With a short (but welcome) burst of school and kinder again this week, I’ve found myself taking stock of my winning and non-so-winning moments these school holidays.
Let’s start with my great moments – the ones where I was patient, creative and engaged with the children. I baked with them (to be honest, it was more for them than with them). I painted and crafted with them (and then finished their projects when they got bored and drifted off). I took them to the library, to live theatre and the movies. I spent a whole day making over their bedroom until it was fit for the pages of a glossy coffee table magazine. I even strapped my bewildered feet into ice skates for the first time ever, in a surprise mother-daughter bonding session.
Looks pretty impressive on paper, doesn’t it?
But in the interests of transparency, I’ll also share some of my not-so-great moments. Such as the three days straight where it rained pretty much constantly, and the puppy crapped and pissed in the house a lot. On those days, the children fought and sulked, I yelled (even though I realise it’s not cool), and frequently resorted to eating chocolate hiding behind the pantry door. To be honest, I was a bit of a grumpy cow.
And what made my mood even more morose was that all of my friends seemed to be doing interesting, fun-looking stuff on Facebook and Instagram. I wondered why I was stuck in a funk at home, while everyone else was (apparently) exploring Melbourne and revelling in their children’s company?
Social media can be a bugger like that at times. Like when you’ve just stepped backwards into a puddle of urine (again) and thrown the dishcloth dramatically across the kitchen and bellowed WHY IS THE DOG INSIDE THE HOUSE AGAIN? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER TAKES HER OUTSIDE FOR A WEE!!? At times like this, it can seem like everyone is a more creative, proactive and fun parent than you.
But looking back on those grumpy cow moments, I’ve decided to cut myself a bit of slack, because the truth is that being in charge of little people doesn’t always make for a relaxing, uplifting experience. At times it can be exhausting and (is it okay to say this?) pretty boring. I’m just not that into hide and seek. Or playing memory match, with the house a veritable pigsty around me. Does that make me a crap parent?
What I suspect is that everyone has their crap parent moments. We all lose the plot now and again, and say things we regret as soon as the words are out of our mouth (even the most excruciatingly patient, earth-mother types). It’s just that we generally don’t broadcast them on social media.
And in the parenting stakes, I’m pretty sure it’s okay to be a bit crap now and then. We’re human, after all.
So next time you read that blog post – from the amazing, inspiring tree change family who live in the idyllic farmhouse and gather organic vegetables, which they cook in their rustic kitchen and eat at their hand-crafted, reclaimed timber dining table every night … just imagine what doesn’t make it into the blog.
Like maybe sometimes the children refuse to wear the romantic gumboots and be photographed picking berries, and instead chuck an enormous tantrum and demand to play on their mother’s iphone, which she is constantly shoving in their face at every instagramable opportunity.
You’ve got to admit – it’s kind of fun to conjure up.