The Mother I Hoped I’d Be

I’m not the mother I thought I would be.

I thought I would be such a fun mummy. The one who was always playing. Someone who would completely lose themselves in whatever the game was and not care about the mess it made, or how long it was going to take to tidy up.

I imagined I’d be a mother who was totally enraptured by her child and gave them every single particle of their attention, every minute of the day. Not one to sit distractedly typing on their phone and scattering the meaningless words, “Not now”, onto the floor among the pile of offerings that have been proffered in a bid for recognition.

I wanted to be a mother whose tether was so long it could never be reached. Who only ever used the word, “No”, in a firm, calm voice when she really meant it. So that her child recognised that word was worth something.

But I am not that mother.

Child and woman looking at dinosuar statues in Crystal Palace Park
Is there such a thing as a mummy who never loses her temper? (Nursery Whines)

I look for her when I am trying to find the temper I have just lost in the kitchen. Somewhere in the washing up bowl, when my daughter has just pulled a dish out of the cupboard and smashed it into a million pieces on the floor.

“What would that mother have done?”, I ask myself, as I breathe myself slowly back down to normal, apologise for shouting and try to explain why broken crockery is not a figure of fun.

She wouldn’t have been doing the washing up for a start. She would have been joining in at emptying the cupboards and playing the bongo drums on upside down saucepans.

That mummy pings into my brain like an e-mail alert when I snap, “Just give me one more minute!”, at the bored and eager child tugging at my leg, as I sit plugged into a computer trying to order some new gadget to make this parenting malarkey less of an effort, or find another job to escape to.

That other mother would wait until the mythical ‘nap time’ to do her admin. And she wouldn’t be so intent on getting out, not even for a few days a week.

The image of that mother stings me in the eyes like onions and catches in the back of my throat like sandpaper, as I yell at my daughter for her wilful disobedience in the face of danger yet again.

Would her child ever behave so badly that she would need to think of discipline? If they did, all she would have to do was sigh disappointedly and they would instantly take heed in meek obedience.

No, I am not that mother. And I am not sure I will ever find her.

Child pushing toy pushchair in the park.
Bringing Up Mummy (Nursery Whines)

But I am starting to realise that my daughter is not the only person learning new things about life. She is teaching me something too.

Every time I take some time to stop and join in her games I realise how much more important making a mess can be than tidying it up.

Every time I turn off the hullabaloo of humdrum life I find out something new about my daughter.

And every time she ignores my rules, I have to think up a new way to make her understand them.

No, I am not that mother. And I have learned to give up her ghost.

Because I can only be who I am. And the person I should be looking to find, is my daughter.

One Messy Mama
The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
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7 thoughts on “The Mother I Hoped I’d Be

  1. I loved reading this. I often find myself thinking those exact same thoughts.”What would that calm mom do?” – whilst I am fighting frustration and feelings of failure. Sometimes (like you say) we just need to stop and relax.. Thanks for sharing with us at #globalblogging

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  2. I can not begin to tell you how much this resonates with me. I was always so patient, playful, fun, friendly, calm, enthusiastic with kids. Other people’s children, my pupils, my little cousins so just like you I also thought i would continue like that and be that mother. The problem is I’M NOT THAT MOTHER! I think the problem is with all other kids it’s not so grinding and constant and 24/7 . They go back home to their parents so really the only time they spend with you is when they are being fun, and cute and calm. All the whinging, demanding, tantruming is reserved for their dear parents and for me that’s really what’s challenging. I’m glad you have let go of that ghost of the mother you thought you would be. i’m still working on it… Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

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  3. agentspitback

    I loved loved loved this post! Nodding along to everything you have said. That’s so me too. Isn’t is amazing that our kids end up teaching us so many incredible life lessons as well? Thanks for sharing your beautiful post with #bigpinklink

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  4. you got me choked up! i spent so many years dreaming of motherhood and the mother i thought id be, stating i would not dare be the type of mother family members were… but unfortunately I see them in me and I hate it.
    I try to give Ben all the attention in the world but I’m always so exhausted from working long hours that im happy to let him sit and play alone whilst i do other things. But thats part of parenthood and aslong as he is still happy and healthy i guess thats all that matters #globalblogging

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  5. susielhawes

    Ah such a good post! I worry I am not patient enough and worry too much about ness etc and don’t play enough, but I am a fun mum too (sometimes)! I’m trying to be less hard on myself. Because my daughter thinks I’m pretty awesome and that’s ok! #Bigpinklink

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  6. Pingback: #StayClassyMama Link Up No 53 - White Camellias

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