Life used to be simple. Clear cut. Black and white.
Roles were defined and refined. We all knew were we stood. My mum was my mum. I was her daughter. Then I became a mum and I had daughters. So far, so simple.
Now… the roles are blurred, the lines in the sand rolled over by the waves of catastrophe and stress. Now, my mum no longer looks after me. I look after her. I brush her hair and put on her makeup. I clean her house. And my daughters? Well, I do look after them too – although they do their fair share of brushing my hair and applying makeup – some days I look like The Joker. Although I’m not laughing much. The angst of my mum’s demise, and the sleep-deprived stress of a new baby have combined to make me ‘grumpy mummy’ as now defined by Daisy. “I’m not grumpy all the time”, I insist, but she gives me that look that only children can give. The look that says, “yes, but it’s the grumpy times that count.”
And to rub it in, she brought me down to earth yesterday. As only children can. I was in my usual ‘get-out-the-house-with-two-children-and-a-baby-dressed-fed-and-somewhat-intact-by-half-eight-in-the-morning’ mode when the final hurdle of getting laced runners on Daisy’s feet (why oh why did I not buy velcro???) was a hurdle too far. I lost the plot and threw a tantrum. It was quite impressive too. At one point the runners where hurled across the room.
As I strapped everyone into the car I took a deep breath and sheepishly apologised for my outburst. “It’s just hard,” I explained, “Getting everyone out in the mornings with no help from you.” Daisy looked at me – not unlike my mother used to, it has to be said, when she was making an annoyingly accurate point – and said, rather aloofly.
“Yes mum, but we are little people, and you are the big person.”
Ouch, but true. I am the big person, and no matter where the lines are, or what the roles are or even if I have no idea where I stand anymore, I should remember that at least. Parented by my child. Sounds just about right at the moment.