I have decided, that since they were about three months old, I have been a fairly awful mother. I have let them get away with things that they shouldn’t have been allowed to get away with, I have not followed threats through and I have tried to be their friend – big mistake. The annoying thing is that I know exactly what I have done wrong, but they seem to be able to wind me around their little…paws.
The worst bit about it, is that with the girls I developed a bit of a reputation amongst friends and sisters and I was frequently used as a threat: if you don’t eat your broccoli I will send you to your Aunty – the wicked witch. I ran the house like an army boot camp, as it was the only way I felt I could maintain any degree of control with four so young and so determined.
Then the dogs come along, with their cute, wet button noses and big doey eyes and I find myself giving in. Dog 1 is on the bed as we speak – what is the matter with me?
Number 1 friend was at the dentist today with her eldest son, who was having two teeth removed. She has a phobia of needles and nearly fainted. She was no support whatsoever, as she sat with her head between her legs. This reminded me of daughter 2’s teeth extraction experience, which started in a similar way, with me perched at the end of the couch, back towards her, muttering the words: you know I’m here if you need me – just wave your right foot. This prompted me to reflect upon the top 5 bad things I have done as a mother, that the girls remind me of fairly frequently and that no doubt they will be in therapy for in years to come:
Sent daughter 2 to school on the train, with open, bleeding gums and feeling faint after tooth extraction, because I was feeling too queasy to deal with her
Made daughters 1 and 2 share the same pack of 2 school shirts up to years 11 and 9 respectively. I finally gave in and bought a new twin pack for daughter 1’s final year in uniform – which they shared
Made daughter 4 walk through a hospital and into school without any shoes on and in holey tights (see Shoe Storm). Apparently, the sixth formers who were in the classroom where her trainers were stored found it very amusing. She, as a small year 7, didn’t.
Kept daughter 1’s dead hamster in the freezer for a few days, while I worked out what what to do with a dead hamster
Put all daughter 4’s cuddly toys in a bin bag and took them to Oxfam – where she discovered them for sale and bought two of them back with her pocket money
So, I am resolving that from now on, I am going to be firmer with the dogs, in the same way that I have always tried to be with the girls. I would never have let the girls sleep in our bed, for example, as I would have been too worried that it would become a habit.
That said, I’m looking at dog 1 lying on the bed now, curled up in a large fluffy ball, keeping partner’s side warm and I just can’t bring myself to do anything about it. I’ll be a better mother tomorrow, I tell myself, just as I have often told myself, lying in bed at this time of night and with that thought, I turn out the light.