Monday, February 24, 2014

Confessions of a dreadful mother

Once, when G was a baby, she spent the night sleeping in a dog basket. It was a clean dog basket, and it was packed with comfy blankets. She slept like a baby, meaning that she woke every two to three hours for a feed.  In the hours she dozed she seemed content, laying arms out stretched and snoring softly. It made a really sweet photo… But I didn’t ever share it.

Despite knowing that she was perfectly safe, I worried that people would see that photo and decide that I was a dreadful mother. A dreadful mother who put her child down to sleep in a dog basket! I didn’t want people to think that, so carefully censored myself.

It was the first in a long line of incidents that I kept within the confines of my family.

The other day I was telling someone about the time I sent G to day-care despite her grumbles of a sore tummy.

“You’ll be alright once you get there,” I reassured her.

The sore tummy turned into diarrhoea and I got the call to collect her. It turned out to be Cholera*. Yes. I am the terrible mother that sent her 4yo to day-care with Cholera.


I didn’t share that story either.

Yesterday I dropped a saucepan on my foot. I swore on impulse – and not in a child friendly under my breath way either. 

A few hours later G dropped her doll.

“Oh fucking elves,” she said.

Her little sister thought this was very funny indeed and before I knew it they were both at it.

I had to sneak off to have a little giggle before taking control of the situation, before explaining that they mustn’t use that word (not 'elves', the other one) any more and apologising for using it myself.

And I didn’t share that story either.

I am a serial over-sharer. I can’t help myself. My children make me laugh and I want to spread their joy. But now and then I stop in my tracks. I worry what people might think. And more specifically I worry that people will think I am a bad mother.

But perhaps we all have stories like these? Perhaps we all have stories that don’t show us in the best light. Perhaps we all have stories that run the risk of condemnation?

And if we do, which I suspect (and hope) is the case, then maybe if we start sharing them instead of censoring them, we’ll realise that these little imperfect moments are simply part and parcel of parenthood. 

*crosses fingers*

Please tell me that I am not the only one who is so very dreadful?

*  Contracted on our family trip to Thailand.


  1. Elka often says "effing hell" (the uncensored version) and that's my fault. I have heaps of faux pas, some of which I am happy to share, and some I will never breathe a word of!

  2. Well. We don't have a dog, but to be honest I think that dog bed looks very comfy and looks like that was a great idea! Think we've all sent them into childcare at one time or another not feeling 100% - and who's to say what was wrong with them?! I'm not perfect, but I don't use the really bad swear words so I can't admit to that, I'm sorry. I am wracking my brains to think of those bad parenting moments.... but around here they're so frequent that I'd struggle to pick just one! Chocolate for breakfast maybe? Television on almost permanently for background noise? Lots more. With our ASD/PDA girl standard parenting doesn't work - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ;)

  3. You are not alone Catherine, that's for sure. I can't tell you the amount of things I do that most people would call "Bad Mother" on me for!

    Like the fact that Punky spends about half an hour in her cot by herself with a drink bottle filled with milk and her iPad and books each morning, while I lie in bed a bit longer. And that once I fell back asleep and suddenly woke up and realised it had been over an hour. She didn't care though, she was happily playing away and wasn't fussed!

    Or the fact that I hate cooking so much and the days when Dave isn't there to make her dinner she ends up having one of three things - fish fingers, scrambled eggs or toast!

    Or the fact that sometimes, when Zee starts crying, Punky will yell "Give it a rest" at her, something I know she has picked up from me (I don't yell it at Zee but I have said it to her on more than one occasion!). I'm just waiting for her to start repeating back all the swearing I do on a regular basis, then people can really start painting me with the "Bad Mother"! Lol!

  4. That bed looks super comfy for a baby. Certainly dont need any high-budget crib! ; ) Hey you have such a cool blog. Follower, follow me: also come and enter my giveaway!
    Renee x

  5. These all crack me up.. especially because none of them are not that bad! When E was younger, my husband dropped the f'bomb in front of her. That weekend we were visiting family and a bunch of people where there and sure enough, this is when Elisabeth decides to use the f word.. Loudly... in front of everyone. Was lovely...

  6. As you know I completely out myself on my blog all the time and quite frankly in the words of Rhett, "frankly my dear I don't give a damn" what people think. I've done so many things I can't even remember them all. Suffice today that my youngest seems to say shit more than I'd like him to!! x

  7. I put my 8 week old to sleep in a suitcase once, thinking he'd be safe because of the sides. Somehow, 10 mins later he was on the floor screaming his head off cos he'd fallen out of it. Never told that story before either!

  8. Oh so many stories! We're not bad mothers - we're human beings and so are our kids. Imperfections make us real :-)

  9. he he... nope, not alone. I suspect the world is full of such dreadful mothers. Human ones. Caring ones. Ones who just do their best, swearing and all! :) It's only natural to worry what people would think. I filter too. I filter sooooo well I can't even remember my bad mothering antics!!

    I like the dog bed. I could curl up in it ;)

  10. I like the dog basket idea!!
    Better there than in bed with the parents and risk a sad accident..

  11. So, so many of these tales. I blame sleep deprivation. Definitely sleep deprivation when I left my 3 week old baby at the checkout and happily sang to the trolley as I waltzed around Westfield. Took me a good 15 minutes to realise and go back to her. Sigh. x