To you on Mother’s Day,
Just for today, assume you are perfect.
Just for today, leave your guilt at the door. Assume you are doing everything right. Assume your children are exactly as they should be, and their lives are unfolding exactly as they should.
Assume all your decisions have been the right ones. Assume that going back to work/staying home/using a pacifier/bottle feeding/breastfeeding/puree feeding/baby-led weaning/sending them to nursery/hiring a nanny/moving country/staying near your family… was exactly the right thing to do.
Assume that somewhere, in a magical kingdom far, far away, every unseen nappy change is being tallied up, and will be returned to you with interest in the form of sloppy toddler kisses and sleepy “I love you Mummy”s.
Every invisible stumble down the stairs in the middle of the night to warm the bottle is being seen and noted, and will be returned to you by way of pudgy little arms squeezing your neck and gummy grins meant just for you. Every bend down to sweep up scattered cornflakes and wipe up spilled apple juice will come back to you in shrieks and whoops of joy from the back garden, and every boo boo kissed and band aid applied will be repaid when that first breakfast of burnt toast and hard boiled eggs and a single daisy in last night’s wine glass is delivered to you in bed.
Just for today, assume you’re an expert at this life you’re living. You are the best in your field, you are an authority. Don’t second guess yourself or let your resolve waver. Nobody knows how to do this as well as you do.
Today, assume that little mistakes aren’t life altering and won’t do lasting damage. Today imagine that your toddler won’t remember how you lost your cool in the supermarket – she will remember that you let her weigh the tomatoes and stick the sticker on the bag. She will remember you let her choose which colour apples and she will remember you both yelled “Weeeeee!” as you pushed the trolley down the empty cereal aisle.
Just for today, tell yourself that your child knowing the theme song to “Sofia the First” before she knows her ABCs is more of a reflection of the times than an indictment of your reliance on the digital babysitter.
On this day, assume that letting them eat chocolate for breakfast, cereal for lunch and pizza for dinner “just this once” probably won’t send them down a path to obesity, and that you’re not a bad mother for giving in one more time than was reasonable.
Assume that there is a magic bean counter (in the same mystical faraway place as the nappy-tallying machine) keeping tabs on your successes instead of your failures. Imagine that your successes actually cancel out your failures, and that what you think of as failures are actually just lessons in disguise.
Just for today, assume that every day is a new day and you’re allowed a do-over. Assume that what happened yesterday doesn’t have any bearing on today and that today will be as good as any day has ever been. And if it isn’t, assume you’ll have another chance tomorrow.
Today, assume that everyone knows you’re a good mother. Assume that reaching for your smartphone like a lifeline or locking yourself in the downstairs loo for just 30 seconds of peace does not change this fact.
Just on Mother’s Day, assume that today is your day. Today is the day you stop and take a breath and say to yourself, “Okay, I’ve got this.” And then call your best friend and tell her the same.
Assume that today, the things you love so impossibly fiercely in your children are the things you put there. The things they got from you. That you made from scratch. The things you should be proud of.
Just for today, assume they want no other mother but you.
Today, assume you are perfect.
And then, assume that every day is Mother’s Day.