One of the difficulties that I sometimes struggle with having chronic illness is perceiving myself as less than a good mum. Society is full of messages and images that tell you what a good mum should look like: Organised, time-management-sorted, creative, beautiful, healthy. Baking with the delightful children, doing things with glitter, playing educational games, taking them to educational and fun places, talking deeply with them every night after bedtime stories and taking them to all manner of after school activities. And then there's overseeing the spiritual, emotional and physical development and wellbeing. And this is only by Monday.
Now, I am sure there are mums out there who manage this on a regular basis. But the rest of us are only human, and do such things when we can, but often as not the mere thought of glitter has us shoving the TV remote at the darling children. Adventure Girl loves crafty stuff and has a near daily cry of 'mum, can we get the clay/glue/paint/glitter/sequins/moonsand/insert random messy craft material stuff out?' And me, being of only small energy, generally says in a weary tone 'another time' or 'ask daddy'. Adventure Boy, thankfully, is of much more a technological mindset and a day spent on Club Penguin would be his ideal. No mess to clear up there (well apart from the 'Puffle food' which seems to be large sheets of paper ripped up into - well, small ones, which are then liberally distributed round the house for the puffles to eat - but that's another story.)
And of course, this computer use only brings into play the 'screen time' guilt. Has Adventure Boy spent too much time on the computer today? Probably. So I try and restrict it and have screen time rules. Sometimes.
All in all, I'm not always the most consistent and organised of mothers, and don't sit and play with the adventurous pair after school every day.
So imagine my relief when coming across Good Enough Mother. With the first lines of the description of this book going like this:
For every woman who's passed off store-bought cakes as her own at the school bake sale comes an honest look at motherhood.
In an ideal world, mothers would have time to hand-sew their kids' costumes for the school play, prepare all-organic meals, and volunteer in the classroom at the drop of a hat. In reality, most moms have to settle for plopping their little ones in front of SpongeBob so that they can prepare yet another chicken nugget-based dinner, guiltily convinced they're falling down on the job.
Yes! Finally, an admission that life is like this. And actually, that that can be Good Enough. Parenting is not only about the amount of stuff we can do with our children. It's so much more than that. Being a loving mum is about doing just that; loving. Children won't necessarily remember all the visits to worthy museums so much as the ethos of love and fun in their family. If I can give my adventurous ones something of this in their lives then I am good enough. Yay!!