Some days I watch my kids and just for a moment, I feel a warm glow, a sense of, "I am doing a good job..."
I took the kids through the drive-thru for lunchtime McD's (hey I aint no nutritional saint) and we headed to a local playground.
I slip-slop-slapped them very diligently and then stood and watched them play and interact with others.
This particular park has a push-train mounted on a concrete rail. Kids can cling to it from all sides and one or two lucky ones get to push...
Somehow my two big kids become the train-pushers. They plonked their little brother in the drivers seat and whizzed him around the track. More kids wanted a turn. I watched with a sense of pride as they slowed the train and enquired, "Do you want a turn??" and diplomatically found a place for the kids standing waiting.
I think my mother-pride would have been visible from outer space as I watched them; I fairly glowed with it.
Then disaster... as if from nowhere I spotted a tiny toddler leaning with both his wee hands on the concrete track... the train was nearly upon him but the train-pusher couldn't see him at all...
"Stop!" I tried to call.
"Stop!" other voices echoed.
"STOOOPPPP!!!" I shrieked as I ran...
Just in the nick of time the thundering engine ground to a halt and the little lad's fingers were pulled away by a man standing closer than I was.
It was sickening how close he came to losing his hands.
Then up strolled his calm smiling mother, not bothered at all... "Come on little one," she said cheerfully, without seeming to care how close her kid just came to being a double amputee; not noticing the horror on the faces of all those who witnessed the near-accident. Oh I was so tempted to judge right then.
I mean if that had been my kid, I would have been shaking and in tears, not laughing. But that's just me. And I am trying really really hard not to judge. Oh who am I kidding? I was totally judging her.
So full of my glowy pride-in-my-cooperative-offspring and their lovely playground manners...
So tempted to sit on my pride in the jury box on this mother who came so close to disaster and didn't seem to care...
But I am the LAST person who can sit in judgement on another mother. She who is without sin cast the first stone, right?
Because I have my days, oh yes I do.
Just ask anyone who has had to live with me for longer than a bank-holiday weekend.
Some days, like today, I have a glimpse of the good stuff inside my kids. Stuff I can be proud of and take credit for.
When my kids go away from home, all I get are glowing reports of nice manners and respectful behaviour. I may not always reap the benefits myself, but they do me proud out in the wider world.
But other days when they are scrappy and argumentative, cheeky and ill-mannered... that's my responsibility too. On those days it's so easy to feel like a bad mother.
My husband reminds me, "Don't listen to those negative voices..." but it's so hard not to, right?
I admit it, I tend towards the lazy side of life. If there's a chance for procrastination, I'll probably take it. If I can find an easier way or a simpler recipe, it will become my new modus operandi.
Yes, I like to blog. Yes, I love to read. Of course I'd rather watch a movie than dust or iron! And I tend to get a bit lost in what I'm doing... a bit pre-occupied, a little absentminded and forgetful... and
Yes I get frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, grumpy and growly... I have days when tripping over a shoe lying in the hallway is the straw that broke the camel's back.
I have days when noise overwhelms me and I have to hide in my room. I have days when I cry for no reason at all, where I am overly sensitive and easily upset.
Yep, some days it sucks to be my kid. Some days it sucks to be me. Depression sucks. Who needs it? Man, I would snap out of it if I could.
But does that mean I am a bad mother? Are they malnourished? Uncared for? Do my kids feel unloved?
If they did, why do they leap into my bed every morning and wrap their little bods around me? Why does my two-year-old smother me with kisses and say "You da best mum!"?? Why is he the happiest most content little guy on Planet Earth if I am doing such a bad job? Why does my eight-year-old boy confide in me and have in-depth conversations about the deeper things in life? Why does my little girl say that she is going to have a house right around the corner from me when she grows up so she can visit me all the time?
This is what I need to remind myself.
So here I am reminding myself.
I am not a bad mother.
I am not a perfect mother either.
But my kids are healthy, happy and know they are loved. They have confidence, they are well liked and they know how to laugh.
I am doing OK.
In spite of everything.
PS: Photos taken at the same park but on a different day: Coyle Park Pt Chevalier, a lovely beach side playground with a view of the harbour bridge :)