I’m not perfect (and neither are you but I’ll get to you later). It’s taken me a while to learn this lesson, especially the ‘you’ part, because ‘you’ look so perfect over there and if nothing else, I’m an expert at judging myself against others. I can be a bit slow on the uptake (pretty sure I’m still sporting 2009’s hair-do), I’m hindered by the all too debilitating curse of self-criticism, and my journey into motherhood and raising three precious souls has probably been too swift for me to catch my breath and see things for what they are; impeccably imperfect.
I’m genuinely not good at some aspects of being a mum – don’t be alarmed, I’m ok with admitting this. I rock Creative Tuesdays like nobody’s business, I sing and dance like the fifth Wiggle, and my impersonations during story book reading will possibly go down as some of my children’s favourite memories. Not to be shunned is my prowess at getting three under three strapped into the car in three minutes (it is totally possible, but ill-advised more than once a week due to potential for aneurism). Ooh, and I can be wearing a baby and assemble the two seater pram from the boot of the car in the time it takes you to say Bugaboo (no, I don’t have a Bugaboo, they’re way too cool for me and don’t go with my 2009 bob type side swept thing). The creative stuff flows easily for me. The organic, home-baked, calm talking, fruit cutting, television limiting, tantrum diffusing, child inclusive, enriching experiences stuff does not, and I have struggled to come to terms with this.
I watch some of my friends interact with their juniors and simultaneously feel guilty as all hell for not being more like them with my own brood, and genuinely inspired by their gentle, unhurried tone that says ‘yes little gorgeous person, I’m here, I’m listening, you are important.’ I get caught up, lost, tangled in my own needs to quickly finish this email without being harassed for bickies, or hang out that last load of washing without tiny, excited helping hands passing me clothes, or drive to the post office without answering the endless questions about who’s blue car that is, and where they’re going, and why they’re going there, and what will they do when they’re finished… it is truly exhausting, and I know that this is a universal sentiment (according to the rest of the kinder mums anyway). I remind myself that these years are fleeting and there will come a time when I’ll wish for the days when their need for me and desire for my attention was so great that it was in fact their only mission in life. But too often I’m guilty of forgetting this. Some moments with my three darlings are so terrifically intense that I almost implode and turn into a banshee, screeching ‘I have nothing left to give you!’ (Maybe the real lesson here is to spend less time giving, and more time being…)
Don’t get me wrong, this week we made a fabulously glittered egg carton caterpillar and tonight we choreographed a dance to an Aladdin song, but I wish I could be good at more things for their benefit. I wish I could be perfect, for them, and I suspect that as a parent, you do too. But I’m not perfect, and I’m trying to learn that this is alright. A person far wiser than me once suggested we not confuse our ambitions with our abilities, and whilst I’m a great ambassador for learning about oneself, it does appear that the more time I worry about what I’m not, is time that I’m not being me. Maybe, just maybe, if I can get this theory through my noggin I might be able to empower my babes with the understanding and importance of being you, and that you are perfect, in your perfect little way.
As parents (and people) we each have our strengths, and while some mamas might be the proud owners of the patience gene, or the double whammy of tantrum expert + home-baker, we’re not blessed with every kind of wonderful, and at the end of the day, most of us have spent a good portion of it just keeping our heads above water (probably even you over there who I think is so amazeballs).
None of us can be good at everything. Ever. At anything in life. (Although this shiny golden knowledge doesn't seem to be curbing my desire to have it all, know it all, be it all, WANT it all!) And, more importantly, we’re going to get it wrong, in fact, that’s kind of the point… So when my darlings reach their teens and I fondly remember the chubby hands reaching for the one odd sock, or my little girl’s insatiable thirst for information (probably now craving her to ask my opinion on anything), or missing the tender pleads for ‘mummy can I have a bickie, puhleeeeze?’, I will hopefully have the insight, and the hindsight to see that Aladdin’s jig (which we now recite every Christmas because it’s so hilarious and excellent) and that glittery caterpillar is my gift to them, and the other stuff I continued to learn to about whilst not screwing them up. Hopefully, when I’m old and wise, I will be comfortable in the knowledge that just because you’re good at something doesn't mean I should be, and that being the imperfect, all-loving/dancing/singing/creating/dorky hair-do'd mama is just fine.