• Katherine Thornalley

You don't have to be perfect all the time

Social media is wonderful isn't it? A constant reminder that you need to achieve an unbelievable perfect motherhood at all times. You must always smile. Because if you cry or get angry or sit and eat a tub of ben and jerrys (which I never do *ahem*) when you're having a rough day, you somehow automatically view yourself as a failure. I'm going to let you in on a little secret, and for some bizarre reason, social media hasn't got the memo on this one.... its ok to not be ok. It's ok to have bad days. Its ok to stand in the kitchen alone and cry because you feel overwhelmed. It's normal.



I used to see a therapist years ago who gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me. She said, "Kate, you don't have to be happy all the time. You're allowed to feel sad. It's ok to have down days".... at the time, I didn't think too much of it, but now, as a mother it has finally sunk in.


Before having children, I remember my now husband and I doing our weekly shop. There was a mother doing a big shop with her son. Her son was shouting in the trolley and miserable. I remember turning to my husband and saying, "poor child, the mother is not interacting with him, no wonder hes crying...." now as a mother, shopping trips are my number one anxiety. I've watched 'supernanny'.... I know what I'm supposed to do. I know how to get my son involved with the shopping and how to keep him happy and entertained. This lasts for about the first ten minutes before he gets bored and starts trying to climb out the trolley, strangle his sister or shout about how bored he is, before I give up on trying to get him involved and resort to empty threats (what would 'supernanny' say to that hey???!!!! I feel the looks. I hear the people talking. I appreciate that my son's behaviour resembles that of a chimpanzee on amphetamines. What do you want me to do? Let my family starve? Here I am, holding my hands up, I find grocery shopping really f*****g hard. I had to swear to accentuate my point. Sorry for that.


I love my children, more than anything on this planet. But that doesn't mean to say that I don't find it really hard work. I question myself all the time. And I constantly feel guilty.... "Is he behaving like that because I did x, y and z when he was a baby?" "Am I too soft on him?" "I drank a cup of coffee in pregnancy, does that mean I've given him some form of social disorder?"..... Im learning myself, and I know that I get things wrong. All the time. daily even. But I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I'm human. Similarly to how my children are learning how to get by in this crazy world, I am learning too and all I can do is my best. Try to stay calm (by calm, read: sane) and try to teach them through the mistakes I've made in the past (which are far too many to mention).


Back to social media. I have put up pictures of my son and I baking before. Laughing, having a lovely time. Is baking an enjoyable experience with a two year old? Not really. If someone tells you that it is then they're lying. It's messy, and the only good thing about it is if the end result is edible then you get to eat an entire cake. I've put up photos of us out to lunch. Is eating out enjoyable with a two year old? Not really. they rarely sit still and if your child is anything like mine then the chances are they will demand to order something that they almost certainly won't eat, insist they will, and then not eat it. The moments that you share are not the ones that you are struggling in. And thats fine! Who wants doom and gloom all the time. But just remember that the snippets of unreasonable perfection are not always what they seem.


Just because you don't enjoy every single second of motherhood does not make you a bad mum. The excitement you feel when your little one uses the potty for the first time... Who knew you could get so excited over another persons ablutions??? The excitement you feel when they've come out of school with a huge smile on their face because they've painted a picture for you that resembles nothing that you can decipher, but their happiness makes you happy. That is when you know that you've succeeded. You will feel every single emotion that they feel. That is motherhood. And you are winning at it. Whether you trust that statement or not.....

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