Friday, 20 March 2009

Chutney Mary squashes the Pickle.

My earth mother sister, ensconsed in Devon, and nicknamed Chutney Mary, had a bad day yesterday.

Going into the sitting room to sort out some childish squabble, she tripped over her own shoes and fell, squashing her eldest son, the Pickle, under her as she went and knocking his head into the hearth. Blood, tears and casualty later and the Pickle is a proud owner of some skin glue, a new toy motorbike and a Peppa Pig DVD. Chutney Mary may be scarred for life though.

She is quailing under the guilt. I mean, she is prone to being more sensitive than you or I anyway. The slightest hurt or criticism will be hoarded for years, brought out every now and then, polished lovingly and then carefully stored again in acid free tissue paper. This one may beat all our past insults thugh. I think it will never, ever go away.

I imagine that accidents like this are totally normal if you are trying to bring up children. You are tired, bored and trying to do a million things at once and they are small, wriggly and inevitably in the wrong place at the wrong time. This defines incipient disaster. Chutney Mary can't see this quite yet. She is tormented by the fact that she was cross with the Pickle anyway - as though she caused some Karmic disaster by not being permanently loving and sweet natured. I could explain to her that that sort of parenting is only achieved with Valium but she seems convinced that there is natural state of perfect parenting that she could achieve if only she cooked her children more organic food, knitted them ugly clothes out of leftover newspaper and made up a new and imaginative story every night at bedtime.

Her life would be so much less agonising if she was not aspiring to win the mother of the year award all the time. She might even get to enjoy the chaos and madness that parenting seems to engender.

Obviously I am speaking from a child free position. In her book this means I can have no opinion as 'I won't understand'. Maybe she is right, but I can see how she is tortured by the very act of being a parent and as my sister, deranged or not, I'd like her to have an easier life. I could give her a million pounds and a nanny and she wouldn't rest any easier though. She hasn't had a full night's sleep in FOUR YEARS and has martyred herself to the cause for good. Days like yesterday, whilst horrible, will never become a funny story to tell at future parties. Not just because she won't go to any parties (she couldn't leave the children!) but mainly because she will never let go of the guilt for long enough to see it as just an accident.

I wish that a bit of skin glue and a Peppa Pig DVD could fix things for her.

14 comments:

elizabethm said...

Oh dear. I know just what you mean and have lost count of friends who disappeared into this particular hole. I used to find that having really low standards of housework and spending the time not when I was not working doing things with my kids worked fine. It is only now that I have the time to knit my own chutney.

Mr Farty said...

Poor sis, she should just lighten up. I mean, who hasn't accidentally broken their kid's front teeth at some time or another?

No? Just me then.

Cassandra said...

oooooh where to begin? it is just soooooooo difficult. I am a hopeless mother, really messy and let them get away with murder and watching too much telly. And I feel dreadful about everything, all the time. As you say, it's down to your personality - your sis would be like this whatever, it's just that parenthood magnifies everything and makes you question yourself. She sounds fab, a lovely Mum, and she needs COMIC outlets to maintain some sort of perspective. Have been meaning to visit you for ages, btw - like your comments on Mrs Trefusis's astrology plans. Will be adding you to my blogroll. Cx

justme said...

Poor woman. Clearly she is her own worst enemy. I agree with Cassandra though, motherhood DOES tend to make you even more like you were before....if that makes sense! When her kids are teenagers, she will drive them nuts!

katyboo1 said...

It is hard not to feel guilty, but I think she will lighten up eventually. It's just a question of when her breaking point is. Mine was six months in, some people last a lot, lot longer. Mainly because they are stoic and brave and not wimpy like me.

She will be o.k. it's just a question of time. xx

rosiescribble said...

Poor thing, these things happen, it's all quite normal. She really mustn't feel guilty.

The Singlutionary said...

perfectionism doesn't work when you've got kids. or dogs. or anything that poos and pees in strange places.

i might be childfree but I know something about bringing up a child. And I know I screwed up a lot. But I also know that it was impossible not to.

onely.org said...

See, this story just verifies exactly why I will/should never have a child. I am too much of a perfectionist and can barely keep my own life in order. Thank god I've only got myself, my blog, and my puppy -- very few living things get squashed (though I have accidentally rolled over my dog's tail with my desk chair once or twice).

L

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Cathy said...

Send her over to read my blog. She will reconsider that she is screwing up motherhood. I have the title of that and I'm not giving it up!

Beki said...

You mean I'm not supposed to be tripping over GI Joe booby traps, and discarded shoes and slamming my children into the walls as we race around on our hardwood floors in socks??? Damnit I knew I was doing something wrong!!

Welsh Girl said...

Beki - I now have this vision of you surrounded by GI Joe traps with a permanent formula one style race around the house going on around you!

Babycakes said...

That makes me shudder - 'she hasn't had a full night's sleep in four years'.

Welsh Girl said...

Babycakes - I know. That is my defnition of hell. I think she is rather addicted to the martyrdom of it though...

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