I don’t know about you, but 6 years and three children in, I still look over my shoulder occassionally to see who might be coming close enough to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I’m not a real mother, please move along. If only there was a manual – one that doesn’t tell me to listen to my inner gut which frankly only tells me I ate too much chocolate and drank too much wine last night, or one that tells me exactly what time I can eat a slice of toast (honestly, one does) and lays out my parenting tasks like a military opertion – with as much loving as that would entail. No, we just have to muddle through, hoping against hope that we aren’t on the social services list for mad mothers, and gaining strength in numbers by hanging out (or blogging alongside) other mad mothers, in every form the word mad entails.
And just when I think I’m really not very good at this (last week my 6pm phone call to a friend went like this: ‘is it ok to open a bottle of wine before the kids go to bed?’ My friend replied, ‘well, what are they doing?’ to which I confessed they were eating chocolate and watching TV. ‘Oh you’re way past wondering if drinking before their bedtime is ok!” she replied) my cohorts in co-parenting (for that is what friends are), boosted my confidence by confessing their own wayward ways. There is nothing like someone else’s badness you make you feel good.
On Friday night, during a much needed girlie night drinking wine (it was after the kid’s bedtime!) my friend and I decided to watch our favourite girlie night DVD. Oh come on! We are grown women but admit it – we all love a teenage vampire! After fiddling with the controls for a few moments, she announced she was off to get her daughter up. “But she’s been asleep for two hours!” I gasped. “Yes,” she said, as she carried her sleepy 8 year old into the room, “but she’s the only one who can work the DVD player.”
Did that make me feel good or what! Then, at a lovely afternoon tea with some other girlfriends the next day (it’s been an amazing rare, but gorgeous friend-filled weekend) my child pyschologist friend – who for years has been guiding parents on how to bring up their children, confessed she’s too confused and traumatised with her own two children to follow her own advice. “I used to be a parenting expert until I became a mum,” she wailed as we all smiled and consoled her with the reminder that we had never been parenting experts. And maybe that’s the point. We do the best we can….. with a little help from our friends. Thank you mad mothers everywhere for living in my world.