Friday, July 16, 2010

a good mum

When there is grass growing through the peg basket it's a sure sign of neglect. I'm ok with that. What I find most difficult about being a mum is guilt. There is such a thing as motherguilt, you know. Because my life has become that much busier in the past few months there are some things that just don't make it onto my 'to do' list. And sure I like the idea of a spotless home, an empty laundry basket, fresh loaves of bread pulled straight from the oven and a happy family...but that picture isn't an honest one of my life right now. The happy family is it. And I suppose that's all that really matters.

I've just been asked to work one more day from home. As a writer, and because writing is my art, I'm taking this as a promotion. My first professional promotion. It feels damn good to be paid so well for my art. But with that extra day comes less time for everything else in my life and I'm well aware that things will have to give. I can't do everything.

Oh hello guilt, I was expecting you.

Why? Because that's one less day to be a good mum. And what is a good mum? It seems programmed in us, us mothers, that we must be everything to everyone around us in order to be a good mum. I'm going to say this because I feel it is my truth - most of the time the blogs I read inspire, motivate and encourage me. But sometimes, they make me feel guilty. They don't help with my own unrealistic, perhaps idealistic, expectations of what a good mum is. Why? Because I can't find the time (and sometimes the inclination) to bake crackers, knit a piece of clothing a week, organise daily in-house art classes, grow vegies, have a homemade dinner prepped every night and never complain.

And so my mantra is to never bring guilt into my role as mum. I don't want to be the muma who doesn't think she's doing good by her son because of a lack of baking, cleaning, crafting, gardening. I am not that mum. I am me - Che's mum.

And I know, deep down, that he wouldn't swap me for the world. That's his truth and I'll keep reminding myself of it.


  1. Such a well-written post - naturally you'd get a promotion.
    Mother guilt. No escaping it - but your approach is a good one. Rid it from your mind and feelings the best you can.
    The mother you descibed, baking, growing veg, cooking dinner everynight, knitting - she doesn't exist. I am sure of it. There cannot possibly be enough hours in the day.
    I am all about the short-cuts and I have just stopped working part-time because it all got to hard for me to balance. So if you can - more power to you. Well done. Go for it. You know what is best for your family and yourself. You are as equally important as all the other members of your family.
    BRAVO TO YOU I say!

  2. I think you're right to remember that Che is not going to want another mum, a better mum, a more present mum, a vegie growing, baking mum, just because you're working. You are just his mum. He knows no different. If you introduce these things into your life, they're part of his life too. You can, and will, make it work, your family that is, because it's all wrapped up together.
    Congrats on the extra work.

  3. A happy mum is the best type of what makes you content & those around you will benefit.
    Congrats on the extra work... Embrace it.

  4. Really great post and one that I'm sure so many mamas out there can relate to. A few of my fellow blogging friends often discuss a lot of what you wrote about, with each other. Blogging for sure has sparked a lot of creativity & positiveness in my life. However, that mommyguilt does seem to creep up from time to time when I wish I knew how to make beautiful clothing for my children as well as have the time to do so! I wish my garden was larger & more diverse. Etc. Etc. Etc. But in the end, I'm with you ... I am my kid's mom & I know they wouldn't swap me for the world either!
    Congrats on your promotion. That's awesome :)
    Much Peace.

  5. I totally agree. I’ll take the happy and calm home over a clean home any day.

    I can so relate to your feelings at the moment. I recently increased the number of days I work. I love my job – but my family and taking time to live simply is just as important to me. Some things have had to be dropped…and I’ve done lots of juggling of priorities.

    And do you really think Che wants you to be “baking, cleaning, crafting, gardening”? I doubt it. I bet all he wants is for you to be happy…and to be happy WITH him.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts :-)

  6. Hola gorgeous lady!

    I loved this post and can absolutely relate! Oh man, I have to give so many things up at the moment, and our house is SUCH A CESSPIT! But we're in survival mode at the moment, everyone's tired, and sick, and getting by each day. It's going to get better, but for now, it's the best we can do to rustle ourselves together.

    Thanks for sharing such an honest post. It is abreath of fresh air. xxx (and well done on the promotion! YEEHAA!)

  7. oh my,that grass peeking through made me laugh:0)
    it is so great to know that I am not alone in my random forgetfullness or just plain,got better things to do,lifestyle:0)

  8. I know what you mean about the guilt. You always come across as a lovely Mum in your blog and I'm sure you are. I never knew about the secret guilt that is experienced when you become a Mum but I do now! Lovely picture of Che with the Camellias (I think that's the flower!). S

  9. Bless you, Jodi. This has inspired me to take another step towards looking the other way! Just what I needed to hear and I'm sure, what my children wanted me to hear. S x

  10. yep - shiny happy is only as good as shiny and happy really are. We best find that for ourselves.
    I wrote about the honest blog stuff as it really pips me sometimes.
    enjoy your journey, after all, it is yours.

  11. Waht a great post & a great perspective.

  12. You say it like it is and like it is i am sure in many households. I can relate to this.
    when i was sewing full time i came face to face with these feeling often. Now as i am with another bub and not finding any time to sew i had to let go of any unrealistic thoughts of how i could do it all as a mum!! so for me sewing has been put on the back burner, along with a tidy house every day and washing folded in baskets dotted around the house. i hardly bake at the moment and in many parts of the vegie patch it has gone to the weeds. as long as we are happy and our family is at peace then i say, have no guilt, there are better things to take on!
    would love to share a chai in September... i look forward to it! you can check out my mess!!!!
    Congrats on the extra work... enjoy and be happy as this is your creative outlet and therefore = happiness with no guilt:)

  13. i can manage the guilt, i am just not sure i could manage without it.

    ps. you are that blog mom too. i have seen your packaged up cookies, read your amazing writing, heard of your yoga teachings and birthing classes, read about dinner from your garden, your banana bread making, trips to the beach with che, finding time to read several books, not to mention the cd you recently recorded. you are amazing and doing it all too. xo.

    pss. we all have dirty laundry.

  14. I love an honest blog post and yours is refreshingly so. And I echo the sentiment from another comment - a happy mum is the best mum. We eat take-out some days, I use the dryer too much and Minnie watches replays of Poh's kitchen when I need a breather. That's life - some days a loaf of Helga's is far more attainable than a homemade loaf. Do what you need to do.

    And a big congrats on your extra day. xxx

  15. You are being the best mum that YOU can be, and that is all that matters! The best mum is one that loves unconditionally, and it seems like you do. :)

  16. Such a wonderful post, thanks for being so honest. Well done on the promotion.

  17. I don't usually jump over from my reader to comment, but I wanted to today to thank you for your honesty. I spend so much time trying to be a great wife, mother, writer, blogger... and then just end up feeling guilty about what I CAN'T do. Sometimes reading other blogs helps, and sometimes it really doesn't!!

    I hope you know that you are exactly the mama Che needs.

  18. A happy family is all that really matters.
    Having that - and not any of tht other stuff - makes you a good mum.

  19. Amen Jodi....I've been looking at the same spots on my tiles for a couple of weeks now and there are lint piles in the corners of my bathroom...but the little one's don't care. ;)

  20. Eloquent as always Jodi.
    At the moment I just aspire to getting upright in the mornings and some food into bellies in the evenings. Mothering is a path and a journey in one, there are always twists and turns, blockages and new starts. Nothing stays the same, change happens daily.
    The trick is to embrace it, for me that is one of the lessons of parenting.
    Congratulations on your promotion.

  21. And you are such a beautiful writer! I often feel the opposite guilt, by choosing to stay at home and take care of North instead of going back to work. There is even a part of me that feels guilty for getting pregnant again so soon before really exploring the possibility of going back to work to provide for our family. I wouldn't change a thing now, and i feel like I am on the right path, but I do often feel torn, and spread and pulled at the seams because I try to do so much. On a lighter note, a few other bloggers have mentioned the "perfect bread making mums" in their posts and I always smile and laugh because for some reason breadmaking seems to me to be the simplest, fastest and most enjoyable part of the day. It's everything else that wears me down sometimes- cleaning, prepping meals, trying to keep North entertained, happy, stimulated and learning. You know what is best for your family and yourself and your words and writing are a blessing you should be proud to share with the world. xo m. PS. On that note, of course I would be thrilled if you write a guest post for when the baby comes, but maybe just keep it in the back of your mind, you don't have to commit to anything as you have so much on your plate already!! xx

  22. Amen to this Jodi! I am totally with you....xo, jamie