We don’t have a swanky pedestal here at Broccoli HQ. Sorry about that. So, as an alternative, I thought a picture of our old step ladders might suffice.
Fear not, I’m not giving out DIY tips in this post. Although I must say, I’m actually a bit of a ‘dab hand’ at assembling flat pack furniture and do quite enjoy slapping a drop or two of emulsion around….when I get the time/muster the energy/have the inclination to…which is, erm…actually, quite rare, these days.
I digress, as always. Sorry.
So, what’s the step ladder/pedestal reference for then?
Well, I’ll tell you….
(Warning, I may get a bit Mrs Ranty McRantypants in this post…I think the hormones are playing up!)
Sometimes, on meeting new people, we may get the “It must be difficult” line – the “It” being reference to caring for Hannah – Or (worse) “I couldn’t do what you do”. This may be followed by a solemn face and a bit of a head tilt…the subliminal message sent to me being: Blimey, you’re an absolute Saint for doing ‘what you do’. The sincerity/attempted empathy/compassion/thoughtlessness is really quite overwhelming sometimes.
However, I have news…
The Pope and his Vatican are certainly not going to beatify me when I pop off this mortal coil. The general public will not be weeping profusely and queuing up to take selfies of themselves stood beside my rose adorned casket in Westminster Cathedral. My tombstone will not be engraved with the words ‘Here lies the body of Saint Annie: Patron Saint of Special Mothers’.
Oh no. No Siree!
I’m no Martyr.
Nor have I ever claimed to be, either.
Now, whilst I wouldn’t want anyone to feel they couldn’t express their opinions or thoughts (I live in a kingdom of free speech, thankfully!) It’s time to put the record straight…
I’m not some kind of ethereal being that rides around on a floating unicorn happily going about my day. I’m not an exceptional creature from another planet. I’m not some Boudicca-esque figure who gallops through the streets on her white charger, putting the world to rights (although I quite fancy a bash at that). I’m me – made of history and experiences (pre and post Hannah) and lots of other stuff – some good, some not so good. I mess up sometimes. I have faults. Lots of them. I’m actually human, believe it or not. Fancy that, eh?
And guess what? I have flaws. I’m not perfect – as a mother or as a human being! *puts hand to mouth and gasps in absolute horror*
Yes folks, breathe, keep calm, I know it’s a bit of a shocker, but it’s 100% true.
It seems to be a bit of an unwritten rule that you’re not supposed to have a good old moan about parenting (in general) and how difficult it is. We seem to be bombarded through social media, magazines and the telly with perfect mums doing perfect things with their perfect children in their perfect homes or gardens with their perfect dogs, waiting for their perfect husband to drive home in his perfect car from his perfect job. It feels like we’re all supposed to aspire to this concept and, don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not knocking anyone who wants to aspire to that. Please feel free to aspire for whatever perfection is. You SO don’t need my permission.
But this Mama (i.e. Me) don’t ‘do’ conformity. Oh no! This Mama isn’t afraid of wearing her heart on her sleeve and pronouncing to the world that yes, life is hard and this ‘Special Life’ IS incredibly hard. It’s overwhelmingly bloody hard sometimes (sorry for swearing…I could’ve easily put a stronger expletive in there too, but I’d better not!) and occasionally, it’s absolutely rubbish and quite stressful.
Now, before anyone jumps on the keyboard and tries to give me a telling off about this. Don’t. Don’t bother. If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know fully how very blessed I think I am. But really, some days are just rubbish. Fact.
So, Dear Reader, here’s just a few of the milder examples (there’s lots more) of why I, Annie, Special Mama to an incredibly Special Child, am far from perfect and must never, ever be put on a pedestal…unless you want me to change a lightbulb for you, that is:
- Sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief as I wave Hannah off on the school bus. But equally (let’s get some perspective here!) I’m more often than not – unless I’m feeling ill – excited to see her again at the end of the day. Sometimes we need our own space/do other things and that’s OK.
- I snore. Allegedly. I know, I agree, I think he’s lying too! Saints, Martyrs et al probably don’t snore, so that clearly rules me out for being put on that pedestal.
- I deny my child sweets (candy). Bad, BAD mother that I am! However, you may occasionally find a packet of fruit pastilles/wine gums in the glove compartment of my car. Just for emergencies. Obviously! I’m a walking contradiction.
- Sometimes I don’t answer the phone or the door. How rude!
- Sometimes I don’t forgive…sometimes I forget, sometimes I’ll never forget.
- Sometimes, I don’t want to get out of bed (but I do, obviously). Occasionally, I dread the prospect of the potential monotony of the day ahead – the constant personal care, nappy changes, feeding, dressing, lifting, carrying, having to be constantly on guard in the quest to try and keep Hannah safe – the list is endless. But I have to and I want to and (perspective again) I’m blessed to….even though I’m utterly exhausted at the end of the day.
- I sigh far too much and at lots of things. I sigh at reports that come through the door addressed to “The parent/carer of” because someone’s far too lazy to look up my name on a database. I sigh at people who’re just far too lazy to return their shopping trolley in the supermarket car park and leave it in the next vacant bay. I sigh at the people who park in Parent and Child bays WITHOUT. A. CHILD. IN. THE. CAR!!!! I sigh at the washing up…the relentless pile of washing up (yes, we do have a dishwasher, no we don’t use it…let’s not go there)….and ironing. Oh dear Lord, the ironing and don’t even get me started on the dusting. I also sigh at thoughtless drivers….especially the ones in white vans.
- Oh, the drivers. Where do I start? Well, whilst I haven’t got road rage, I have been known to shout at them – despite the fact that they can’t hear me, because they’ve sped off or are sat up my backside – the car’s backside, that is. And I have been known to use some rather colourful and interesting expletives! Oh, the shame of it.
- Sometimes/often now I stare back at the starers.
- I get fed up at the lack of support we receive. But (perspective again) equally grateful for the support we DO receive and blessed to have met some AMAZING people, who love and care for Hannah as if she was a member of their own family. They know who they are. Thank you ❤
- As much as I love spending time with the kid, I dread school holidays. Period. Before Hannah came along, I never quite understood what parents were going on about. Now I get it, totally. I’ve especially unloved this summer holiday with a passion and I’m probably going to dislike next year’s holiday and all the other subsequent ones….because they’re getting harder and I’m not getting any younger – no matter how much ‘rejuvenating’ cream I slap on my face!
- I love social media, but sometimes I don’t like it. I don’t like pouting selfies, photos of someone’s tea they’ve just put on the table for when ‘hubby’ gets home (‘hubby’ – argh!), everything they’ve bought, the attempted bragging and the ‘perfect’ lives they try to portray – when everyone around them knows it’s far from that. It’s so false. Oh, and whilst I’m on a mini roll, what about the ‘celebrities’ who bleat on about their ‘near death experiences’ – like grazing their knee after they’ve fallen off their heels or broken a nail. IF YOU WANT A DESCRIPTION OF A REAL NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE, COME TALK TO ME!!!!!!!!!! *grits teeth and pulls at hair in extremely frustrated manner*
*coughs* Sorry, just had a bit of a moment there.
- Sometimes I tell Hannah off *draws breath*. YES, I DO! Of course I do. Sometimes, I catch people looking a little surprised at this admission. As if I ought not to correct her. Well, let’s get a little reality check here – Yes, she’s classed as having significant disabilities, but she completely understands when I say ‘no’ (even if she chooses to ignore me) and she knows sometimes when she ought not to do something. So, if she’s about to do something that puts her or someone else at risk of harm, would it be better to have her learn the hard way by hurting herself or someone else (but would she learn, is the question?), or would it be better to teach her? I can’t reason with her, I can’t have an in-depth conversation with her about the pro’s and con’s of her actions and choices, but she knows that my no means NO. Hannah’s getting older and bigger and one day that cuteness will disappear and then it won’t be OK for her to do some of the things she does – throwing things, biting or nipping people etc. People won’t like it then…but when is ‘then’? When will the timescale end? So, is it better to try and ‘teach’ her, as early as I can, what’s OK and not OK, or leave it until it’s too late? So, before you think about tutting or judging the mother telling off the cute kid, just stop. Stop and have a think.
- I get grumpy, really grumpy sometimes…can you tell? *cheesy grin*
So, have I made my case successfully? I do hope so.
Whilst I have lots and lots of things to juggle and worry about and co-ordinate, that doesn’t make me any better (or worse) than anyone else. I’m Annie: Mama to Hannah. Jack of all trades, master of none. I’m human (I think). Completely and utterly imperfect. Just like you are. And I’m winging my way through life and motherhood with a child with significant disabilities and doing the very best that I can for her, because I want to…but undoubtedly making mistakes as I go along. Just like we all do.
I don’t want that pedestal. But thanks anyway.
So, that’s all for this post, my lovelies.
Many thanks, as always, for stopping by,
Until next time
This post is dedicated to all the imperfect people out there. So, erm, I guess that’s all of us then!