It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so horrendously offensive, and yet be totally clueless to it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that when it comes to our little darlings, we can be a little hyper sensitive to every, “Are you sure he should be eating that?” and “I wouldn’t let my child stay up that late.”
But sometimes people just cross the metaphorical line.
The comments in question came from a childless woman so I have been told I should be sympathetic to a lack of understanding. In truth, I have somewhat struggled in the sympathy stakes and have predominantly opted for blind rage as my general response to the following…
“That’s the good thing about you, you’re, like, a cool Mum.”
Ah that’s nice, I thought.
“You know, you don’t always go on about kids and stuff. No one really wants to hear about that, everyone just smiles to be polite.”
Totally with her so far to be honest.
“You know, with most Mums, if anything happened to their kids, they’d never get over it, but you’d be fine and just get on with it.”
So it turns out someone actually thinks so little of me as a parent. Never have I been so hurt. Someone I spend a significant amount of time with, seems to believe I’d carry on as normal the day after my son’s passing (which physically hurts to even type).
Of course, the rational part of me listens to my friends when they tell me it’s absolute crap. But I couldn’t help analysing everything I’ve ever said and done to give such a poor impression of me as a Mother. What could I possibly have done to lead to such a shocking assumption?
Aside from the obvious… writing a blog under the name of The Unfit Mother, the only thing I could really think is that I am a working Mum. I go to work. I enjoy work. I strive to succeed in my work. I like having a bit of time to be me, rather than someone’s Mum or wife, so I don’t constantly talk about my home life.
But does that really make me a bad parent?
When I first started writing this post, it was a day or so after the incident. I was initially determined to use this platform to justify my parenting skills and make a huge statement that I love my child.
As it turns out, I shelved it. This was mainly as a result of my irrepressible rage and excessive wine consumption every time I thought about it. I’m glad I shelved it though. Because when I came to revisit this piece, I realised that such a post would be bloody ridiculous.
Of course I love my child, more than anything else in the world. Of course I’m a competent parent, I’ve managed to get him to the ripe old age of 5 as a healthy, happy, bright boy. But also, why the hell should I justify myself?
So instead, the new Me has decided that this post is about letting it go and having a bit of faith in myself.
Is it acceptable that I was repeatedly reduced to tears, all because one person, who is (as of yet) blissfully unaware of the all-consuming love that engulfs you as a parent, made an ill-advised comment? It’s not her fault that she doesn’t understand that level of love. That jump-in-front-of-a-train-just-to-stop-them-getting-a-chesty-cough love.
I heard a lovely phrase today… ‘to be good at family’. I know, that I am bloody amazing at family, and those who matter know I am and respect me. And if they didn’t, they wouldn’t matter.
It’s all about self-belief. Now, generally speaking, I’m not one for preaching about all that stuff, but we can’t allow ourselves to be beaten and berated by every idiotic remark from someone whose opinion is ultimately so irrelevant. We get enough negative press from ourselves and indeed our little ones. Surely, self-belief is part of being a good parent.
So go and be good at family. And everyone who thinks you aren’t can piss off.
Once again, lovely illustration care of Anna Lewis @ Sketchy Muma