Yes, I realise it is Sunday. And I don’t write at weekends, because: kids.
And yes, I realise it is very sunny outside. And I ought to be out in it, because: kids.
And yes, I realise that not only is it Sunday and sunny, it is also Mother’s Day. And I ought to be celebrating or being celebrated, because: kids.
But here I am, holed-up in my study, weeping like somebody died. Which of course they did, many years ago, but which I absolutely know is NOT the source of today’s grief. At least, not directly.
I am not missing my mother. I do not wish she was here. I do not weep for the loss of her, or for the happy memories of her. I am an adult and now a mother myself, and also a rather damn fine specimen of self-actualised human being, after hours and hours of expensive psychotherapy. I have long since opened the file marked ‘childhood’, analysed it to death and then filed it away in that gigantic mental cabinet called ‘history shizzle which you do not need to linger over.’
I also know I’m not weeping because youngest deliberately pinched me incredibly hard this morning, though it did bring tears to my eyes and a sadness that I had to shout: ‘well THAT was very bloody UNKIND’ at him on Mother’s Day.
I’m also not weeping because eldest just presented me with me an outstanding poem she’d written into a hand-made a card which featured actual proper printed photos of us together. She can write, that one. And it did bring tears to my eyes but not in the motherly-pride way it should have done.
My tears today are because I’m ANGRY.
Angry that I do not deserve to be celebrated.
Angry because I’m not a good enough mother.
Angry because I still approach each day with trepidation about whether I’ll be able cope.
Angry that my daughter has just sent me a picture of her and her brother, sitting outside in the sunshine, eating poached eggs made by Gwyneth because when I went downstairs a little while ago, I shouted at him for not having fed youngest yet and when he suggested we all sit and have lunch together, I burst into tears behind the fridge door and then fled up here.
Them seeing me like this is worse than me feeling like this. My window up here is open (because: smoking), the sounds of youngest kicking a ball and shrieking at bees fly in and land on me like smacks to the head.
Gwyneth is out there with him, snipping at the garden and showing him spiders. Gwyneth, who looks at me with a bemused and fearful expression; what’s wrong?
How can I tell him: ME. I’M what’s wrong. I am not good enough. You’re all better off with me out the way.
I know this is connected to my mum. This self-loathing flourishes from the roots laid down by her, who never felt good enough and who isolated herself and punished everyone around her and needed so much reassurance. A mother who made me her primary carer, a job I was never good enough at and ultimately failed at in the most brutal, infinite closing chapter.
I have felt this familiar self-defeating agony on many days, over many years, but today I know the trigger is because it’s Mother’s Day, a day which could be mostly ignored until I became a mother myself and until social media turned it into another public event at which to fail at.
Today my children are especially encouraged to appreciate me, to be with me and celebrate me, and it is precisely that focus on me, that makes me flee to be alone with my undeserving, failing-as-a-mother-and-a-person, sorry-arsed self.
Oh Mother’s Day – you really are spoiling me with self-loathing this year…please would you just fuckety off now so we can have a normal Sunday of homework and washing and tidying and x-boxing and arguing and none of this excessive focus and PRESSURE on me and all that I am not, and none of what I really am, which is, most days, goodish enough.
THAT’S IT guys. I have the solution…
I am cancelling Mother’s Day. As of NOW.
I will dry my eyes and put on my favourite perfume (which eldest included in her poem to me, saying how the smell will always remind her of me and even seeing the bottle brings me to her) and I will go downstairs and force youngest to hug me and declare that MOTHER’S DAY IS OFFICIALLY OVER and then we can all proceed as normal, in the company of this mother who is now not so angry about her deep failings, but just normally angry about the state of the kitchen and who loves her sprogs very much and knows that they know this and that all they need today is for me to be here, in the moment with them, not stuck in past agonies, but batting away bees and dipping soldiers into runny eggs and watching their Dad lay waste to the weeds.
As we were, guys. As we happily were…