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'I've always had a good sense of humour. But there's nothing funny in jokes about my kids.'

I don’t take myself very seriously.

I’ll happily do a funny dance in the supermarket just to make my daughters giggle, or say something outrageous to a waiter just to hear my friend snort into her latte.

My partner and I frequently poke fun at ourselves or each other just to get a laugh – teasing is basically our love language.

What I’m saying is - I think I have a good sense of humour… except, apparently, when it comes to my kids.

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Don’t get me wrong – I can joke about my kids. Any given day and I’ll be wondering aloud how much I’d get for them on eBay. Or I might suggest that a herd of rhinos would be quieter and less destructive than my two terrors. Or refer to them as my drunken dictators.

But if you make the same joke? Even if you’re my dearest and closest friend? Umm excuse me – how dare you insult my little angels.

Yes, I can see they’re being bratty. I know when their behaviour is ridiculous. And I can complain about it! But when someone else makes the same joke, even with the same good humour and affection as I would have, I can’t help wanting to leap to their defence.

Maybe it’s the motherly instinct kicking in, protecting my offspring at all costs. Or maybe it’s the insecurity that someone is ‘joking’ about something they really mean.

Of course, with friends I usually laugh politely and bite my tongue. I don’t want to be the mother that can’t take a joke! I know my kids need to learn how to take light teasing or tongue-in-cheek comments. Heaven forbid they grow-up without emotional resilience.

I like to think that I’m not a person who obsesses over what people think of me. And yet, something in me still wants to prove to everybody that I’m definitely a good mum.

Intellectually, I understand that we’re all just wrestling with modern parenting in the best ways we can. But emotionally, there’s a part of me that still feels a need to prove myself as a mother. 

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I have no doubt about how much I love my kids, and I know they love me back. Nothing brings me more joy than the sound of their laughter or the feel of their cuddles. But despite this, and despite my stability and confidence in other areas of my life, I find mothering to be the shakiest ground that I stand on. 

It’s the one area where I still compare myself to others. I still wonder if I’m doing enough and count all the ways I’m failing. I still look at other mums in the playground and assume that they’re the actual parents, and I’m just winging it.

I think deep down that’s why I’m over-sensitive to jokes about my kids. I’m scared that if someone suggests they are unpleasant – even as a joke – that it reflects poorly on me? Or maybe I’m so paranoid about not giving them ‘issues’ that I see even good-natured jests as a threat to their mental health?

Mothering is the one of the most important jobs we have. One that directly and powerfully impacts the life of another human. And with that comes a whole lot of pressure. Every week we are reminded of the ways we should be doing it better, or differently, or more ‘holistically’. 

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But we’re also reminded that doing the best we can is enough, and to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. With so many conflicting messages it can feel like we’re on this endless quest for perfection, but also, acknowledging there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect mum’. 

I always said having a baby was the best and hardest job I’d ever had, and after six years in the business, it’s still exactly how I feel.

I’ve come to realise that despite how thick our skin may be or how strong our self-esteem, parenting seems to be the last vestige of insecurity and self-doubt. It lingers, even after we’ve worked through the other four million self-esteem issues that come with being female.

So I’ve been working on my parental over-sensitivities by catching my thoughts and focusing on the truth. I’m finding ways to feel more confident as a mum, and I’m trying to take good humour about my children as warmly as it’s intended. 

But for now, if you call my daughter a sooky-la-la one because she’s sobbing hysterically about a broken cookie, I can’t promise I won’t kick you in the shins.

To read more from Jasmin, you can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature image: Getty.

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