Some mornings I wake up, often with a baby big toe wedged between my teeth, and think, I’m going to do that proper mothering today. I’m going to be creative and patient and nurturing, and do singing, and point to things in the sky and on the floor and repeat words over and over and over again without getting mindlessly bored and checking Facebook on my phone. I’m going to be exciting and playful and sit on the rug doing jigsaws.
I’m going to bake, glorious baked items that are sugar free and full of goodness. I’m going to stick Sonny in his high chair so I can show him how I measure out (whole-wheat) flour and (free range) eggs and (fair-trade) sugar, beating and whisking like a catering version of Mary Poppins, magically producing something steaming and wonderful moments later from the oven.
I’m going to push Sonny around the supermarket and name every single thing I drop in the trolley, and when he gets bored and whingy, I’m not going to run to the crisp aisle and rip open a placating bag of ready salted, then pretend not to notice when soggy crisps hit the nice clean floor.
I’m going to mash things, organic things I think, into digestible, healthy mush, and I’m not going to be offended or angry when it’s used as an alternative interpretation of acrylic paint, smeared with the abstract creativity of a baby Mark Rothko across my kitchen wall.
If it’s a day off work, and just me and Sonny at home, I’m not going to have a lunchtime sleep when he does. I’m going to put him down for his nap and use that hour productively, to iron, hoover, clean, prepare the dinner, do exercise, pair socks up, write a shopping list, juice some fruit and veg, water the plants, fold stuff.
If faced with the misfortune of a nappy that’s the wrong type of soggy, I’m NOT going to cry.
When I start feeling a bit tired towards the end of the day, and a couple of quiet, back to back Postman Pats would take preference over even a private viewing of the next Twilight film, in Robert Patterson’s house, wedged between Robert Patterson and Taylor Launtner, I’m instead going to embrace the feeling of crumbly limbs and shin splints, the physiological stretch marks of a Mum-dun-good. I’ll have a coffee and perhaps knock back a few pro plus and we’ll do some playing, some colouring, some play-doh-ing. I’ll keep going until Sonny’s bedtime, where I’ll absolutely not choose his shortest story book and skip most of the pages.
As I remove the foot from my face, and roll out of bed, I know absolutely that I’ll do all of these things. I bounce into the kitchen and note, with mild irritation, that the walls are still coated in insane sweet potato art works.
I’ll stand on a zoo animal, the flamingo, the one with the most pointy bits. I’ll remember I’ve not been shopping so we’ve got no eggs, free range or normal range – and no cereal either so I’ll give Sonny a Nutrigrain or similar sugar stuffed substitute.
And as the threat of a headache competes with the dull pounding of footache, I’ll grab Sonny and we’ll hit the couch, with me counting down the hours until lunchtime when we can go back to sleep.
‘It’s the thought that counts Sonny’- I’ll tell him, as we settle down to watch CBeebies. And I’ll let the guilt settle when his jammy fingers climb up my face to give me a cuddle. Because whatever I think of my own mothering skills, he seems to think I do proper mothering quite well.