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Am I A Bad Mum, Or Just Busy?

A couple of things have happened recently that have made me wonder if I’m a bad mum.

I’m not being completely fair on myself – I think I’m actually a pretty OK mum most of the time and I even have my moments when my parenting might actually be considered quite good. Not including the moment this morning when Elfie found it appropriate to whack me on the derriere, of course.

But take last Wednesday, for instance. I turned up as normal to Hux’s nursery, popped him in the arms of his favourite carer with a kiss and a “bye bye, love you, see you later” only to be confronted with hugely confused faces. Because Hux doesn’t go to nursery on Wednesdays – he never has. Wednesdays are a pre-school day, in the next village along. Oops.

You think I would have learnt the first time I did this.

Then there was the time that Elfie threw an unfamiliar pair of knickers into the laundry basket. “Where did these come from?” I asked her. Apparently Miss L had to put them on her because she’d gone to school with no underwear on.

That was the last time she was allowed to dress herself.

And then there was the evening she came home from school to proudly show me the book she’d taken to read with her teacher that day:

1208307_350614545098552_860969226_nOh.

But you see, the things I have realized is that the symptoms of being a bad mum seem to be very similar to the symptoms of being a very busy working single mum. Yes, we might dash out the door without their/our coats once in a while or end up having to scribble on the back of an envelope in lieu of the required permission slip that got lost in last week’s ‘to do’ pile… but that’s part and parcel of working 11 hour days, isn’t it?

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The key is finding the balance. When I worked for myself it was always really hard to turn off and pay attention to the kids once they were at home. Now, I know that between the hours of 6 and 7.30 we have dedicated family time and that is the most important part of the day. The weekends are even more precious so we try to do stuff as a family; swimming, seeing friends, cooking a big old roast then settling down to watch a film together.

But then there’s  nothing balanced about our mental morning routine, scrambling to find recorders, book bags, water bottles and, erm, the correct knickers, before jumping in the car. I like turning up to work looking vaguely human so need to spend three minutes slapping makeup on and sorting my hair out so we always end up legging it out the door ten minutes late. Then there’s me checking I locked the front door twice and returning once more to make sure I turned my hair straighteners off.

I’m sure this stress could be eradicated by getting up 30 minutes earlier but I literally can’t speak before 6.30am and monster mummy is no fun for anyone.

So for now I will just wear my ‘I’m not a bad mum, just a single working one’ tshirt and hope the rest of the world understands.

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View Comments (23)
  • Hilarious post! I really shouldn’t be laughing at the no knickers and the Bar Hunt book but hey I am… sounds to me like you’re a great Mum, life sounds hectic but fun! Don’t beat yourself up, I need to tell myself that often too.. being a working Mum is a tough ride.

    A x

  • Oh, forgot to add, I do the hair-straighteners checking thing too, ha ha. I even once phoned the house land-line ‘just to make sure’ as in some twisted logic a working land-line = house still standing!

  • This reminds me of the advert for baby food formula – you’re doing great.

    I forget things and put cornflakes box back in the fridge and other silly mistakes, and I’m a 21 yr old working part time with no kids! It’s part of being human. Keep going, you’re doing great.

  • Totally not a bad mum. My little girl has been to pre-school several times with her brother’s old pants on. I sometimes say, ‘Oh, it’s because she want to be like her brothers’. Why I don’t know as I know fine well that the the pre-school staff are fully aware it is actually because three kids, working from home, busy, busy blah blah means that once again the washing did not get done or if it did, it did not make it to the dryer before it started smelling damp and I had to start the whole process all over again! Good mum all the way, I see it as teaching them great life skills – if you want clean underwear (or indeed any underwear) learn to use the washing machine. 3 isn’t too young for laundry is it????

    • I loved this comment – I have taught my kids to ferry their clothes too and from the washing machine/laundry basket!

      And I regularly send Hux to nursery with his sister’s vests on because she has more than he does and his never seem to be clean. This is usually fine, but then I noticed one day this week that you could see the bow under the slightly lower neck of his tshirt. Oops!!

  • The hunt for all the gubbins they need is very fair. I’m beginning to think that I need a separate diary with all the things that D needs in it. He’s busier and needs more stuff on a daily basis than I do! Latest discovery is that he needs money for a show tomorrow (well, today I guess). I didn’t realise until I looked through his book bag last night.

    I can’t even blame work.

  • Love the book! Need to get a copy! As a teacher, I can honestly say that every student shares “special things” about their parents, sometimes in conversation or, in the case of my daughter, in her journal. Maybe if we were more immersed in the reality pics: messy rooms, laundry piles, dishes piled in the sink, deep grass, gas tank gauges on empty, tally sheets of all the times we raced out of the house, forgotten lunches on the counter, empty fridges, messy hair, no make up……we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves as mothers! Instead we are buried in nuclear family pics, rooms perfectly decorated, people in clean clothes. dining tables set with family china, perfectly executed birthday parties…….hey thats what I share too!!!! There is nothing glamorous about the realities of parenting, At the end of day, I am so thankful that I have two sweet kids that call me Mommy and your joy to be a mom shows in each and every photo! You’re doing it right, and underwear is overrated anyway lol!

  • I am SOOO glad I am not the only one that has done this. My two go to nursery on a tuesday together and I have taken them both on the wrong days before. I have forgotten to put boxers on Buba and him crying for 45 mins to where ever we were going before I realized he was trying to tell me all along all just because I try to fit it all in. Everyday, just me running around with my head cut off is how I feel. Mr P gets home late after it’s all said and done. but from wake up to eye closed its up to me to accomplish the to do lists and work and clean so I can so relate to this on so many levels. I felt for a while that I was being a bad mommy. I still think that sometimes but how can anyone do so much and still give the kids 100% attention. Can we still blame baby brain or we definitely out of that phase now???

    • It’s gotten to the point where I have a list by the front door that tells me where each child is on each day of the week and whether or not they need me to make them a lunch to take with them.

      Running around with your head cut off is about right ;)

      I’m claiming baby brain until they’re at least 16!! x

  • I mixed pick up times the other week, it turned out to be early pick up with no lunch club so my yves was wondering why mummy took a long time…. Brain waffle! Lack of sleep…. Or at least I think so. I usually run out of time to brush hair, three sets of long girls hair is an effort early in the morning when running late, we just rock the “effortless chic look” ;)

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