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The World Book Day disaster and the musings of a failing mother, a letter to my son.


You’re upstairs asleep, I am downstairs crying. You should be at nursery, but we didn’t even make it out of the house.

I couldn’t handle you, the situation, I feel like I have failed you. That I failed as a mother, and not for the first time.

There have been times in our crazy two years I have broken down and cried, out of happiness, fear, frustration, you name it, as your mother I have felt it. Even more so as our journey wasn’t so textbook, kiddo.

As much as I want to admit you are a normal little boy, with what you have been through in your short life, you are not. Things took their toll on us as parents, but they also left their mark on you too.

I know there are a lot of changes going on around you, and some you may not fully understand.

In a few months, you will become a big brother, but it is beginning to dawn on me this may be more than you can handle.

For a while you have been acting out, getting emotional, we put this down to the terrible twos, but is it more?

For two years, you have been the centre of our world, and then some.

Going through what you did we let you get away with more. Even now, I probably let you eat too many sweets, stay up too late now and again and let things slide way to easily.

Since being pregnant with your brother or sister I will happily take the easy route, and do anything for a quiet life.

I have devoted so much time to you, just you, but maybe it wasn’t enough. Maybe, I did it wrong?

I know I am emotional, impatient and can shout, I guess I know where you get it from.

Sometimes, I do not handle things the way I should, that a mother should. But, I am trying my best for you, I really am.

It can go too far, and sometimes I just have leave.

I am the idiot who spent yesterday afternoon looking for twigs that would go with your World Book Day outfit. Spent last night reading the book to you, teaching you what to say. But, now the outfit lays crumpled on the floor as you didn’t want to wear it. You didn’t want to go to nursery. You said you didn’t like it anymore, you wanted to be at home. You refused to do anything, to even move.

You were sitting hyperventilating on the floor, and I was pushed to the brink. The only way to calm you down was to say you were not going in today.

I had to call the nursery and explain, and I felt ashamed, embarrassed, a failure.

It wasn’t just like when you are being difficult, this was different.

You screamed, you kicked, you basically went insane.

In hindsight, you have been emotional for days, and you were so tired this morning but I have never seen you act like this.

We sat hugging on the floor and I could feel your fast breathing against my chest, the small squeaks escaping from you as you tried to calm down.

I laid you in bed and went downstairs. The tears began to come from me before I had even reached the bottom.

As your mother, I am the grown up, the one who is responsible for you.

I guess you won, you didn’t want to go to nursery, and you didn’t, I had to calm you down.  I had to make sure you didn’t hurt me in a way that was dangerous to the baby.

I feel like I failed you, that I couldn’t just get you in the outfit and out the door. Just like how I haven’t cracked potty training with you, or had the heart to take your dummy off you. I know these things don’t matter, and most days they don’t bother me either, but hay I am down the self-pity road now, may as well make the whole trip.

I know I make a stupid amount of fuss, time and money on celebrating Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, even bloody dress up days at nursery. I want you to know I cared, that I was there for these things, that I tried.

You are such a kind, helpful and thoughtful little boy, you can also be nasty, stingy and difficult and a major pain in the arse.

There are days I cannot see how we will make it to bedtime, but we will. We always do, it just takes a lot of clock watching and tongue biting to get there.

These are the stark reality days of being parent, when all I want to do is pack up and go. I don’t and I never will, then suddenly something will be said or done and you will make me laugh.

I looked in your room, you're asleep cuddling my bobble hat. You call it your snuggy and you like it because it smells like me. I have to put perfume on it for you.

You look peaceful, innocent as if this afternoon never happened. You have forgotten it all.

I wish I could have, but I sit analysing everything, Googling how to control wayward behaviour, What’s Apping everyone and scrolling through all the kids who did put their World Book Day outfits on and realising you are missing out.

There are days I thrive being your mother, it is the best feeling in the world, and I want to breathe in all of you, all of the time, watch every little thing you do.

Then there are days like today I feel like crap. A failure.

I mean who has a bloody breakdown on getting their two-year-old into a wolf outfit and out the house to the nursery he has gone to every week for the last two years? Me.

Yes, I am pregnant, yes, I am hormonal, but I am human too.

I am hard on myself, but only as I want the best for you. That’s what us parents do you see.

This is something that in the great scheme of the last two years that is so insignificant it does not really register on the radar. But right in this moment it feels like the biggest thing in the world.

Sometimes with great smugness I feel like I have a handle on it, sometimes it goes wrong and you cannot do anything but say f**k it, have a gin and laugh about it. Other times I can get myself in such a state I would be a psychologists’ dream.

Why did I share this? To make you feel bad when you are older? Guilty? To get sympathy? No.

Because motherhood isn’t all Instagram filters and smiles. It is rough. Nights are tough and days are even tougher. Sometimes it is the smallest things that feel like the biggest to some. We should be honest and never suffer in silence.

Being you mother, it is good, it is bad, it is most certainly ugly.

Today I felt like crap kid, I am sure you did too.

But, tomorrow is another day and I am still your mother and I love you.

Always x

Motherhood isn't always full of the picture moments




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