Yesterday, I was having one of those days where everything felt like it was getting the better of me. Work deadlines were looming in on me, the house needed a tidy, there was no food (you don’t want to see me hungry) and the kids were driving me….well…bonkers. My daughter has developed a habit of following me around EVERYWHERE recently, and trying to do what I am doing. This includes the toilet, the shower, on the phone, inside, outside….everywhere. It is at once both utterly and totally adorable, and incredible infuriating.
I had a work email that I had to get finalised, and as usual, she was right by my side. Trying to tap the keyboard, asking me questions. “Can you please just leave Mummy for 5min” I said “I just have one thing to finish”. But no…she stayed. She took my pen, and ripped a page from my work book to draw on. “Look…you need to go pumpkin…Mummy has to work”. Nope, still there. Still talking. I can’t stand it, i can’t concentrate..I can feel the rage coming. Can’t I just finish one damn email on my own without an interruption. “Can you spell Special” she says . “NOOOOOOOO I CANNOT…JUST GO AWAY” I scream. Undeterred…she keeps asking and asking, and then starts rummaging through my things. “OK, if I spell Special will you leave me alone!” I yell. And so I do…and she skips out of the room. At which point I look down and see this….
OMG! My heart just shattered into a million little pieces. I collapse onto my desk. I can’t do this. I’m failing. I’m an awful horrible mother. I have my priorities all wrong. Why do I let my work priorities interfere with family. This shouldn’t have happened. Maybe I shouldn’t even be working. My children need me. They are going to grow up before I even know it and I will regret that I didn’t give them more of my attention. The mother guilt is flowing through me like lava, I feel sick, exhausted, terrible.
OK Claire…lets pull on the handbrake here and try to let Mrs Logical Brain put this into some perspective…
Firstly, it is impossible to give your children 100% of your attention all the time. It is OK for children to learn that they need to give you some space, sometimes. And that there are plenty of other amazing things in our house that they can amuse themselves with if they try. Sure, this was not my finest motherhood moment. If I’d kept my calm and just given her my attention for 5min, helped her find something else to do, then i could have done the email and probably no incident would have occurred. Sometimes we learn the hard way and this was one of those times. It doesn’t make me bad or horrible. It just makes me not perfect. Learn and move on.
Secondly, this is not only a working Mum’s scenario. Even the stay at home Mum’s I know have this same dilemma. I could just as easily have been trying to talk on the phone, pay a bill, or feed a baby… requiring the child to have to wait their turn. So, this does not mean that I shouldn’t be working and that my priorities are all wrong. It was just a tough day.
And finally, I don’t think my daughter is quite old enough for emotional bribery (yet?!), so she didn’t draw this picture because she wanted to make me feel bad. She drew it because she wanted to make me feel good. She drew it because maybe…just maybe…I’m not actually a horrible, bad mother. Maybe, actually, I’m a rather special one…who is not perfect all the time, but is special anyway.
So, I picked myself up. Dusted myself off. Made a cup of tea and finished that damn email. I put my beautiful picture in pride of place right in the centre of my whiteboard. It is going to remind me, that despite the occasional blip, my children might still think I am special. And when I cuddled my daughter in bed last night, I reminded her just how special she is to me too.