Is it just me, but, as women and more specifically mothers, do we feel that nothing is ever good enough? Maybe it’s just the unrealistic strive towards perfection, which generally prevails at this time of year, but as a mum I often feel as if I fall short of ‘perfect’ mummy status!
What does a ‘perfect’ mummy actually look like anyway? In my head the ‘perfect’ mummy images resemble those of business clad, beautiful females who are teetering at the heights of business altitudes that only the likes of Karen Brady and Jacqueline Gold are familiar with. They also boast the parenting skills of Jo Frost, who incidentally has no children of her own and the homemaking aptitude of Kirstie Allsopp. And it goes without saying the looks of Victoria Beckham, who appears to have a full make-up team at her disposal and that’s pre-school run!
In my most insane moments, I want to be that all singing-all dancing career ‘person’ and a perfect mother, all rolled into one, whilst giving Mary Berry a run for her money in the cupcake stakes too! Surely these thoughts are truly insane? Am I alone in these utopian ideals? More importantly, would my children benefit from me sporting this Mary Poppins type persona?
‘Perfect’ mummies are part of a ‘perfect’ family package too, the kind which are portrayed in department store magazines and advertisements; two point four children with whiter than white teeth and matching clothing. It always puzzles me why same-sex couples do not feature on advertisements for clothing, food and settees, instead of these lurid portrayals! The role of the media in the portrayal of what is a ‘perfect’ mummy, daddy or family for that matter, is to communicates such strong messages of what is acceptable and unacceptable that take it all in, albeit subconsciously.
I did try for a good while, in my own little way. At my most ambitious, I held down a full-time professional position in the daytime, studied for my Master’s degree in the evenings and trained as a complementary therapist at weekends! My eldest daughter was extremely well-catered for in a monetary sense, but I hardly ever saw her. Several years later and following the birth of my second child, I have completely tipped the parenting scales by taking time to enjoy full-time parenthood. I now even have time to warm my children’s coats on the radiator before we set off for school and I find myself making homemade stews three hours in advance; eagerly awaiting their arrival home.
I realise I have swapped one extreme for another and that’s not what I intended. Ideally I want to achieve a balance. To be there for my girls, but also provide for them financially, by showing them how important it is to work hard for their achievements. I feel it is vital to portray a positive role-model of female independence, which will stand them in good stead for their future aspirations.
As we venture into 2015 it is as good a time as any to strive for a balance or at least to continue the journey towards one. The all encompassing career, which never provided the work-life balance it promised, seems like a life I once knew. I now intend to establish my holistic therapy business and perhaps some employed hours too. Enough for us to have a few little luxuries along the way, whilst giving something back to society and still making the majority of school runs! Will it work? Who knows… but I’m going to give it my best shot and in my sanest of moments that’s enough for me to say: “I’ve achieved ‘perfect’ mummy status.”