I’m not a perfect parent...and why should I be?

PUBLISHED: 15:55 07 November 2017

Julia (Anna Maxwell-Martin and Liz (Diane Morgan) in Motherland. Picture: COLIN HUTTON

Embargo until 31.10,2017

Julia (Anna Maxwell-Martin and Liz (Diane Morgan) in Motherland. Picture: COLIN HUTTON Embargo until 31.10,2017

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OPINION: I am not sure where and when it was decided by Generation X that we are required to be perfect mothers.

My mother always said that one needed only to be ‘good enough’. Yet, spending the past decade raising sons as I have, while also largely working full time, I have been confronted daily by evidence of my failings.

I am not on the PTA. I don’t bake nor have a network of ‘mum friends’ with whom I periodically go out drinking and shrieking and ogling men, while later celebrating on Facebook the anniversary of the first time I met my ‘amazing husband’.

I don’t drive a car that looks like it should really be ploughing a field. And neither I, nor my sons, has ever eaten kale. And we never will.

Some of our food isn’t even organic. We like chips and chocolate. And we are late for everything. Sorry.

Well, actually I am not that sorry. What is the obsession with being on time, anyway? Being late is being as prepared as you possibly can be and a little bit more. (Some might even call it diligence!)

It’s making sure you have fed the dog and found everyone’s shoes, even when they have been left outside by the trampoline all night and are soaking wet.

It’s doing your best and not quite managing.

But it is not evil, while actually being horrible and snooty and completely lacking in empathy about lateness is!

Anyhow, I am not ashamed about that, nor any of the following.

My kids and I don’t limit how much telly we watch, nor do we always remember to do the homework.

We regularly get it wrong in terms of the myriad items one is supposed to remember to bring to school the next day and we always buy our costumes from Amazon because spending hours making a wizard outfit from an old curtain does not make me a better mother, it makes me a seamstress, when I am in fact a journalist who can write, as opposed to sew…

I have always felt a little alone in my mothering approach until this weekend, when I found myself watching Motherland, the new BBC 2 drama starring Anna Maxwell Martin as a harassed mother of two who is endeavouring to negotiate working parenthood. Moments into the show I was hooked as Maxwell Martin yelled her way through the school run, swerved round a red light that had clearly been put there entirely as a personal affront, before finally arriving at school and having to pretend that she had not, in fact, forgotten that it was actually


Efforts to ‘get in’ with the ‘right’ group of mums failed entirely, of course, as mine always have.

Well, I have NEVER even watched Bake Off, so what do I expect?

Later the same day, I went with my friend Karen to watch A Bad Moms Christmas at the cinema. What a terrible… and wonderful film it was, during which we shrieked with laughter and even slightly ogled the men, although only because it was sort of required, not because we really wanted to! After the film, I went home, passed out on gin, then got up at 7 to help with the homework we had forgotten to do the day before. As a result, we were late to school again. Oh well.

PS: A small shout out to the lovely children in Sharks and Jellyfish classes at Tollgate Primary School in Bury St Edmunds where I spent a part of the morning teaching them how to write a story. The big news of the day was that Mrs Bates, the headteacher, had come into

school on her motorbike, which she had ridden into assembly to teach the children about how hard it can sometimes be when learning something new. Headteacher comes to school in leather was one headline considered, but in the end we went with Headteacher rides motorbike

to school to teach us about courage which seemed a wiser approach.

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