Saturday, 12 May 2012

I’m not a perfect mother


On the day before Mother’s Day, I just want so say
I’m not a perfect mother.
I’ve changed nappies by the thousands
I’ve breast-fed for 42 months
I’ve lost hundreds of hours of sleep.

Because I was a young mum, I didn’t totally dedicate my life to my children
I kept on studying and trying to find a job that I enjoy.
I never really felt like I fitted in with the older mums,
Who seemed to have it all together.
I couldn’t relate to their conversations about house decorations, new cars and shopping sprees.

I had depression.
I probably had depression before I had my babies
I definitely had it after
On and off.

I’ve been an okay mother for some of the time.
I bought them nice toys and set up play areas
I took them for walks and to the play-ground
I read lots of books to them and gave them massages and cuddles
And tickled them to sleep.

I tried to do it all with little support.
Their dad was good at playing with them
But didn’t really do much of the practical things.
My emotional tank was empty to start with
I think sometimes I got it to a quarter full
But it would usually empty pretty quickly.

So I studied.
I worked.
I worked and studied and gave what emotional resources I still had left.
I tried to keep my marriage alive, offering to go to courses, begging to have time together, setting up motel stays that were simply rejected because he had other more exciting things to do and he made me feel guilty for ‘making him’ marry too young.

Leaving the marriage wasn’t easy. I didn’t take it lightly.
It looked like I left it for another man but really the marriage had been long over and the other man became the motivation I needed to make the move.
But I didn’t think about how to make it work for the children.
How can it ever work for them, really?

So I’m not a perfect mother.
I’m trying to create a warm and welcoming space
In a house that’s too small, in a relationship that’s still insecure
In many ways
While I try and finish my studies and make a living,
To pay for their school fees, their clothes, their activities and the foods they like to eat. And I keep loving them, whether they believe me or not.

I’m not a perfect mother. But who is?