Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Perfect Mother: The Perfect Fraud

I went to my friend's funeral yesterday. She was 29. But I can't say it without thinking twenty-fucking-nine. I'm 29. A beautiful, bright light has gone out and  my head is all over the place so forgive my emo rambles.

You know, I've never been a fan of posts that are scarily similar to what someone else has written. It's happened to me too often to believe it's just some cosmic coincidence that words I've written or images I have created just pop up elsewhere ever so slightly tweaked. Not actually plagiarism but just a half a baby step away.

And then I read part of a post that looks so much like something I have written. Contains almost an identical sentence... but I have not yet published it... and I freak out a bit. Can I now not say what I was going to say? Will they think I've copied them? If the shoe was on the other foot I would think that. So I scrapped it and I'm just going to start again, referencing Her Edenness because she said it first. Bitch.

I read New Eyes at Edenland the other day and it smacked me hard in the face. So hard I felt that tingle before the pain registers. Is it strange that I can physically feel words? I wonder if anyone else can? I've never asked.

There were, of course, major differences between what Eden wrote in her first few lines and what I had sitting here, unpublished, lurking behind the scenes. For starters she can actually write whereas I just blog. But self depreciation aside, that reconnecting she spoke about, without even knowing she was missing. Yeah that.

I knew I wasn't being a great mother to Tricky. I knew I was distant and just not fully present the way I should have been. You wouldn't have seen it, though. I still did everything I was meant to do... and I did it so bloody well that it didn't just fool you, it fooled me too. Now that I'm coming back though, I can see that I was so much farther away than I thought.

I was the perfect mother; babywearing, breastfeeding, homecooking, reading, singing, teaching. I was the perfect fraud.

When he would cry I would pick him up, cuddle him and say it would all be OK but on the inside, more often than not, I was screaming "FUCKING SHUT UP! I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!" And no one would have ever guessed. Not Map Guy (who knew, but didn't know just how deep it went). Not even Tricky who would still smile at me with bright, loving eyes.

When you keep everything on the inside, with Oscar-worthy acting, no one knows. No one knows you don't want to be there. That you don't want to spend time with your child. That you immerse yourself in social media in an effort to distract yourself from how much you truly despise yourself and your inability to connect with your son.

I was so far from being a 'good' mother that I didn't even quite make mediocre... and I can only see that now as the veil of anxiety lifts thanks to going back on medication.

I feel terrible for not having really been there for him. I tried many times in the proceeding months to go back on medication but the crippling anxiety stopped me from picking up the phone and making the appointment. Even now, I've not been back for my follow up... I cannot make the call. Not yet. Ahh irony, you are a bitch.

It rips my heart apart that I really don't know how long I've subjected him to such pathetic parenting... in a haze of sleep deprivation (we had a few months of sleeping through but not any more) this is all I remember. But it couldn't have been long... could it? How many months? Was I ever there? I just don't know. I am so used to pretending that the lines of reality have blurred.

We're connecting now, though. He seems the same but my smiles are genuine now. My patience is real and without sighs. My cuddles, once obligatory are now fierce and protective and I try to hold them longer until he squirms to go and do more important things like play blocks. I'm no longer just going through the motions. I want to be with him so much that I've been sneaking in to watch him sleep. I'm not feeling fantastic, but I'm feeling. And that has to be a good thing.

Comments are off for this emo post. Sorry.


  1. I think all Mum's have been there to one degree or another. The care, love and nurturing instinct you have for your child never wanes, just the will behind it can waver. Glad you are on the way back xx

  2. You know what....I get this with every inch of me though I think you shouldn't beat yourself up so much. You did and do the best you can and faking it til you make it is a brillaliant strategy. I really think you're a better Mama than you give yourself credit for & heck lady, you can write too! Big hugs. Xxxx

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I was feeding my baby tonight holding her so close & wondering if I would ever feel like the othe mothers feel.
    I think I am starting to enjoy what I am doing now. It's a little bit less just going through the motions & a little more fun. Thank you for making me understand that I'm not alone. Xx

  4. The thing is, and you said it yourself - nobody knew - what you must remember is this includes Tricky, he hasn't felt like he's missing anything. The fact that you have done all the right things - faked emotion or not- makes you a good mother, giving a shit about this and being worried about the effect on Tricky - that makes you a good mother. Still going through those motions despite everything, that makes you a good mother, the best mother Tricky could ever hope for. xx


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