COLUMN: There's no such thing as the perfect mum
When I am out and about I enjoy talking to other parents. I also enjoy seeing all the different types of mums and their relationships with their children.
Clingy mums, shouty mums, busy mums, gossipy mums, super mums, and my favourite, flawed mums.
I don’t judge. At some point we are all these things and more.
When my daughter was a baby I took her to various groups.
I was shocked to see how well presented some of the other mothers were. One mum rocked up to every session in six inch heels, flawless makeup and bejewelled cardigans, not a hair out of place. She had a perfectly turned out child and spoke of delightful baking days, crafting and no TV ever.
I used to leave feeling like a failure. I’d not managed a shower, these jeans were out of the wash basket and my little one was ripping the fire extinguisher off the wall.
I am not organised. I thought having a child would change this. It did not. I would leave the house without wipes, nappies, snacks….the list went on. I relied on organised mums. One friend even loaned me her ‘third spare buggy’ on one trip. I couldn’t even remember to bring one. I’m sure the reason I breastfed was because my boobs were one thing I couldn’t leave at home.
In my mind, other mums had it all sorted out. When they baked, flour didn’t end up all over their child.
Crafting was contained to a table. Glitter was never spilled, sequins stayed in their pot and glue was used responsibly. Other mums didn’t go online and let their child binge on Cbeebies.
Other mums didn’t stop visiting supermarkets because it was too much hassle, and they never wanted to run away and have two minutes peace so they could eat their child’s chocolate.
I drove myself crazy trying to be the perfect mother. Until I realised there’s no such thing. Some people are just better at pretending than others.
Flawed mums make me feel better. It’s great not being perfect. I want to talk to the woman with sick on her shoulder who looks like she’s not slept for a week.
I warmed to one woman because her hair looked a bit greasy and mine was full of dry hair shampoo. I like hearing stories about the time you totally lost it because the PlayDoh got trod into the carpet or glitter got everywhere and you ended up in a job interview sparkling like a Twilight vampire.
As for perfect mums, calm down. Leave the eyeliner at home and admit you feed your child fish fingers. That way we’ll all feel better.