Bad Mothers Don’t Fix Cactus Socks
Lately, I spend my days adding to the file I keep in my head called “All The Ways I Am Failing At Motherhood.”
This file has gotten frighteningly big.
It’s become a sport now, to minutely dissect my every mothering move for faults. Of course, I add my failings as a housewife to this same file which, the more I think about it, is probably BS because being a good mum and keeping a pristine home are really not the same thing. In fact, the more I worry about a pristine home, the less able I am to be a good mum since kids, by their very nature, tend to undo all the hard work of the brilliant housewife.
Example: I have just cleaned all the floors and then the children have the audacity to WALK on them and EAT FOOD over them. Those little buggers just live their lives as though a clean floor doesn’t matter!
Being an excellent mum AND an excellent housekeeper remains an incompatible mix. The fact that I still believe I should be both offers an excellent explanation as to why I feel like I am constantly at war with myself. And myself never wins.
I am bad at keeping a perfect house, but I know how to make a home. No, it’s not display home pristine, but it has other charms. Come into my home and you’ll almost certainly hear music, possibly at the same time as a blaring TV – but that’s kind of the point, there’s always a lot going on. You’ll hear shouting and screaming and people, big and small, losing their tempers here and there. But you’ll also hear singing and tickle fights and more fart jokes than is strictly necessary.
I don’t know. Life is a mess. It just is. I do like order. I crave it. But for now, it appears to be a losing battle. Perhaps it will get easier with time as the kids get older. Maybe it won’t. I can’t hold my breath until then. I can’t beat myself up until then.
My eldest and I have been battling at the moment. Is 7 a tough age for boys? Seriously, this kid has some major back-chatting attitude going on. He’s defiant. Reminds me of me actually – which you would think would mean I would understand how to deal with him, but I don’t. So naturally, I’m adding this particular incompetence to my giant failure file. “Can’t handle 7-year-old.”
But then I remembered something. It was the end of his first week of Grade 2. He was exhausted and so was I. Neither of us was coping well with all our feels.
I sat on his bed sorting through his clean washing and as I began to pair up socks, I noticed there were tiny splinters of wood, like little prickles, caught in the fibres. I thought about how tough his first week must have been – new teacher, new classroom, and new rules and expectations. I couldn’t bear to think of prickly socks being an extra discomfort on top of everything else. So, I spent fifteen minutes inspecting each sock for prickly bits and then removing them. If I got nothing else right, I would do this. I would save my son’s little feet from cactus socks.
And so yes, my file is a seam-splitting collection of mothering transgressions, but I love my kids. With all my lioness heart, I love them, and if I can, I will remove the splinters. I will make their house a home.
But would it kill them to eat over a plate?
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels