When we were teenagers we felt pressure to fit in, and we did all we could to do so. I watch my own children, some now teenagers, and they would do anything to ensure they do not stand out. Hair is straightened, as that is the way hair is worn. The clothes they wear, the shoes and everything else they buy is bought to ensure they are the same as everyone else.
Not much changes as we get older. We have children and feel the pressure to be the perfect mom everyone else seems to be. Will you have a natural birth? Will you breast feed? If yes for how many decades?
Then we bring our baby home and it gets worse. We are back in our teenage life. Lying shamelessly in order to either pretend all is amazing in our world, or to prove to others that our new baby is a child wonder. When in reality they are a never sleeping, always crying, fussy eating disaster, while you haven’t recovered from the shock of pushing out that child, you still can’t sit down, you look pregnant and feel like you need medication!
As the years have gone on I have begun to fight back. I was an individual as a teenager, but as a young mother I succumbed to pressure. Now my children are growing up and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am back in the ring.
I am happy to have children who are not going to appear in the nations newspapers having achieved maximum marks in their final school exams. I am happy to let the world know I have two children with dyslexia. I am relaxed and proud to know my children are middle of the road. To me, they are just perfect.
In the “Best mom” competition I have retired, or maybe I’ve quit the race.
I now fully accept….
I am useless at arts and crafts. I cannot help my children with any form of drawing or make and do.
I cannot do hair. Anything more complicated than generalised hair brushing or the tying of a pony tail, is a step too far.
I am very disorganised. It is highly likely that I will only remember to wash school uniforms on Monday morning, prompted by the vision of my children arriving to breakfast wearing a uniform splashed with the dinners of the previous week.
I forget to sign homework, and never stress about exam results. Hopefully they’ll do better next time.
It has happened occasionally that I have forgotten my fourth child exists. As the night hours draw in I have been shocked to discover her happily oblivious to the time, sitting watching television.
However it is in the cooking and baking department that I have completely surrendered.
As a young girl I grew up with a “real” mom. She cooked a fine dinner every day. She baked constantly and we always had dessert after dinner. However even in those very early preparatory days for my future, there was a vote of “no confidence” in my culinary ability. On a good day I was given a job in the kitchen. It was always the same job. “Stir the gravy”. I did my best to stir it really well, but on many occasions I was deemed to be the reason for the lumpy gravy.
When I met my husband first we went to live for a while in Australia. I can clearly remember beginning to learn how to cook. My husband was my guinea pig. And thankfully a bit of a pig he was, so regardless of the level of burnt, he would eat all I put in front of him.
Over the years you will be glad to know I have improved. I am now a very average cook and have been known to bake, although success has been limited.
Yesterday it was my youngest daughters twelfth birthday. “Would you like us to go to the shop and buy a birthday cake?” I enquired. “We will have a look”, she replied. However once there she decided we would bake one.
One hour later, this mom of the year had made the most perfect cake.
“Wow!” I hear you exclaim, ( pretend you exclaimed) “I didn’t see that coming”. Well it’s true. I skillfully opened the packet of Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake, and followed the recipe to a T. Then when it was perfectly cooked, I iced it generously with chocolate fudge icing. The lid I grant you, was a bit tricky to open but I managed it and the result was perfection.
As we ate our cake and celebrated my little ladies big day, I looked around at my family.
The older ones had got up at the dawn as they knew my littlest would be up early. They had fussed over her and spoiled her. Now they were happy to sing “Happy Birthday” together.
I looked, at my cheating birthday cake, and I thought, “I might not get mother of the year, but if this is second best I’m more than happy with my achievement”.