it was.

Like me, you can’t avoid being lousy now and then. Parenthood dredges up your past, revealing home truths and bringing out your worst.

You can’t escape a troubled childhood: you will reassess your upbringing, blame your parents for their misdeeds, then ultimately forgive them because you know they tried.

You will have to grow up (at least a bit) and possibly seek help to iron out some flaws.

Go easy on yourself: shit is inevitable but the good mum in you will clean it up.

sara.fitzpatrick@communitynews.com.au

 

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