About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Supermums

They are a dangerous breed, and they are spreading!
Not just the mums who can have it all and make it look easy, but those who do all that and have lovely children who are well adjusted and confident.
For probably obvious reasons I try to keep those out of my "inner circle" and in an ideal world I would like to surround myself only with people who are as wonky as me.
But it doesn't always work like that, as I discovered yesterday when I met up with two friends and their children.
I thought we could bond over the general pants-ness of parenting at times, while our children could play happily together (or stop one step short of killing each other...).
I thought Tash would enjoy the company and we could enjoy a chat.
I ended up wrong on most counts!
Tash found it all a bit overwhelming (am trying to remind myself that this is why she has started at the childminder's) and in truth, so did I, as my glamerous and organised friends discussed everything from potty-training to education.
That sounds bitter, I know, and it's not meant to but I just felt completely inadequate as my daughter clung to my legs while their children played confidently.
Mine threw balls around - theirs understood the word gentle and complied immediately.
To be fair, some of them were older than Tash but even the younger one was displaying skills Tash has not yet mastered.
I did not see this as a reflection on her, but on me and my parenting skills, which must surely be lacking if she is uncomfortable in such a situation.
And the fact that they both had more children than me and more to deal with than me, PND aside, made me feel completely useless.
I did discuss it with one of them afterwards who pointed out that behind closed doors she too has meltdown moments and feels like the worst mother ever. But in public she can put on a brave face - even among friends.
That's something I still need to master - or do I? Maybe that would be another way of pretending mental illness doesn't exist and at least by carrying on as I am I'm being true to myself.
In other news, was anyone else as depressed as me by the Cambridge study that showed most people think working mums (albeit full timers) damage family life? No one bothers to ask what we think of working dads!
And my dates with my husband were lovely - hurrah!
x

3 comments:

Kate said...

well, i might be a bit biased but i think Tash is lovely and you are a very good mum. i think this not because Tash is a perfect child and you are a perfect Mum but because you are both interesting and have personality, and you are able to adapt to what she and you need; which in turn you are teaching her. So there. Lovely to see you and the little devil at the weekend.

me-again said...

I think one key may be that, from reading, at least one of your friends had more than 1 child. Various friends and colleagues have said that, with more than one, not only did they feel more confident 'cause it's not all shiny-squeaky-new, but that the younger children also learn from/mimic the elder ones. I'd say 'you lot' did too.

Theory section over :-)

I'm with Kate too!

And if any one fancies a spot of reading some of the stuff that's come out of the report then here's a couple from Sunday's Observer:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/aug/10/children.equality
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/10/children.equality

Oh yes - the original press release is at
http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2008080601
I don't know how much is text provided by the primary author and how much by what used to be 'Press and Publications' and is now 'Office of External Affairs and Communications'
The primary author of the report is
http://www.sps.cam.ac.uk/soc/staff/jscott.html

I need a rabbit icon :-)

Alex and Tara said...

The difference between Miss Tash and the other youngest kid:
1. a number of older siblings (which speeds learning up considerably)
2. A different personality.
Can't see you changing the first, and would hope you wounld't want to change the second.
If you must compare, pick children in similar situations. Like mine, who clings, panics when more than 2 new faces show in one space, and frequently voices her "Angst!" of everything from people in yellow shiny vests "Polizei!" to, well, lots of silly little things. That compares, doesn't it?
Means MORE CUDDLES FOR MUMMY!