So it turns out mothers have been feeling guilty for way longer than I thought. That they have been judging themselves as parents for decades. Weirdly I figured it was something that my generation of mothers invented. There’s this scene in the second episode of This Is Us that made me think of all of this. The show has only just started screening and I’m already sucked in good. There’s something comforting about watching a show that genuinely makes you feel good, connected, real. That when the world feels messy and crumbly and anxiety can make you feel lost, switching off is sometimes the way to feel balanced. A decent, non reality television show can do this for me. It’s a show that is both funny and sad. Punchy and beautifully written and, sweet relief the characters are normal and relatable. I need wine when I’m watching Four Corners but watching This Is Us is all tea and toast. I had a similar relationship to Offspring. So anyway, in this scene, Rebecca (mother to triplets) questions Jack (husband, father) how they are going at parenting. “Hey how do you think we are doing, so far, at parenting? Because I think we are at a six. On a sliding scale of one through to ten, I think we are at a six, and I think I’m being a generous.” She then goes on to jokingly (but not really joking) say that she’d like to get to a nine. She thinks this because the kids are cute and they deserve “nine” type parents.
On a scale of 1 to 10, today I’m probably a 5. Last week I was closer to an 8. That’s because last week we went to Dreamworld. It’s hard not to be an 8 when you take the kid to a theme park for the day.
All of this reminded me of a recent conversation Charlie and I had. Now he’s nearly four so our conversations are wildly funny, often make no sense and yet almost always feel like they are the best type of conversations. My favourite conversations with people are those that stop me in my tracks. Charlie says some crazy, beautiful, funny shit, he also has the capacity to make me stop and be still. On this particular day, he asked me “Mummy, who made me?” Now, if I was being completely honest I would have said something along the lines of a fertility specialist, a scientist, a half a dozen nurses, Kirsty my acupuncturist, a spiritual healer, a hypnotherapist, a nutritionist, a husband and about $60K” (no I’m not kidding) But instead I replied “Mummy and Daddy”. His response? “Good job Mummy”. I wonder then what rating he would give me out of ten? I’m about to start appraisals at work, so I figured it’s been a long time since I’ve been appraised for my job, I might as well, through Charlie’s eyes, give myself a performance review…
Job Knowledge – 6/10. Considering I never thought I’d fall pregnant much less actually have a baby I think a 6 is okay. I was too busy trying to fall pregnant to actually research the job description so it’s all been on the job learning. I’d hazard a guess that I’d be closer to an 8/10 if I could tell the difference between an excavator and a digger. I did spend the first 12 months googling “baby, naps, sleep, wake times” so I could write a book and call it “how to send yourself crazy obsessing about baby sleep patterns” and call myself a freaking expert.
Attitude and willingness to learn – Attitude is highly dependent on the time of the day. 7am and I’m a 9 out of 10. 7pm and if I’m honest it’s closer to a 3. Don’t judge me unless you’ve tried to get a 3 1/2 year old to bed on time and nailed it every single time. Ridiculous. Willingness to learn is subjective. How important is knowing the difference between an excavator and a digger and how the hell does my nearly four year old know what a telescopic boom is?
Time Management – A bit hard to say since the kid and I operate in different time zones. I’m easily a 7 but since the toddler operates on Fiji time he’d rate me closer to a 3. I do hate that I am in a state of perpetual rush. My toddler thinks walking down the stairs should be choreographed and everyday he has a different move. I swear I’d be on time more often if we removed the stairwell.
Quality of work – 5/10. Higher if I saw more value in the importance of dancing, jumping, hopping, sliding and skipping down the stairs instead of, you know, walking.
Presentation – Largely dependent on the state of my regrowth. Fresh hair = shiny, bright mother of the year outfits. Bad hair = is that banana or snot on my shirt? Does this shit matter? No. Do I still care? Yes.
Areas needing improvement – Art and bloody craft. I loathe it. I try, I really do but nothing I ever do is worthy of being pinned on Pinterest and I have conniptions when I think of the mess and yet oddly I love glitter, confetti and all manner of sparkling shit. I approach play doh and painting with vague horror. One could say my attitude to art and craft needs significant improvement. I should however get extra points for turning broccoli mash into dinosaur poo in a bid to get him to eat something green. Where I know I really need to improve is to let him dance, jump, hop, slide and skip whenever he bloody well likes because what else is the point?
Strengths – That I love him with perfect clarity.
Looking back on these, none of them really matter except of course the one that should always matter to each of us. What is our strength? Mine was easy to answer. That I love him with perfect clarity.
That is all.