When I became a mum I thought I was going to be so much better at it than my own mum. I was certainly going to be a lot better than the women I see screaming at their kids in the supermarket or crying in the car at the school kiss and ride. But I’m not. There’s a pretty big gap between the picture of the mum I post on Insta and the mum I actually am.
It feels like no-one ever tells the real story. At mother’s group all I ever heard was mums whose babies slept through the night. How their kids all ate broccoli. None of them used screens to scab a 10-minute sleep-in.
You know what? As a mother of five, I don’t believe them.
At some point, when no-one is looking , our perfect mum facade falls and clonks our poor sweet baby on the head. With a phone.
A bit like Charlize Theron’s character does in the trailer for her new movie Tully. I’ve done this, by the way:
I’m the dumb mum who’s dropped my smartphone on my sleeping baby’s head as I struggled to take a call while breastfeeding. Try explaining that bruise to the early childhood nurse.
So, in the spirit of mum realness and oversharing, here are the 10 worst things I’ve done as a mum and never told anyone.
1. One morning I had such a bad hangover, I told the kids they were sick and couldn’t go to school. I made them bring me cold packs and massage my feet. Then I made the eldest child ring up the woman who I was supposed to do canteen duty with and tell her we were all really really sick. (In reality I was. I was really really sick of canteen.)
Reality. via GIPHY
2. Once my daughter Zoe put a battery in her mouth. I told her to take it out because it was toxic and she asked “will I die?” I said “Probably”. I weirdly enjoyed watching her freak out. She’s got a neurosis about touching batteries now. I did that.
3. When I was travelling overseas with my baby, I ran out of money for nappies so I had to use my t-shirts. I told fellow travellers I had given up disposables for eco alternatives, but in reality I was broke and I was running out of t-shirts.
4. I realised the night before my daughter’s fourth birthday that I forgot to buy her a card. So I took one of her older sister’s cards and whited out her name and wrote ‘Sophia’. I didn’t bother changing the message. Same same. I have another daughter who’s also been given that card. See, I am eco.
Well, obviously. via GIPHY
5. I once let my kids watch The Ring. I don’t know what happened, but I thought because it had a kid in it that it would be fine. And then I couldn’t just stop it because I really wanted to know how it ended and they were too scared to go to bed on their own. I told my kids not to tell anyone, but they tell everyone this story all the time.
6. I regularly swear in front of my kids. Especially in the car. I just never swear in front of my little kids when other adults are around. When my daughter was ‘role modelling’ my behaviour at school I stopped her by saying: “Sweetheart, did you know every time you swear a fairy dies”. She never swore again. But for years she cried herself to sleep and felt it was her fault there were no fairies.
7. I told everyone I had stopped breastfeeding my son when he was about two, but in reality I did it in secret when no-one was looking. He was three when I finally weaned him. When he went up to a strange woman in a supermarket and pointed at her boobs and said ‘titty’ I thought it was time to stop.
SLOW…CLAP. via GIPHY
8. I never taught any of my kids how to sleep on their own. I can’t stand babies crying. I would sit on the floor and cry beside them. When my second eldest daughter was only a few months old after a few hours of screaming in the cot I took her back to bed with me so I could get some sleep. When I woke up she was gone. I panicked. Then I found her. She’d fallen out of bed onto the floor and was sleeping on the carpet. I didn’t want to wake her so I put a blanket on her and got another half hour sleep.
9. I have found nits in my kids’ hair and sent them to school. Of course, I put a hat on them and told them not to scratch.
10. I tell lies to make my kids do what I want them to do. Or I trick them. Once when they wouldn’t get ready for school I said, “Hey kids, Mummy is going to make you a memory!” They were really excited. I’m not the sort of mum who makes stuff. They screamed “What’s a memory, Mum?”, I said “I am going to take you to school in the nude, and you will never forget it.”
So guess what? I have five reasonably functional, happy kids. And guess what we have in our family that’s better than Insta-perfect pictures? Stories!
Got stories like this to tell? Of course you do! Hit the comments section below and overshare…or just share. Whatever tickles your fancy. It’s a safe space.
This post is brought to you by the comedy-drama Tully, which is all about the realness of parenting. Oh yeah, THAT! It’s in cinemas May 10.
This content was created with our brand partner Studio Canal.
Don’t miss Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron in Tully, the brilliant new comedy-drama about a mother who is gifted a night nanny by her brother, and comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising and sometimes challenging young minder named Tully.
Bitterly funny and refreshingly honest, Tully is from the Academy Award® nominated director of Juno and Up in the Air, and hits cinemas May 10.