So it’s Mothers Day. I hate Mothers Day.
I hate the picture of motherhood that shows a nice neat mum smiling beatifically on worming medication or holding hands with her family while wearing a white t-shirt and jeans and running on the beach. I don’t do that. I don’t know any mums who do that shit.
I’m the angry mum sitting in the car. I’m the bored mum sitting in school assembly. I’m the drunk mum at the family barbecue. I love my kids but frankly being a mum didn’t complete me.
I don’t define myself by the fruit of my vagina. I’m not a picture of a mum on Instagram in a boho dress at the farmers market with long-haired surfie kids called Wolf and Phoenix wearing white singlets and shell necklaces. When did we start styling our kids? How do these hipster mums get their kids to wear necklaces?
It started with that stupid amber bead bullshit. By the way. Amber beads are amber beads; don’t do anything for teething pain. Next time you have a migraine why don’t you try sucking on an amber bead and compare that to the effectiveness of a Nurofen?
I thought the cult of Mum would decline, that it would start to tell a more ‘real’ story so that women wouldn’t beat up on themselves about their failure to parent. Or at least look like the pictures of parenting. But I think it’s got worse. These days mums have to be up at 4am to handcraft sushi rolls to put in the $100 stainless-steel lunchbox. Their kids’ birthday parties have to be crafted by artisans. All the dads have to have beards. And flannie shirts. It’s mandatory.
The other day I saw a group on Facebook for mums who call themselves ‘Baby Wearers’. Yep. They all wear their babies and meet in the park and talk about why they’re better than other mums who don’t wear their babies. Wow, that must be a fun group to belong to. I was a baby wearer. And I didn’t do it because I was into ‘attachment’ parenting. I did it because I didn’t have a car. I had to wear the baby so I could carry my wine home from the bottle shop.
So I thought with Mothers Day approaching I might confess my top ten mother sins. This is the stuff you won’t see on Instagram.
1. I have spent my kids’ birthday money. And I didn’t pay it back. I thought I would, but I never got around to it. I mean when the pot dealer comes around and wants their $50 you have to pay them. I did it for child safety.
2. I smoked weed while I breast fed. I eventually gave up, but my first kid was supped on stoner milk. She still can’t add up but weirdly she knows what a pound is.
3. I have put more kids in the car than I have seat belts. Yep. That’s right, I’m a seatbelt outlaw.
4. I have knowingly sent my kid to school with nits. I’ve seen one crawling on the child’s head and I put a hat on it.
5. I’ve given a ‘gluten-intolerant’ child visitor a wheat-based snack and nothing happened. I lied to the mum and said my banana bread was gluten free. It wasn’t. It had heaps of gluten in it. The kid had two slices.
6. I’ve lied to get out of canteen. I said I had a staph infection in my finger and I was worried I’d infect the whole school. Truth was I had a hangover.
7. Once when Zoe licked a battery and asked ‘Will I die?’ I said ‘Yes, probably’, and she had a full-blown panic attack. I don’t know what happened that day; the compassion pantry was empty. At nearly 22 she still can’t touch batteries. I’ve given her a proper phobia. I did that. Me.
8. I have forgotten to pick up every one of my kids from school at some point in their life. They’re the ones you see waiting on their own looking forlorn. I don’t know what happened. It’s like I had sudden-onset breeding dementia.
9. I have begged my kids not to do their homework because I couldn’t be stuffed helping them.
10. When the kids were small I made them watch The Ring with me because I was scared. I said it was a kids’ film because there was a girl in it. They were all traumatised.
11. I have cried to guilt my kids and get my own way. Unfortunately emotional manipulation stops working when they’re teenagers. Unless they’re men.
12. I never stick to my own rules. When I say last chance, there are always a lot more because I couldn’t be bothered following through. So I’m hardly going to stick to 10.
So there it is. Happy Mothers Day. You’re probably not the best mum in the world. But you’re all your kids will ever know.