I am not a good mother. This is what I tell myself every day. Every time I put myself ahead of my children. This is the damning sentence I hand out to myself every morning I stay in bed putting off parental responsibilities that loom closer and closer like a hangman’s noose. Parental chores that include screaming fits with a six-year old who demands to know why he cannot wear yesterday’s underwear. And trying to reason with an unreasonable toddler who will insist on chomping on detergent. I cannot be a good mother, I reason. Good mothers do not wish they hadn’t become mothers at all. Sure, they may sometimes wish they could go back to being single and fancy-free and all that. But they would say things like ‘I love my children endlessly’ and ‘the joys they bring to my life are boundless’ and other time-worn phrases that ring true when they say it and sound hollow coming from my mouth. Unlike other good mothers out there, at this point of time I honestly wish I had not become a mother. I take no joy in changing their nappies or packing their lunches. I find these duties cumbersome.
Don't get me wrong. I do not neglect my children. They are well-fed with home-cooked food, their bottoms are clean, their bed sheets are washed and changed fortnightly, their nails are clipped short, their heads free from head lice, they are read to every night, their wounds washed and bandaged, their fears soothed and calmed. In shorts, my children are cared for well by their parents. But I do these out of a sense of duty and not out of love as I have come to realise lately. And this is the hardest and most difficult realisation of them all. While I would readily accept a vagrant father, a virtually non-existent father and in instances, even an abusive father, it is the less-than perfect mother that I have trouble coming to terms with.