29 December 2010

Good Mother...? Bad Mother...?

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..."

Like today.
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 too many some days my kids watch too much TV...

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?
Gosh no.

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 :)

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Sarah @ Catching the Magic said...

Oh, sob! This brought a tear to my eye! So beautifully written and I am positive every mother reading this can totally relate to everything you've said with a nod and, 'Oooo, yes, that's just like me.'

And the photographs! Wow! Loving the new camera in action :)

Jen said...

you are doing a good job
you are a great mum

accidents happen and thankfully there was enough people in the right place at the right time and it didnt happen
maybe the mother didnt see
or maybe she was just relieved it didnt happen

depression does suck big time
the only reason I dont cry all afternoon is I am on meds
they keep on a even keel

the ex would like to think that I am a bad mother, that our son (my youngest)is malnourished and uncared for - weve gone to court about this very thing and I have day to day care of him
what does that tell you :)

your 2 year old is so cute
and so RIGHT :)

hang in there
take one day at a time
and believe in yourself :)

Anonymous said...

Well, IMO, the kids pushing that train should actually have been looking out for the little ones.It's a toddlers' toy train, not designed for big kids. If the big kids want to push little kids around fast, they need to be responsible also. I don't think you need to judge that mother, who was letting her kid play in a toddler's playground after all.

Simoney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simoney said...

Ahhh Anonymous, isn't it funny how you always offer an opinion without leaving a name??

Leslie said...

It seems to me that you are doing a great job mom!!
We all have our good and bad mother momentts.. but we do the best we can.

Oh my gosh.. your pictures make me want to go outside, run through the grass, feel the warm sun on my face ~ as I look out of my window at this cold grey day ~ NOT!
Have a great 2011.

Jenny said...

YAY, I'm number 300!!! Hope I've made your day :o) Sorry it didn't happen before Christmas but now you can enter 2011 knowing that you have reached the golden number!!!

I have often read your blog before, don't know why I wasn't already following? Anyway, great post, you had me on the edge of my seat about the toddler whose hands nearly got run over! I can't believe the mother wouldn't have realised how disastrous it could have been.

From what I've seen of your blog, I can tell you are an amazing mum. You might not be perfect (who is?) but you are the perfect mum for your kids :o)

Kathleen said...

You are so very amazing, Simoney - and your kids are just delicious :)

We all have our days - and even so, that flicker of judgement is natural in someone who has beautiful little people of their own, even if you don't want it to be there. Perhaps she really didn't see what had happened from where she was - and wasn't looking around at the shocked crowd? (I'm going to be optimistic and go with that...and thankfully the disaster was averted so all is well!)

BEAUTIFUL pictures - lovely, lovely, lovely :) I hope today is a wonderful day for you! xx

Johnny said...

I totally know what you are talking about.
The train situation just was an example of how easily we can let ourselves get worked up about the role we play in our childrens lives. The fact that you are willing to admit to not being a perfect mum (and I know some who think they are) is the first thing that tells me you ARE a good mum. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes but recognising where we need to improve upon is the first, probably most important step...and now I sound like a self help book.
Anon - I somehow think you were missing the point of this post??

Lyns said...

Well, in my opinion...you are an awesome Mum. Maybe not perfect (who is???), but hey look at your kids - they are pretty special.
That park looks great - we almost went there the other day. xx

PaisleyJade said...

Such a great post Simone - cracking up at the infamous anonymous commenter. Things happen like this - so thankful for that quick thinking guy. Just about every time we go to a park there are dramas or tears... and usually my kids are involved! (maybe I'm too busy crocheting ;)

Shell said...

First of all, that is an AWESOME park!

It's so very easy to sit in judgement of another mom b/c we witness one incident. But, we never know what else is going on and we all have our moments.

That mom at the park...could so easily be me. With my three little ones- I am constantly looking from one to the next to the next and back again, but that means that there are seconds that I don't have my eyes on each one as I'm scanning for another.

Or, in other cases, I know I'm judged for a child who seems to not hear me- those watching aren't aware of his issues and that he can't process what I'm saying. That it's not him being bad.

I could really go on and on and make this its own blog post.

We're all just doing the best we can, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

Found your blog via SITS Girls. Great post, I have to tell myself the same things quite often. My son is healthy, happy and very loved, therefore, I must be doing something right! Thanks for the reminder!

Losing Brownies said...

My heart lept out of my chest a bit when I read about how a bunch of responsible parents helped that little guy out. I would probably be all judgey too, it's hard not to in that situation... but you make a good point none of us are perfect.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I loved reading this post. You are so talented at putting into words how so many of us feel! So so So true re "I may not always reap the benefits myself, but they do me proud out in the wider world"!!! I find the same thing with Minx. And that is how it should be - if your children are as near to be perfect as they can be out in the big wide world and then spit the dummy when they get home, that means you are doing a fantastic job. The home is their safe place to fall where they can express their frustrations, hurts and tribulations.

And depression aside, children can make you wonder whether you are losing your mind as the very second you feel like you're doing a good job something so often comes out that makes you lose the plot! But children are so forgiving so as long we care for the them, love them and tell them we love them they will be fine. Yes they will probably be damaged (no one is perfect - we are all flawed), but they will be okay so long as they know they are loved; know that you don't have to be perfect to love and be loved. :)

unsolicitedious said...

P.s Can I just say re the Mum of the near-amputee toddler, perhaps her reaction was actually shock? She may have felt sick inside but not brave enough to remind the older kids to be mindful of that littlies play in the playground too so just as a way to cover her nervousness/shock up? Things like that can easily escalate into a confrontational situation as most parents are instinctively protective, but there are many people who would rather die than be caught up in such circumstances.

As for the comment by Anonymous - nameless comments are so irksome aren't they! The term "troll" always springs to my mind! But I think they raise a fair point albeit probably inaccurate....is it actually a toddler's playground? Looks like it would have your usual under 14 years age limit? End of the day it was just one of those things that can happen and I think it was a brilliant way for you to draw on how we all judge and how none of us are perfect! ;)

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