I never feel on top of it all. My house is usually messy, I never reply to emails or texts when I should and right now my boys look like Grug because I haven’t gotten around to getting their hair cut. Oh, and I also have tissues in the bathroom because we’ve run out of loo paper (again).
But today I don’t care. Today I did something I don’t do enough and as a result I feel like a pretty good mum. And at the the end of the day, that’s what I care the most about.
Today I played ball
My toddler is always at me to throw a ball to him.
“Catch, Mummy? Play catch?” he asks pleadingly.
“Not right now, sweetie,” I usually tell him.
It’s just never a good time. I’m always doing something else on my non-work days in an effort to stop the wheels from completely falling off. Appointments need to be made. Washing needs to be folded. Shopping needs to be ordered online. Dinner needs to be prepared. Bills need paying. A puddle of wee needs to be cleaned up from the bathroom floor. The list goes on.
But today was different …
Instead of feeling a pang of mum-guilt as my tot walked away while clutching his big ball to his small frame, I surprised him with my answer.
“Yes! I said enthusiastically. Let’s play ball. That will be so much fun!”
“Yaaaaay!” He squealed as I chased him out the door.
It didn’t take long for my preschooler to get in on the game, and the three of us were tossing a ball to each other and laughing in the sunshine. I watched as my toddler got better at catching the ball; after a few minutes of back and forwards he was no longer dropping it on every second throw.
This is nice, I thought. I turned a blind eye to the washing on the clothesline that needed to be brought in and for once I felt present. Like, really present. I wasn’t just throwing the ball while thinking about what else I needed to be doing. I was there. Enjoying the moment.
It didn’t end there
After playing catch we went inside and continued playing.
My eldest pulled out some animal figurines and as we grouped them into ‘like animals’. I taught him that some of the animals live in Africa, while others live in cold climates like Canada. He was learning something new. Even his little brother learnt the names of five new animals as we sat and pretended to be elephants and hippos having a bath in a waterhole.
Even when my phone chirped with a Facebook notification, I ignored it to be with them (which I confess I don’t usually do).
As we packed up the animals, it occurred to me that I wasn’t losing my sh!t at them to tidy up. The game was simply over so it was time to pack up and move on to something else, which they were keen to do. And that something else wasn’t another game, it was a chore. We cleaned the windows. Sure, my windows now have streaks all over them, but my boys gained a life skill.
I ignored the pull and it felt wonderful
Then the rest of the day was spent just like this. Us. Together. Playing. Learning. Bonding. I chose to ignore a lot of the things that usually pull me away from them. As a result I have no idea what we are going to eat for dinner tonight. I still feel just as behind as I always do, but I feel more connected to my little loves and I know they feel the same.
If we go to bed at night knowing that we had a good mum day — and every mum has their own definition of what a ‘good mum day’ is for her — then everything else feels a bit more manageable.
I may not be a domestic goddess or employee of the week at this point in my life, but today I remembered that I’m (on the whole, because no one is all the time) a good mum, and that’s enough for me.