Welcome to Feel Goodish Friday where the fact it is Friday is so good that I am in danger of feeling properly goodish.

Friday means youngest has just been collected by Gwyneth.

Friday means I can now look forward to 72 hours of not being told I am hated by my longed-for youngest child, fruit of my womb, apple of my eye, core of my being and any other fruit-related comparisons you can think of because right now, he believes me to be utterly rotten, shrivelled, maggot-infested.

When I tie his shoelaces he reminds me that I am not as good at tying shoelaces as his Dad.

When I make him pancakes he reminds me that I am not as good at making pancakes as his Dad.

When we spend hours painting spooky Halloweeny Russian dolls he reminds me that I am not as good at painting spooky Halloweeny Russian dolls as his Dad.

When I tickle him, play with him, bathe him and cuddle him, all are deemed inferior compared to his Dad. Even my smile is not as good as Daddy’s.

I do not respond by saying, ‘Well if your Dad hadn’t bought you fucking stupid lace-up fucking shoes we wouldn’t have a problem, would we?’

I do not say, ‘Well if I could afford a fucking top-of-the-range fucking electric whisk thingamy, my pancakes wouldn’t be so fucking shit.’

I do not say, ‘Fuck OFF have you ever painted spooky Halloweeny Russian dolls with your Dad, you absolute BULLSHITTER.’

And I do not, expressly do not ever say, ‘WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH WHEN I HAVE LITERALLY DEDICATED MY LIFE TO YOU AND EVEN HARDLY EVER SMOKE IN YOUR FACE?’

I do not say these things because I am a grown-up and do not seek strokes from a seven-year old.

If you haven’t been transactionally analysed to within an inch of your id, spending many thousands of pounds to sit in a badly furnished room and drink bad coffee and cry about your bad mother for nearly TWENTY YEARS NOW, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of ‘strokes’.

In short(ish): you get a positive mental stroke when someone says or does something to you which makes you feel good; a negative mental stroke is given if someone says or does something to you which makes you feel like a forgotten decaying plum at the bottom of life’s fruit bowl.

You need the strokes coz your inner child still longs to be touched and cared for like when you were a bairn, but you can’t go around making other adults stroke you like they’re your mother unless you have a thriving local adult baby party scene where you can satisfy your id by lolling about in a gigantic nappy, sucking on a dummy while your ‘mummy’ stokes your tummy…

For the rest of us, as we grow up, we learn to replace the reassuring physical stroke with a mental one, but our need for it remains so strong that if good strokes aren’t on offer, we’ll accept the bad ones instead coz any stroke is better than no stroke at all because an absence of strokes might mean we are being so neglected we will surely starve and die.

Are you still with me? If you are, give yourself a good stroke. No, not THERE…

You might get a good stroke when you seal a mega deal at work and everyone buys you a drink. OrΒ when the love of your life tells you that you are simply beautiful and also fiercely intelligent, by the way.

But you might get a bad stroke when you fail to seal the deal again or when your lover remarks, once again that you’re back in your ‘fat’ jeans.

Depending on your stroke history, you may be especially seeking either the good or bad strokes depending on which one is more familiar and believable to you.

It may not surprise you to know that I thrive on the bad strokes. Oh tell me I’m fat, show me I’m ugly, let me fail at everything and feel extreme levels of self-loathing, only that way can I be assured of my continued existence.

But as I age, I find I can cope with a bit more good stroking. And I ain’t even joined Tinder yet.

I get them at work from squealing, beaming babies. I get them on stage from laughing audience faces. I get them when eldest sends me a message that says, ‘Thank fuck I’ve got you as my mum.’ I get them when Gwyneth tells me I am an amazing mum and that the game of parenting can never be won.

A seven-year old cannot give you a bad stroke unless you let them. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t hurt my feelings and make me want to piss on his xbox.

One day, he may send me a message which says, ‘Thank fuck I’ve got you as my mum.’ Until then, I must try to get through the hating by filling my life with all the good strokes I can get.

May your weekend be filled with only the good strokes. If you’re on your own, self-stroking totally counts. And if all else fails, get yourself a big nappy and get on down to your nearest adult baby party.

Feel better.

Attend to your id πŸ’‹

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