A definitive list of what makes a “supermum” has been released and before I read it I thought I’d score pretty well. I’m caring, sometimes organised, happy to do what needs to be done – most of the time – but according to this list I am falling way short on the perfection we are all aiming for.
I also know plenty of mums doing a much better job than I am. I can just picture them, sitting in the perfect, recently renovated kitchens, sipping herbal tea, nibbling on protein balls, calmly placing a “tick” next against the “perfect mum” checklist.
The study reported in The Express in the UK was meant to highlight how mums compare themselves to each other. We all have one of those mum-friends who seems perfect, who posts on Facebook all the time, who make motherhood look effortless and leaves us feeling less-than.
When you work your way through the list you realise how high we set the bar when it comes to our own parenting performance. Talk about pressure. Talk about ridiculous. Talk about the waste of energy comparing yourself to someone you know who can't really be perfect, because perfect doesn't exist.
Just to ensure you don't feel totally crap after reading this I will indicate which parenting points I am winning and which I am definitely not achieving in any way, shape or form.
So here goes:
- Thou shalt not arrive late for school drop off or pick up. TICK
- Thou shalt join the school parent's committee. CROSS
- Thou shalt always look glamorous on the school run. CROSS
- Thou shalt post all parental achievements on social media. CROSS
- Thou shalt bake birthday cakes from scratch. TICK
- Thou shalt volunteer at school events. CROSS
- Thou shalt never argue with partner in front of children. CROSS
- Thou shalt organise meals a week in advance. CROSS
- Thou shalt make sure kid's homework is always done. CROSS
- Thou shalt have school uniforms washed and ready for Monday morning. CROSS
- Thou shalt get children to say "please" and "thank you" at appropriate times. TICK
- Thou shalt bake cakes with children. TICK
- Thou shalt always have arts and crafts close at hand. CROSS
- Thou shalt read to children every night. CROSS
- Thou shalt ensure children look clean and presentable at all times. CROSS
- Thou shalt cook from scratch every night. CROSS
- Thou shalt ensure everyone gets out of the house on time. TICK
- Thou shalt get the kids to bed on time. CROSS
- Thou shalt always dress kids in the correct school uniform. CROSS
- Thou shalt go all out to entertain children's friends. TICK
- Thou shalt discipline children when necessary. TICK
- Thou shalt know when a hug is required. TICK
- Thou shalt allow children to help with the cooking. TICK
- Thou shalt ensure children behave well in restaurants. TICK
- Thou shalt never forget to pack snacks and lunches. TICK
- Thou shalt always have drinks and snacks available at all times. CROSS
- Thou shalt always have wet wipes and tissues on hand. TICK
- Thou shalt remember scarves, gloves and hats in winter. CROSS
- Thou shalt keep fridge well-stocked. TICK
- Thou shalt never run out of milk or dish washing liquid. CROSS
- Thou shalt buy gifts for children's teachers at the end of term. CROSS
- Thou shalt have first aid kit at home. TICK
- Thou shalt ensure child eats anything and everything. CROSS
- Thou shalt always remember sport and library days. CROSS
- Thou shalt pick up other people's children when asked. TICK
- Thou shalt let friends come over to the house. TICK
- Thou shalt organise regular sleepovers. CROSS
- Thou shalt lay out the breakfast table the night before. CROSS
- Thou shalt regularly check kid's hair for nits and lice. CROSS
- Thou shalt ensure children have their hair cut regularly. CROSS
Those Two Girls continue to share with us The Volunteer Diaries in Episode Two. Article continues after this video.
The kids get to bed on time but I have sent them to school in the wrong uniform, or wearing the wrong socks more times than I can count. I also regularly lose track of sport and library days.
My fridge is well-stocked but I didn't notice my daughter had nits until she was infested and it took three treatments to get rid of them.
As I sit here writing all three of my children are at home with Impetigo, otherwise known as "school sores". The only way I could get them take their medicine was to bribe them with lollies and promise to get them McDonalds for dinner.
But I'm still a good-enough mum, not a perfect mum, just someone who loves her kids and is trying her best. I truly enjoy raising my kids. I love everything about it, even picking up after them and chasing them around the house with steroid cream begging them to stop scratching their sores because "they'll spread, and Mummy needs to go to work tomorrow!"
Thou shalt not judge our performance as a parent...that's the only commandment we should listen to or share when it comes to this crazy ride called parenthood.
Remember, that "perfect" mum from the checklist? She doesn't exist. We know that deep down. We know that we pretend too sometimes.
We're all good at some things and not so good at other things, but all that matters is how much we love love love them and how much we let ourselves just enjoy - not compete - in this parenting game.