We had a quiet Mother’s Day. The boys woke us up early as babies are wont to do and we took a lovely stroll through the woods with babes in the pram and the dog capering beside us as we ate our toast. We didn’t exchange gifts – our extremely costly babies are our gift to each other for the foreseeable future! – but we bought nice food and in general made an effort to have a particularly lovely, meaningful day. And we did.
It was an opportunity to reflect on five months of managing to keep outside-of-womb children alive and a year of being parents. To think about what had gone well and what had not. To look at our micropeople and marvel that these creatures grew in my womb.
But I didn’t feel smug. I didn’t even feel quietly pleased for myself.
I looked at their other mother and felt admiration and respect for her, the best mother I know. She is inexhaustably kind and gentle with our two tiny people, devoted to their every need. She gladly stays home with them and prefers not to take breaks from her small charges thankyouverymuch. They are cuddled and coddled and snuggled and loved and played with all day long, and somehow this supermama still has the energy for difficult bedtimes and night wake-ups.
She’s wonderful. I am so happy for our children that they have Mary Poppins in mother form.
She deserves every moment of that Mother’s Day.
But what about me?
I’m not saying that I’m not a good parent. In many ways I am an excellent parent. It’s just that my children have two mothers and one is good enough but the other one is phenomenal.
I can imagine that it might be a comfort to some mothers that they are their child’s only mother. That they might not be perfect but they are the only mother that their child has.
I don’t have that. My children have me, but they also have one of those mythical unicorn-poo mothers who bounce out of bed in the middle of the night, delighted for the opportunity to spend more time with her children, or who actively look forward to sniffly infants because it means that they will want to attach themselves to her all day like sentient additional limbs. She’s amazing and I’m so glad for the twins that they have her. But does it devalue me?
When is Mediocre Parent’s Day?