At last, a celebrity parent who doesn’t pretend motherhood is all craft projects and organic cupcake bake-offs.
Today I took my daughter to the doctor. In my relatively short life as a parent, I have been lucky enough that all doctor’s visits fall into one of two categories:
1. Why are you wasting my time? There’s nothing wrong with this child.
2. Why the hell has it taken you so long to come up here? This child is really ill.
And, the thing is, after five years, I still can’t pick it. So much for motherly instinct.
As I was completing my usual post-doctor self-flagellation today, trying to knock together a meal while trying to stop my son from killing the pet we’re catsitting, and trying to stop my daughter killing my son and finishing some work I’d promised to colleagues and being wildly sympathetic to my suddenly sick-looking child, I remembered something.
None of us get this stuff right all the time. Or even half the time.
Jessica Rowe reminded me of this. No, we weren’t trading motherly confidences at pilates, I was listening to her on the podcast I Don’t Know How She Does It, where she – host of Studio 10 and mother to two daughters – and Sarah MacDonald had the most honest chat about parenting I had heard for… well… ever.
Here’s what I learned:
1. I am not the only “Worst Mum In The World.”
When I am tired, distracted or stressed I can be short-tempered, angry and unreasonable with my kids. They are under six, so they are frequently the same. But I’m a grownup. I should know much, much, better. But sometimes, that’s just how it is.
So it is for Jessica, who described her previous evening thus: “I was yelling and yelling and [my daughter] was laughing in my face thinking it was absolutely hilarious… I slammed her bedroom door, and then she got hysterical on the other side of the bedroom door. I opened it. I yelled at her and then I slammed the door again and I jammed her fingers in the door by mistake! I felt terrible. I was like the worst mum in the world.”
Uh-huh. That happens.
2. Sometimes she shirks the tough stuff.
If my friends and I ever plan an evening out, we always meet before bedtime. Escaping bedtime can be a rare and precious gift.
Yes, the very end of the day is a beautiful time with my kids, when they're bathed and sleepy and want to share their stories with me. But the effort involved in getting them to that point? Sometimes, you feel like you just haven't got another bathtime in you.
Jessica feels the same, but at the other end of the day. She leaves for work before her kids leave for school, and she couldn't be happier about it.
"I would far rather sneak out the door and go to work than try battle getting my daughters ready for school."
3. She can leave her money in her other bag, too.
Every time I can't find the VERY thing I need in the bottom of my bag at exactly the right moment, I think, I bet this never happens to anyone else...