Not even close to perfect

I managed to get both kids to sleep at the same time today. It’s difficult to describe just how great I felt at this momentous achievement. I am guessing (obviously, I mean look at me) that it feels exactly the same when you reach the summit of Mount Everest. Euphoric. Slightly out of breath. Sweaty.

I was so smug about it I felt like I deserved a glass of wine – but I didn’t have one since it was only 1pm and even though it has been a hard week I can’t quite justify 1pm wine. Maybe tomorrow.

So instead of wine I went on Facebook which is nowhere near as satisfying as wine. I was scrolling through and I saw this:


God give me strength. As if any child playing outside looks like that. And the actual message here – Just eff off mate. You don’t have to be making memories every fucking second of every fucking day. So you don’t have TV, awesome. I didn’t have TV for the first 10 months. Then I got it and I can’t even put into words how much better my life is. Sometimes I see articles about people who marry appliances and for a second I look at my TV and think…well…

I digress (really, I’m sorry if you got a mental image then).

Look, you’re clearly a better mother than I. You win. I’m not even interested in playing because I would lose my damn mind if I didn’t have television to entertain my toddler for half an hour while I do eight loads of washing and feed my baby. Yes, there are other ways I could keep him occupied, but TV works best. So that’s what I do.

Just going to keep scrolling and……serious…right…now?



Well I definitely remember being drunk as all Hell playing Crash Bandicoot when I was 17 so I just don’t agree with that at all.


A few minutes? That’s all I need to give them? Why didn’t someone tell me sooner. I have been spending all day with the little *ahem* angels.  I’ve been *grits teeth* respectfully parenting for every single second, of every minute, or every hour, of every day. And trust me, I’ve felt every minute.

Deep breath. Keep scrolling.


I’ve got to be grateful for stretch marks now?

Where does it end?

What is the purpose of these damn trolling Pinterest meme things? If they’re not to make you feel like shit or feel sanctimonious then they’re failing. Because that’s literally the only two reactions you can have to these things.

Like if you see that one and say ‘Yeah! Tiger Stripes! I earned these! I’m grateful every second of every day and I’m a good person!’ cool. You do you. More power to you.

And also, I seriously believe loving your body can be a revolutionary act. That’s not my point here.

When I read it I’m like – you know what? I’m a feminist. I am all about body positivity. I rocked a bikini when I was preggo. And some days I hate my body. I loathe it. I try really, really hard to feel good about how I look after two kids. But it’s really hard. Some days I really hate my body. And you know what – I sometimes resent my kids because my body feels and looks so ruined some days. There, I said it. I’m clearly a monster. I should take my children to the firehouse and drop them off so someone with higher self esteem than me can take them. That’ll teach me.


I can’t even. I tried to even. And I couldn’t even even.

Can we please inject some reality into these? Good god. You can be you. You can be an imperfect parent. You don’t have to be a Pinterest mum who does everything right all of the time. I lose my shit sometimes (often) and yell at my husband. I say sorry. Our marriage is fine.

I get so damn frustrated with my son when he absolutely refuses to change out of a pair of shorts when it’s two degrees outside and we miss the bus and the whole day feels ruined. It’s OK to get frustrated sometimes! My son is seeing that mama is a real person who gets tired and frustrated some times. He also sees that mama still loves him because this is just life – people get upset. It doesn’t mean they don’t care!

It’s OK to call your baby a little asshole under your breath when it’s 3am and they’ve woken up for the fifteenth time and you are totally exhausted. You’re still getting up and cuddling them, feeding them, loving them. You’re allowed to be shitty about not getting sleep. You’re not allowed to put the Moses basket outside and let neighbourhood cats raise your child.

It’s alright to throw your kids at your partner as soon as they walk through the door after a day of work. You’re allowed to have bad days. People have bad days at work, you’re allowed to have bad days because you’re working too. It’s just that your employers are tiny tyrants who won’t eat fruit.

You’re not a bad parent because you put on TV or let your kid play on the iPad or the computer or the playstation or if you don’t make it outside for four days because the weather is shit and YOU ARE JUST TIRED. Being tired doesn’t make you a bad parent. A bit of “screen time” *vom* won’t kill your kid. You’re a grown ass adult – you know what moderation is.

I’m not a great parent every minute of every day. Sometimes I’m only an adequate parent for an entire day. A week. Other times I ace that shit and when both kids are asleep at the end of the day I think ‘damn, I’m good at this!’ But you know what the truth is – kids don’t need perfect parents. They just need people who love them to look after them and help them grow. Having a TV, hating your stretchmarks sometimes, being exhausted – that’s OK. These are not inherently bad things. They definitely don’t make you a bad parent.

I just want permission to be the parent I am. Tired but trying. Desperately in love with my kids. Failing often but never intentionally. I am teaching my children, but they’re also teaching me. We’re a work in progress and that’s OK.

So I’m just going to sneakily paint Facebook with my own messages. The Not Perfect And Actually OK With That edition of Pinterest parenting crap.




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35 Comments on “Not even close to perfect

  1. We struggled through the early years, boy who ate everything, literally, and the girl who slept in 45 minute sprints.

    I hate to be the harbinger of bad news but then you get to the double digits, the ‘need’ for a cellphone, them a few years later your complete angst about drugs, and thing’s that’ll derail them.

    Then, now, they are in the double digits and are mostly humans and decent people.

    I wish I’d have sent you the user manual, it would have made it so much easier…

    oh and MrsPhil did most of the heavy lifting, for which she never got enough credit, but I’m paying for it now.

  2. Love. And have pinned those images to Pinterest 🙂

    I hope you’ve seen this, too?

  3. I have great childhood memories of watching TV especially, the cartoon version of Lotd of the Rings, Narnia and The Goonies. I also have great memories of playing Superbomber Man and Mario Kart with my friends on the SNES. I have seen those posters too. Initially they made me feel guilty then I thought about all the psychological problems that people that create and spread this guilt inducinv bullshit probably have.

    • Clearly your mother wasn’t a good mother if your memories aren’t only of frolicking through the rainforest and enjoying nature Abi!

  4. I really needed to read this today – thank you. My family would have had a happier day if I’d turned on the TV earlier instead of trying stupid craft activities that lead to me throwing a tantrum bigger than any my kid has put on: ‘your scissors are not a goddam pterodactyl!’.

    • Oh Harriet! I cracked up. I so know how you feel. Today we made magnets – except E lost interest within 30 seconds and threw glitter everywhere and put a brown handprint on the wall (from mixing ALL THE COLOURS) and I lost it. Thank God for Bob the Builder so I could clean up. He was practically a qualified builder by the end of today after how many episodes he had to watch while I scrubbed the wall.

  5. I had some very bad parenting days when my children were little. It really is a very very tough time: long days and broken nights and some moments of pure joy.

    I hate preachy memes too. Of any sort of preachiness. Mostly I like grammar nerd jokes.

  6. I’m not a parent and never will be one but god those initial pictures are condescending, aren’t they! I imagine if you line them all up you’d have much to the contrary between them. Your ones are much better.

  7. Thank you for this. Every time I see this shit on FB I think, “are you effing serious?”
    Example A from a few days ago “I carried a child within my body. I slept with them on my chest. I have wiped away tears, I have been vomited on, peed on, and spent sleepless nights holding my child but I wouldn’t change any of it because I am a mom this is my calling and it’s what I love to do!”

    What kind of sicko deviant loves being vomited on? A show of hands….anyone? Anyone really into having puke in their hair? No? Hmmm, must not be any *real* moms in the house I guess…

    There are times I really like being a mother and there are times I really don’t. It’s sure as fuck not my “calling” whatever that means, and if I could go back in time and make it so I dodged some of those urine fountains or projectile vomit geysers then I WOULD DO MYSELF A SOLID and get out of the damn way. Or put a tarp down. Because I actually like myself.

    Each time I see one of these crappy, holier than thou pieces of crap on my timeline from now on I will be retaliating with one of your no bullshit “affirmations”.

    • My 11 month old is about a week into her first nasty cold. She doesn’t like the nose-sucky bulb doodad. She doesn’t like me wiping her face with a tissue or a muslin. She thinks it’s funny when I blow my nose, but also thinks that taking all of the tissues out of the box then shredding them is a good game. So far, the only place she voluntarily wipes her nose is on her hands (which she then wants to rub her eyes with immediately after… So far I seem to be doing an adequate job at cleaning her up before she gets an eye infection) – or on me. My shoulder, my chest, my face, my hair… It’s gross and I’m not happy about it, continue to try to keep her face mopped up with things which are not me or my clothing – but I accept that at this present time, this is part of motherhood. I love the smiles, the way she snuggles into me, how she already loves reading, how excited she gets, her little speeches, the funny, engaging, friendly person who I have the honour of mothering… I don’t love the feeling guilty because I really need to wash my hair and she doesn’t want me to leave her, the bits involving bodily fluids (or solid excretions, for that matter), the incredibly broken sleep, the back and shoulder pain, the no free time…

  8. Hurrah! I love your memes as much as I hate those condescending, supercilious, sneering ones. There’s this whole industry or even cult of guilt that we are forced to navigate when we become parents. It’s ridiculous!

    I worked in child protection and youth justice for the first ten years of my life as a parent and boy does that reinforce perspective. When you’ve seen actual neglect, criminal neglect of a child that has stunted their development to an irreparable degree, then it just becomes downright laughable that someone should liken sitting your kid in front of age appropriate TV for half an hour.

    I lived without a TV for the first six months of my life as a mother (as well as several months before) and I was very glad we had a TV by the time the toddler stage happened. You cannot stimulate and interact with a child for their every waking minute. Doesn’t that child also need to be fed? Need clean clothes? Benefit from a hygienic house? Well that means they need you to have time for chores. My kids barely napped past 7 months and most had outgrown daytime naps before 18 months. Napping time was inadequate. They had to then either sit in a bouncy chair watching me do laundry or sit in front of the TV watching something somewhat educational but mostly stimulating. I think the latter is the better option.

    My kids get plenty of outdoor play, craft and art time. We do lots of “memory making” as a family. But they also get lots of “screen time” – and I do call it that because I can’t be arsed clarifying whether it’s TV, video game, computer or kindle. If they want to rest up physically while being entertained then that’s cool with me. It’s about finding a balance after all. My kids wouldn’t opt to be in front of a screen for all their free time anyway and I see them benefiting from their screen based activities anyway should I ever be hauled to the Hall of Judgemental Parenting and asked to justify my attitude to rearing my young.

    Oh and the “inspirational” Cobain quotation? I actually have no adequate words.

  9. That first picture is brilliant. “Kids don’t remember their best day of television”

    Seriously your offended by this? They’re not saying that you have to turn off the TV and create memories each day. They’re not saying “Bad parent, for putting on a Zack and Cody episode”

    I don’t see at as judgmental at all.

    Out of interest, have you read any of Calvin and Hobbes?

    • I know there are mums who are into these pictures, they wouldn’t be all over my Facebook feed if people didn’t like them. I’m just not into them. No big deal. As I said, you do you.

    • Yeah, nah, that first picture is about as judgemental as it’s possible to be without banging a gavel.

  10. Danielle:

    Perhaps its just me then, thought it was harmless.

    • Why bring TV into it? What purpose can the caption serve, unless it’s a commentary on kids who watch “too much” television (and, by extension, the parents who let them)? I mean, I dunno. Maybe you’re confident enough not to take any notice of being constantly judged on your parenting, but a lot of us aren’t so lucky.

  11. Danielle:

    I just think the person who did this meme wasn’t trying to be negative, or be judgmental against parents, probably more of a loving nature, outdoor type.

  12. faaaaark I’m gonna be so appreciative of every little piece of wisdom you have to give me, when it comes to having kids. You really get it. Thanks for writing about your experiencing, lady <3

  13. Wow oh wow.

    Again I think those memes are just about trying to make people feel good, not handing out advice to parents what you should or shouldn’t do.

    • Yep I think you’ve made your point Natalie. This post isn’t meant to upset anyone so let’s leave it there aye?

  14. Love it! Today I’ve resorted to Peppa Pig so that I could hang out another load of washing, empty the bins, change the small one into his 3rd outfit of the day (nothing to do with sartorial elegance, more his ability to fill his nappy until it burst with alarming regularity) and make a cup of coffee that I never even got around to drinking because the eldest decided that every single piece of Duplo that he owns should be spread around the house so that he can play with it wherever he is. At some point I’m going to have to find the energy to cook tea before the husband gets home from work having tried to disguise some vegetables so that the toddler will eat the things. Yes, I love being a mum but it’s bloody hard work and I feel slightly trapped in this role. At some point soon I’ll be able to escape back to work, be able to go to the loo on my own and get around to finishing cups of coffee!

  15. Oh gold!! So much to love and laugh about in this post, but the memes are what really got me giggling. Seriously clever stuff. Your newest follower, Michaela 🙂

  16. You know, I actually do have great memories of playing video games as a kid, so suck it, sanctimonious Pinterest memes. I have equally great memories of playing outdoors, and playing with dolls, and messy play. Moderation, as you said! I definitely resort to TV and tablets as a sanity saver, especially as my 4 year old loves to climb into bed with me while I’m trying to get the 18 month old down for a nap, and of course the 18 month old then wants to see what his brother is doing. It’s adorable, yes, but not conducive to napping, so off he gets sent to watch a screen. And that is fine 🙂

  17. LMFAO … Yet again, your writing style cracks me up.

    In all honesty (though I hate that expression – what else would I do – lie about it), I kinda understand the point of the memes about telly and video games. I think they’re more targeted at parents who just constantly use those things as babysitters and never take their kids outdoors.

    But I admit I’m a “bad” parent. I intended to never let my bubs watch TV until she was at least two years old, and then it would only be for half-an-hour to begin with. Blah blah, yeah yeah. I fell pregnant again when she was six months old. I find TV sometimes is my saviour. When you have those days where you have endless loads of washing and she goes through a clingy stage, the only way to get things done is to pop The Wiggles on or something. I feel kinda guilty when she hands me the remote like a pro and looks at the TV – she’s only one year old and knows how the frickin’ remote works, albeit needs me to actually press the button. I feel a bit guilty every time my partner rings me and he hears the telly in the background (though bless him for not saying anything about it).

    I want to do a lot of things with my girl. I want to take her outdoors. I want to go on walks. I want to do arts and crafts. But she’s one year old and I’m heavily pregnant and freakin’ tired.

    And yeah I get over some of those vomit-worthy memes. I even get sick of the “Those aren’t stretch marks, you’re a goddamn tiger who’s earned her stripes” one that I see CONSTANTLY. I understand it’s meant to make women feel better. But what on earth is wrong with looking at your body and going, yep, okay, I’m a little damaged after carrying a growth for nine months – without having to make some empowering meme about it. Why do we need the constant validation and euphemisms? And stuff about feeling grateful that you’ve been pooped and peed on and vomited over. That just makes women who have a hard time coping with a baby (like, 97% of us) feel like ungrateful shits.

    I get the point of the memes, but I also get the whole, “I’ve had enough!” feeling.

    • I hear you. I reckon we all use our TVs as baby sitters at one point or another so I think the memes are totally pointless. It’s concern trolling. If these meme makers were really worried about kids who watch TV 24-7 they’d question why that might be happening, support charities that help get kids outside more and support parents who might be having a tough time, do more to connect women with each other. Judgemental memes don’t help anyway. And one person’s “too much” TV is fine for another person. I reckon we should trust mums and if we are actually concerned then help the mum instead of rushing to Pinterest!

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  19. “Kids Don’t Remember their Best Day of TV” … maybe not. But perhaps that’s because it was so bloody good. Why, I do remember when my partner and I bought our first X-Box. It was the middle of Summer, it was before we had children. Life was one long fantastically ignorant daydream of having all-our-time-to-ourselves. Dick Smith (the electronics store, yes, that’s its real name) gleamed almost lasciviously in the hot sun. In the carpark, we debated the purchase in a brief and token kind of way. How could we justify this outlay? One of us had a credit card that wasn’t yet maxed out (yes, this is the stuff of daydreams, did I mention?). We did it. And, yea verily, it is somewhat true that I don’t remember one single day of that Summer. But hell, it was good. The Best Days Combined Together to Form a Single Season that I will never remember. Ah, if only I can hand on that particular type of amnesia to my two children. I will die happy.

  20. I have two cats. Whilst pregnant, I threatened to use them as babysitters and palm off a large part of my daughter’s upbringing to them.

    They’re very good with her in small, carefully monitored doses, and she adores them, but she does try to make grabby hands. They cope with her shrieking excitedly and waving at them, and respond to the few occasions where I don’t manage to intervene before she grabs a limb or tail before I can stop her by retreating, but it would be utterly unfair to ask them to babysit… So I have to raise her!