I am a mother on the edge – the edge of reason, the edge of patience, the knife edge of my sanity. Other mothers make it look so damn easy. It bloody isn’t. It’s the hardest thing in the world.
For one thing it dawned on me in the headmaster’s office on Tuesday morning, that as a parent I have this Atlas like responsibility. I know exactly how he felt. My neck and shoulders have cramped up to the point I may beg for Botox in them.
Every little decision you make as a parent defines how your child will grow up. Every comment, no matter how casual, will shape the adult he or she is to become.
Parental guilt is a lot worse than Catholic guilt, and I thought nothing could top that. At least Catholics can go to confession and have the slate wiped clean, parents can’t. Your mistakes grow up and hate you at least until they have children of their own.
I have spent the week with three projectile vomiting children. I feel helpless and exhausted. Small boy aged 7 stood over the bowl weeping and crying for me to make it stop and help him. All I could do was wipe his face with a wet cloth. In other words, nothing.
For reasons known only to Small boy aged 9, he waited until we were a block away from school before voiding the contents of breakfast all over the car. Brilliant timing. I gave up and drove home. I deposited said children in bed, drugged them with Stopayne and headed downstairs to frantically complete my presentation due for today. I was too scared to even call work and ended up cowardly sending them an email.
Finally I dragged the whole bloody lot to the doctor, which is conveniently located next to a mental hospital. I almost drove in screaming, “Bring me a strait jacket! Lead the way to the padded cell! I’m having a breakdown!” Only the sobering thought of what would happen to my children while I was being locked up made me turn around and take them home. I’m still considering packing a bag and throwing myself on their mercy.
A school friend of mine has nine children under 9. She always looks serene.
Either she knows something I don’t or her doctor gives her better medication.