The Four, the Laundry The Life… “I’ll never be a Proper Mum”
I read this article in the Guardian this morning two days ago (see? If I was a Proper Mum this post wouldn’t have been sitting as a draft for two days) sighing and nodding and feeling slightly cheered.
So – apparently it’s not just me then?
See, I don’t really mention this stuff much. My friends know me well. And I’m sure the teachers at school are fully aware that I’m a mother who rarely brushes hair, and frequently examines school jumpers to decide which will be okay with a quick damp-cloth-rub. But who exactly ARE the ‘Proper Mums’? Because it was made known to me recently that a couple of the Mums at school consider me to be one such because I frequently don’t cluster and chat in the playground (am too busy herding children in late – the Wake & Shake is to give us an extra 5 minutes to scurry in, yes?) and rarely join the up-in-arms groups of fretters. But that’s just because Jolly is third boy. With No.1 son I was just like them – I’m simply a bit longer in the school tooth now, so feel more relaxed in my lack of spellings practice and inability to fill in the reading diary.
So, they think I’M a ‘Proper Mum’. But we all know I’m not (ha! Those that know me are sniggering at the very thought). And what about those women I see cheerily striding around the playground? Well-dressed, hair gleaming, lip gloss in place, children sparklingly clean and pressed, effortlessly galvanising everyone for the latest PTA event? ARE they actually that perfect? Or is it all a facade, and at home they have a grey rim round the bath, black cat hair on the white towels in the airing cupboard, and a laundry pile that never shrinks? Or maybe they just have an army of cleaners, an au pair and no day job?
Or is it just numbers, and if I only had the one (or maybe two) I would be a real life grown up Perfect Parent like them?
No, I think not. I am not destined to be Smart. Not in the the gleamy, well-presented sense.
Nor am I destined for Perfect Parent status with my lack of dedication to my children’s spare hours, the inability to remember to sign them up for extra-curricular activities, my cupboards-bare approach to snacks (they get oh-so-healthy apples or nothing, because it’s all that’s left rolling in the fruit bowl when I once again forget to buy/make anything more exciting for them). And as for staying at parties to chat… surely, that’s one of my few chances to have less of them at home, yes?
And actually – I don’t really mind. Life’s just too short to worry about such stuff.
My children are bright, independent, healthy (well, if you ignore No.1’s chronic illness), fun… and best of all happy. They are also welcomed wherever we go as polite, well-mannered and charming.
For me, that’s Job Done.
Go have a read for yourself – and let me know if you are also nodding in agreement. Or (come on, confess) do you finish it feeling faintly smug?