Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Everything is mummy's fault, mummy's fault, mummy's fault

AS predicted, the Grumpy Grandparents hit it off with the Ten-Year-Old Teenager and the Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old in fine style last weekend, partly because they shared many moments of mirth, pointing their fingers of judgement and laughing at my many and varying shortcomings.

In fact, it’s a minor miracle they didn’t grab hold of each other’s waists and form a conga line, Cookie bringing up the rear on his hind legs, singing and barking, “Epic mu-mmy fail-ures! Epic mu-mmy fail-ures!” as they bunny-hopped down the street.

Oh, I’m happy for them, really I am. It’s just that feeling like a failure on all fronts does nothing for one’s already fragile sense of self-worth and appearance of abject inadequacy.

And while I recognise that there’s nothing quite like a bit of bitching to bond people together, it’s still a bit of a bugger to find yourself repeatedly the butt of the joke.

Now I’ve half-read enough self-help manuals to know that other people’s opinions of oneself does not necessarily make it so but it’s tough to continually bat away the barrage of abuse from one’s nearest and dearest when you’re doing your best and you know it’s never going to be good enough.

This morning, for instance, is a case in point.

There I was, putting uniforms on beds, flitting from one bomb-site of a bedroom to another, nagging away like a pro for the kids to get up, get dressed, get downstairs and get eating breakfast or we’ll be late for school again etc, when suddenly a pained cry came from the TYOT’s bedroom.

“OWWWWWWWWW!” she wailed.

“Are you okay, sweetheart?” I called to her from the SSYO’s bedroom, buried under a mountain of toy cars and Kinder Egg wrappers.

“No, I stubbed my toe on my karaoke machine! Why didn’t you put it away? You ALWAYS leave it out! Owww!”

Eventually the excruciating pain subsided (in the TYOT’s toe, not the TYOT herself, of course) but just as we’re all going out the front door, the SSYO breaks down.

“Mummy, you didn’t make me do my homework so now I’ll get into trouble!”

“Hang on! Your homework is your responsibility.” For once I managed to say something Mother of the Year-ish.

“But I’m your responsibility, you need to be more organised, Mum. You’ve really taken your eye off the ball lately!”

And with that, he burst into tears. The TYOT pursed her lips, shook her head slowly and shot me the hairy eyeball.

So what can be gleaned from these little exchanges?

1)The TYOT is spoiled rotten with her own karaoke machine.

2)Too much chocolate is making the SSYO narky.

3)Everything is my fault.

Which is precisely what the gundog trainer said within minutes of meeting our beautiful but bonkers Irish setter.

“I know what Cookie’s problem is,” the trainer said.

“Me too,” I squealed. “He’s a nightmare! All that jumping up and...”

“It’s you,” the trainer cut me off. “You’re the nightmare and the biggest problem he’ll ever have.”


He was probably right, though. I mean, I do like to bang on a bit and my voice of authority has never bothered the kids, so why should Cookie be any different?

But perhaps the worst part about “epic mummy fails” is you eventually start to believe you’re rubbish, especially if you’re divorced.

One day you’re a married city mum with a mild case of avocado hand and the next, you’re a single country mum with more issues than your local
W H Smith.

But that’s another story…

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