Us mums and dads are pretty familiar with the feelings of guilt associated with being a parent. Shirking our responsibilities by daring to go out for dinner with the other half, giving the baby one too many Ella’s pouches (ok, only Ella’s pouches), letting the toddler watch those bloody annoying, brain scrambling Kinder egg videos on YouTube just to keep them quiet. We’ve all been there (even though some pretend that they haven’t). But the greatest feeling of guilt for me, has to be how “fun” I am…or not as the case may be.
BC (before Coco) I considered myself to be pretty fun. Whilst I have never been an adventure lovin’ kind of girl, friends could always talk me into a night out with no trouble and I was at my happiest on a sweaty dance floor shaking what my mamma gave me. I had (have) the same sense of humour as a pre-pubescent boy and a pal once described me as their “most fun friend” – a proud moment indeed. Before the kids arrived I was confident that this sense of fun would automatically transfer, and we would while away the hours laughing together at how silly mummy is and how bloody funny I am.
Whilst I’m certainly not a total misery guts all the time, I am most definitely not the fun loving mum I imagined. Yes, I of course make the kids laugh; we sing songs, play games, all sorts. But I am no Mary Poppins. It is simply impossible to keep up the happy, happy face 24/7. I get tired, and frustrated, and quite frankly, fed up. On long car journeys when I’m trying to concentrate, and Coco is pulling faces shouting “look at me” (refer to Coco’s top tips for causing a mummy meltdown), I know I should distract her by singing jollily to nursery rhymes, or play a game of who can spot the red bus first, but sometimes I just can’t face it, so grumpy silence descends instead. We try and spend time doing the fun stuff at home… baking, play dough, painting, general tomfoolery…but more often than not the fun is short lived, a tantrum takes place, and CBeebies wins again. Then to top it off Topsy & Tim comes on and makes me feel even worse. I mean, on what planet would a mum happily agree to have the whole pre-school class back to the house unexpectedly, and then provide homemade biscuits and drinks in perfectly coordinated coloured cups! She’d be thinking “for f*cks sake”, whilst simultaneously digging around in the cupboard for stale digestives.
As with everything we feel guilty about as parents, I know deep down that we really shouldn’t. The kids are happy most of the time, they are well fed, clean, read to every night, and have enough toys to stock a Toys ‘R Us super store. They don’t do half bad, and when we’re all just trying to do our best, we should cut ourselves a little slack. It’s ok to be Sullen Susan sometimes. Topsy and Tim’s mum must have obviously just missed the memo.