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.
Please tell me that I am not the only one who is so very dreadful?
* Contracted on our family trip to Thailand.