Guilty As Charged
Yesterday was back to school day and I was feeling pretty organised. I'd remembered that Zak had needed new wellies and had actually remembered to buy them too. I'd also remembered that I'd thrown Zak and Jackson's packed lunch boxes in the bin at the end of term. Often this has resulted in me the night before school shouting "Aargh! Max (or whoever it happened to be) hasn't got a lunch box! I forgot to get a new one!!" But no, not this time. This time I was smug. The lunch boxes were all ready. Homework was done and in their bags, school coats were washed and ready for them. But then I knew. I knew it was too good to be true. I'd forgotten something and I soon remembered what. I’d forgotten to check their school shoes over the holidays to check they still fit. I grabbed them, made sure they were clean and told them to put them on. Zak seemed quite happy, (relief!) But then those fateful words came from Jackson. "Mummy my shoes feel tight. I think they're too small for me." I had a bit of a squeeze of them, told him to scrunch his toes up a bit assured him they were fine and we'd get some soon; at the weekend. He went off to school as a 5 year old can - completely carefree.
I, on the other hand was not carefree. As soon as I knew that those shoes were too small and I hadn't checked, I felt guilty. Why didn’t I think of that? I should know better and be a better mother by now. For heavens’ sake I’ve got five kids! I felt like I'd fallen short somehow. That somewhere in the mansion in heaven that houses all the mothers that were once perfect on earth, they were all looking down on me, frowning and disapproving and wishing I'd do better.
A little dramatic
Of course I’m being slightly dramatic, but you get the idea. Basically I was beating myself up…..for not being supermum. For not being perfect. I started to think about it and chatted with some of my girlfriends about it and we all agreed…...we all do it! We all get frustrated because we feel like we’re somehow failing as a mum. We feel like everyone else is doing a way better job than we are. Someone else would never, ever forget to check their child’s school shoes still fit. We feel guilty once our babes are asleep that we spoke too sharply or we weren’t as patient as we should have been. That we cut them off in the middle of their sentence when we were trying to get the dinner on the table and the baby was screaming at the same time. That we didn’t read that extra story tonight (if one at all!) because we were simply too exhausted. The guilt can weigh heavy on us and we look at everyone else’s Instagram pages, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and wonder why our own family life isn’t as perfect or as fun as theirs and why ours are the only children in the world that misbehave. Surely that must be my fault too.
What I’m realising though is that we need to bring all of this to a screeching halt! First of all, there’s something that we all know as head knowledge but we need to change into heart and soul knowledge and it’s this: Nobody is perfect! Every mum forgets something sometime or loses her patience, or skips the bedtime story on occasion and has a child that misbehaves and has a tantrum! And if they tell you they don’t…..well let’s just say they’re not being entirely truthful.
We are not perfect
Us mums need to give ourselves a break and realise that we are not perfect, we’re all on a journey and we’re doing our best. How do I know this? Because we all have moments like this: When your little one or not so little one hugs you tightly or says “I love you” unexpectedly. When they say thankyou when they didn’t need to or like Zak, my almost 7 year old said to me tonight before bed. “Thanks for tonight Mummy, it’s been really good, really fun.” What had we done that was so amazing and fun? Nothing. Just the usual. That’s why I know that I’m not failing, that I’m not the “worst mum ever” but that I’m just an imperfect mum doing my best to love my children and raise them in a Godly way. If that’s what I’m accused of then I’m guilty as charged and that’s absolutely fine.