ANY parent watching new sitcom Motherland will chuckle and squirm with a sense of knowing.
Being a mum is not glam, it is not sexy and it is certainly not easy.
I am pretty sure Hallmark does not make cards saying: “Congratulations on not washing your hair in over a week while you chart another human’s bowel movements.”
As a society, we tend to focus on the fluffy, cute side of parenthood. But Motherland gives a glimpse of what it is really like trying to make it as a mum.
There are the cliques in the playground, the guilt of going to work, the stress of staying at home and the multitude of unwritten tests you never have a chance to prepare for.
Basically, being a parent is the constant feeling of never being quite enough. In the pilot episode of the BBC2 show, one mum threw a party for her child. It brought back some cringeworthy memories for me from my son Finnbar’s third birthday.
As a youngish mum, I felt judged by more mature parents so stayed up until 3am the night before to make robot cake pops for every child invited.
Did Finnbar care? Not at all. Did I get a kick out of the other parents being impressed by my creations? Of course I did.
Thankfully, Finnbar is now 11 and I have knocked that need to impress on the head. Instead, I now stockpile party favours and have a crack team of friends who can construct a party in minutes.
People think sleepless nights, temper tantrums and potty training are the hard bits of being a parent – but it’s the unspoken parts that push us to our limits.
For me, it is balancing the mental charts of three children. Who needs their PE kit on what day? Who needs to take what for assembly? Which of their friends has which food allergies?
Then there is the competition between parents over whose child is the best. Every school class has one of those smug mums whose daughter is already reading Shakespeare at five.
Well, you know what I say? “Good for you. My daughter is reading Biff and flipping Chip books and listening to her read them over and over is destroying my soul, but I love her anyway.”
The longer I’ve been a mum, the more I’ve realised parents need to stop judging each other. Instead, they should help each other – take each other’s kids to parties or babysit once in a while.
We’re all making it up as we go along. And you never know when you might need to borrow another kid’s shepherd costume.
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