This was made for me by One, about three years ago. I still keep it on the wall to remind me – something to aim for.
For a fair bit of today I felt like a very bad mother indeed. My darker colours were to the fore; I lost my temper with a child who was already incredibly vulnerable, and went home to curl on the sofa with tea and chocolate, to try not to beat myself up for the harsh words that came out of my frustration.
Later on in the day, I felt like a very inadequate mother. Switched my phone to silent though I knew I might hear from the high school that my aforementioned child needed me, so that I could spend an hour focusing on another child singing her heart out in the primary school choir. Feeling so conflicted, knowing each child is equally important, not being able to split myself into two for the afternoon; knowing I often need to split myself into three.
Single parenting of three children is full of compromises. So often I feel that no matter how much I try, no matter how much time I give to each of them, it just can never be enough. Frankly, it sucks.
But tonight, after some amazing food cooked by Two in his Food Tech lesson today (One and I got a lot of giggle mileage out of ‘Two is bringing tarts home from school today’…), some excellent cuddles with my drama queen seven year old, Three, who loves extravagantly, and some very good real talking with One, sat on the sofa together before bed, I see it differently again.
I show my children a vast range of emotional colours on a daily basis. I laugh, I cry, I lose my rag, I apologise (rinse and repeat), I scream, I sing, I dance (badly), I hug, I growl and I love, and I love and I love.
Now I see that I am doing this parenting thing as well as I possibly can in the circumstances we find ourselves in. I can’t possibly try any harder or love them any more, or give them any more time, than I do.
And that is almost certainly good enough.