Supermum. Best Mum Ever. Fantastic Mum. Who, me?
As I browse card displays, I grow increasingly dismayed. I am not any of these mums. All the superlatives and hyperboles leave me feeling wretched. What is “super” about never starting the school run without a last minute shoutathon? What is fantastic about never being able to give my children all the attention they want – with three, something I feel I can never achieve?
My mum is fantastic, for sure. It’s a card for her that I’m looking for, obviously, and I could pick any one of the bunch for her. But just reading all those captions, however jocular they may be, makes me feel inadequate. Yes, I can drink a fair amount of gin and / or prosecco – something which features as a positive mummy point on several humour cards – but can I really stack up to be a “Supermum” as many cards depict? What does that even mean? If there are “normal mums” and “supermums”. I’d be quite happy to be classed as the former. But am I even doing that right?
Year-round, I get very little feedback from my children on what sort of mum I am. All of them, at the respective ages of 9, 7 and 4, are going through a phase (it is a phase, right?) of refusing kisses and kicking off cuddles. They don’t like the food I give them, so cupboard love is out. So where do I actually feature in their love charts? Short of giving them Tangfastics and mini sausages morning, noon and night, I’m not sure how I’m going to qualify as Best Mum Ever.
I take them to rugby, but not to Kumon. I read them one chapter, but not two. I remember most of their kit, but not always all. I can listen to two at a time, but not three. I try and use my ‘calm but firm’ mummy voice, but the shouts still break out.
But the point is, it’s Mother’s Day. The one day a year where it is not up to us, the mothers, to decide whether we are good mums or not. And thank goodness for that. I judge myself to bits all year round and alway come up wanting. But this Sunday, I’m going to leave the verdict to the people who surely are the only ones who can give a verdict on whether I’m a “fantastic” mum or not – my children.*
*Even if they are a little coerced by daddy / school / nursery.