“I am not the fun parent. I’m the every day, the mundane, the emotional labour drudge. I’m grateful for it, but I’m exhausted by it. There is very little that is exciting about me, because I’m always here.”
Its my day off today.
The little one is in daycare while the older one is in school so this is my chance to catch up on me.
Maybe I’ll do some writing, reply to some emails or just read a book in the sun.
Today is my day and yet here I am, searching through my 9 year olds Lego box for his stick insect egg.
Yes, you read that correctly – the egg from his pet stick insect.
When he was meant to be getting his uniform on this morning, He took Letti, the stick insect, out of her enclosure and exclaimed “mum! Shes got an egg”!
I told him just to leave her be but he didn’t listen, of course, and as a result he was suddenly pleading with me to help him find the tiny egg that had dropped down into the Lego box.
I was in the middle of making lunches, I had porridge on the stove and his little brother had just hit his head after leaping onto the couch. We were already set to be late heading out the door so I informed him that I just couldn’t help him right now which rendered the response of “oh my god, I cant believe you” as he stormed back to his room. I called after him to hurry up and get his uniform on. He came back into the kitchen pulling his shirt over his head and in a move designed to hit me where it hurts, he glared at me and asked “when is Dad is going to be home?”
Dad would have found the egg, you see.
I’m just the mum, after all.
I think I’m a bit of a hero but I’m actually the shit kicker of the house. I am not the fun parent. I’m the every day, the mundane, the emotional labour drudge. I’m grateful for it, but I’m exhausted by it. There is very little that is exciting about me, because I’m always here.
Im often waiting till Dads home to do the really fun stuff, so he doesn’t miss out. So he gets to reap the benefits of his hard work and enjoy some quality time with the kids, without them being too spoilt because they’ve done it all before.
So while Dad is glorified in school books and tales of fishing and adventures, mum is made out to be a villain because of everyday mishaps like putting a red apple in the lunchbox instead of a green one.
Or because I forgot to return the permission slip to school that’s due today but I only got last night.
Or saying no to takeaways because after buying 3 gifts for the birthday parties im taking him to this weekend, the budgets a bit tight.
Or maybe because its library day at school today and I didn’t remind him this morning that he needs his library bag.
No matter how much we talk about personal responsibility – When something goes wrong, it’s always my fault. The blame always rests with me because I’m the mum. I am where the buck stops and it shits me to tears because I don’t think it should be that way, but it is that way.
While the 9 year old regales his friends with stories of how his dad took him to the city to see a show, he neglects to mention that I’m the one that bought the tickets.
While he fondly remembers holidays where Dad took him on a motorbike ride, he doesn’t think of who organised it all.
While he is over the moon at his Dad buying him a keyboard for Christmas – where does he think he got that idea from?
It’s frustrating and disheartening when you are constantly bending over backwards to see them smile yet you never get any credit, and while we’re mostly pretty good at taking it on the chin, every now and then it does takes its toll and you are left feeling really genuinely unappreciated.
That’s why it’s so important for mums to support each other. When we are fed up and frustrated and feeling a bit down trodden, we need to tell each other things like “they’ll thank you when they’re older” and “it will sink in one day” and “you’re doing a great job” and “here have some wine”
We need to build each other up and remind one another that we are heroes too. We might not always feel that way but we are, and our kids do know that – they just don’t recognise it yet.
(That’s also why mothers day is important. Do you hear me? MOTHERS DAY IS IMPORTANT)
Because im the one that tells the kids to brush their teeth and take the rubbish out – all that stuff that is neccesary but not very exciting – there arent many stories to tell about me.
Whenever the school asks for a story about the holidays or some news to share with the class, I never get a mention. He doesn’t talk about how I let him sleep in my bed last night because he had a bad dream. Or that 3 of his friends stayed over and I made them all pancakes. Or that I worked all the knots out of his shoe laces, baked banana muffins for lunch boxes, drove him to drama practice, drove him to guitar lessons, bought that only toothpaste he likes, ironed his uniform or took him to the movies.
He talks about what he did when Dad came home. And without wanting to take anything away from the dads and their HERO status that they absolutely deserve, I just wish that some days I could be celebrated as a hero too.
So here I am, on my “day off” searching through a box of Lego for a stick insect egg that may well just turn out to actually be a bit of stick insect shit, hoping for my chance to be a hero.