Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Good Enough

Today started with rain. And having to wait in for the man to deposit Sam's computer. I busied myself with the usual - laundry, ironing, getting the toy dinosaurs down from the attic, putting the big Lego back up in the attic, making beds - all the while feeling the urge to get outside and stretch my legs. Olly was tetchy. It's unlike him to be so miserable, but today was definitely an off day for him. The dog was in a mood too. She led on the sofa, with a face like a bag of spanners. Waiting for her walk no doubt. Not understanding that she had to wait in too.

So after a quick trip to the supermarket, we set off. The weather was still looking doubtful, but it had stopped raining. I thought that it might be nice to walk up to the very top of town, and along Towednack Road. We live at the top of The Stennack, the hill that leads up and out of St Ives. Once you get to us, the hill flattens out and the walk is good for little legs that are carrying a miserable child.

We walked along the wall by the wasteland that was once a garage, and found a snail. We thought it would be a good idea to put him on top of a stone pillar and see if he was still there when we walked back (he wasn't. Which confounded Pops). We walked past the Leach Pottery, and it dawned on me that I have never had a poke around there before. I decided that I would visit after half term, but on my own. Pottery and a whirligig four year old are not a good mix. We stopped and had a look at the engines that were being cleaned by the firemen, and posted a birthday card. Both usually enjoyable activities. Not today. We carried on. I suggested that we stop at Consols Pond, and have a drink. We sat on a bench, drank juice and ate pretzels and looked for nature. Pops wanted to see lizards. Of course he did. He was most put out that there weren't any to be seen. Quite vocally in fact.

But we soldiered on. Along Towednack Road. The sun broke free of the clouds, but that just made Pops too hot. We did see an Orange Tip butterfly, which was flitting amongst the gorgeous flowery hedgerows that line the road. But no lizard. And now we were tired and dragging our legs and wanting to go home. Admitting defeat, we turned back. All the while lamenting that our feet were wet from jumping in so many puddles, and that we were too hot to breathe. And that we wanted a wee. Now.

Finally we were home. I sat Pops down and switched on CBeebies. I made myself a cup of tea and plonked the Quaking Grass into an old bit of pottery. Sam was asleep in the conservatory. Clearly his Politics exam had worn him out. After about half an hour of staring at the television, Pops suddenly jumped up out of his seat. He grabbed some crafty bits and made a picture. Then he got out his cars and made an assault course for them. He was all smiles and chatter. I breathed a slow sigh of relief.

I've been reflecting on today.

Pops just wanted a quiet day at home. Hanging out and flitting from toy to toy. I sometimes lose sight of the fact that just because we haven't done anything, doesn't mean we haven't done anything. I have a need to make sure that Pops has a great childhood, and I forget to consider whether what we are dong is what he wants to do too. We had a really wonderful weekend. But it was busy. It was full of sun and sea and surf. It was later than usual bedtimes and lots of adventures for a little boy. And yesterday he had nursery, which is always full of doing.

So perhaps today was meant to be one of those staying at home days. Those pottering days that restore and recharge us all. I am constantly striving to be the best Mum I can be, when good enough will usually do. I'm not too good at all those clubs and planned activities for children. I was secretly relieved when Sam and Alfie wanted to give up their swimming lessons. I found the implicit competitiveness of other Mums too stressful. And I felt that I wasn't good enough in that kind of arena. So I started to do things my way. But my way can be just as hard sometimes. I'm competing with myself to do the best for them. I feel the need to fill their days with stuff. I'm at home, so I have the time. The old stay at home Mum conundrum rearing it's head from time to time.

So my new mantra: I am good enough. I shall say it to myself daily.

Leanne xx


  1. You SHOULD say it to yourself daily. L is not a go-outer and it took me longer than it should have to understand that was was right for him was what made him happy, regardless of the dancing classes/ gymnastic classes/ french classes/ guitar classes/ piano classes that so many of his friends were doing. He is nearly 13 now, and has a sense of humour to die for, and knows what he wants, what brings him peace and contentment and is able to articulate it better than many of the friends who did the dancing/ gymnastics/ french etc until they had no time that wasn't constructed for them. Don't let other mum's pressures weigh on you my dear- you have a sense of humour and your little ones comes first- sounds like a pretty good version of motherhood to me x

  2. Hi Leanne. You are most definitely more than good enough. Personally, I am relieved with every paid and organised activity that is dropped, and that includes music lessons. I get tetchy when we don't DO anything (walks, painting, going to far away playgrounds, empty the dishwasher) and yet I quite like chilling out. It is just that I don't always understand that the rest of my family does, too. I am sure you'll understand what I mean even if written down it doesn't make any sense. Christina xx

  3. doesn't 'getting up' count! sheeez i thought it did!!! you do a fab job, this place is a wash with glitter, craft and walks xxx

  4. There is NOTHING wrong with doing what you do or not in just the way that you do it. Spending time together, at home out and about or doing nothing or something, that is not as important as doing it together. I am pretty sure that no child remembers the details of what they did, but they do remember Mum being there with them, and you do that really well! xx

  5. I think you're doing great. This is a very hard job. It feels utterly thankless sometimes. Actually, it feels that way a lot. He knows you love him and that's why he feels free to show dissatisfaction, I think. It's a safe place for him to be himself. You're more than good enough and he knows this better than anyone.

  6. You're right, sometimes they are so very happy pootling about at home, making things, playing imaginary games, relaxing in their own space. Sometimes it's me that needs a change of scenery! You're a top mum Leanne, those boys are having the very best childhood I could imagine. And changing the subject, I had no idea your doggie looked like that, for some reason I thought she was a labrador! What a cute pretty little thing she is.

  7. We often charge off to make the most of every minute and sometimes just being at home doing all the normal, regular things is important too. We're battling against the thought of BigR starting school in September and our free and easy approach to nursery and being places is challenged! You're more than good enough for your family Leanne :-)

  8. That sounds like a very sensible mantra and one so many of us can adopt!! I know exactly what you mean by the whole social activities for kids and organised events, it has NEVER been my forte and if I am honest I STILL dread going when I need to, (which is a great deal less these days, thankfully). I felt just like you, and the problem was that I always came home beating myself up for not doing the right thing or saying the right thing or for not being good enough. We can be so darn hard on ourselves sometimes, why. You are absolutely right, love yourself and tell yourself you are good enough, as you certainly are dear!! xoxo

  9. Leanne, you are a FAB mum, that's all i'm going to put, as i agree with all of the comments posted,
    Keep smiling, i know it's hard at times,but you're doing a great job
    Best Wishes
    Sue xx

  10. I've read all these comments, and all I want to add is Amen! Everyone has put it so well, and said so many kind things that it's like listening in on the best mother's meeting ever. You're very lucky Leanne to have such a great group of blogging friends, and by sharing so honestly it helps us all to keep going x

  11. I think you do a brilliant job of meeting everyone's differing needs, honestly. You're more than good enough, you're bloody marvellous. X