Or at least that is the impression I have been given by a few people over the last 17 months, mostly, I might add, people whose names I don’t know and am fairly sure don’t know mine. This is fine with me.
Here is a list of just some reasons why I am a bad mother:
I didn’t give my daughter a ‘proper’ name.
Seriously. After asking Tori’s name a bloke in co-op had a bit of a rant about people not giving their children ‘proper’ names any more, only silly modern ‘made-up’ names (‘Tori’ being an example). He was really quite passionate about it. Not sure he was overly impressed when I pointed out that ‘Tori’ was a name previously used in my family by someone who is now in their 80s but I felt I had an obligation to point this out. – ‘Yes, well, it should have been ‘Victoria’, then you could shorten it.’ True. But really, what would have been the point in adding all the extra letters if we were never going to use them? And we didn’t like Victoria anyway, we liked Tori (because Daddy is obsessed with Tori Amos for a start…).
I encourage my daughter’s use of the word ‘Taa’
Tori hands me something, I say ‘Taa’. I hand Tori something, I try and get her to say ‘Taa’. Simple.
BUT YOU MUST NOT DO THIS YOU TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE MOTHER!
Apparently, by encouraging Tori to say ‘Taa’ and not ‘Thank You’ at this early stage in her life I am leading her headlong into a life of being impolite and rude, not to mention speeding up the degregation of the English language.
I thought stopping and saying ‘Taa’ was better than snatching and running off, but maybe I’m mistaken…
She wears blue.
And not just any blue. Blue dresses are acceptable but blue jeans, a neutral or red t-shirt (she looks great in red) and jumper and trainers? Good grief. What am I thinking? She’s going to grow up to be utterly gender confused.
Because, clearly, no-one female ever wears anything other than pink or dresses. Every day.
Also on this non-gender defining subject: her room is painted green, her bedsheets, carpet and curtains are cream and brown (with cute teddies, not in a nasty boring way) some of her blankets and stuff are even, God forbid, blue. The poor child doesn’t stand a chance. She is going to think she is a boy, or gender-neutral, or possibly a teddy-bear…
I don’t feed her enough and breastfed for too long.
Tori is small, I know. But she isn’t skinny by a long shot. However, this is not down to her inheriting my short genes and just being a bit of a midget like Mummy. Oh no, this is because ‘you didn’t give her formula as well as breastmilk and she should have been having baby rice when she was 8 weeks old. Then she would have grown properly.’
Anyone who thinks I’m not feeding Tori enough should try picking her up. She is a brick. Small but solid. And she eats like nothing I’ve ever seen – I assure you, she is not going hungry. And all that stuff about breastfeeding not being enough? Um…how exactly did the human race get to this point if breastfeeding wasn’t sufficient? I don’t see cave drawings of Cow & Gate formula anywhere… (I totally have nothing against formula feeding by the way, I just have something against being told breastfeeding is wrong).
I let Tori ‘mingle’
I have had MANY comments on my willingness to let other people have a cuddle and take her for wanders round where-ever-we-happen-to-be but it’s not like I let her go off with strangers anywhere I don’t know. Yes, I let her toddle around in the church hall after the service when everyone is having coffee and don’t complain if someone picks her up for a hug or holds her hand whilst she drags them over to the biscuit table to beg for scraps. (The puppy-dog eyes and plea for ‘bisbis’ works every time – I dread to think how many biscuits she sneaks in before we get home some weeks…) So yes, she’s a wanderer and I let her have cuddles with pretty much anyone so long as I know who they are but she’s not shy now and doesn’t seem too worried if Mummy has to vanish for five minutes to do something or speak to someone and she is left with other people. In fact, she revels in it, beaming and babbling away. Something I find myself being quite proud of as she holds her audience and steadily wraps them round her little finger.
I never leave her with anyone I don’t trust or let her wander anywhere that isn’t safe. But I do give her freedom. Apparently I shouldn’t.
I fed my guinea-pigs when it was snowy.
This is possibly my favourite. My guinea-pigs live in a hutch at the other side of our yard where they are sheltered from the worst of the weather under a garagey/lean-to type thing. It’s probably all of about twenty paces from our door to the hutch.
One evening during the snow last December I was walking across the yard clutching a couple of carrots and two freshly de-frosted water bottles ready to tuck Squidge, Spike, Tufty and Gingerbread in for the night when a loud, outraged voice almost gave me a heart-attack.
“You shouldn’t be walking outside in this weather! You should be inside sitting down. Make someone else come outside. How could you be so careless and irresponsible in your condition?”
Me: *blank look* “I’m feeding my guinea-pigs. Not that it has anything to do with you.”
It was just some random woman I totally didn’t recognise who happened to be walking past the gate as I crossed the yard.
I forgot that once you become obviously pregnant you have to sit still and be waited on hand-and-foot. I should have let the guinea-pigs freeze and starve, I see that now. Equally, I should never have dared walk down the gritted and cleared pavements to the Co-op to get food for my family during the snowy period. Careless and irresponsible. Utterly. I’m sure we could have scraped by on mouldy bread and tinned carrots…
I still take Tori to the park.
Yesterday I decided to walk Tori to the park and the local shop and back. By this I mean put her reins on and let her have a bit of a wander – she was so full of beans I was desperate to use up some energy. So off we went, all wrapped up and fluffy looking.
I pick Tori up to put her on the slide. Cue voice from behind: “You shouldn’t be out with her on your own in your condition and doing things like that.”
Things like what? The slide is little more than waist height and I pick Tori up all the time…it’s a necessity – I’m her Mum.
And I really hate the phrase ‘your condition’ – I’m pregnant, not ill. It sounds like I’ve got something wrong with me.
Anyway, I digress. I turned to look at random woman walking past play area and said, intelligently, “Oh.”
She tutted at me and walked off.
I hadn’t realised having a second child meant I had to stop looking after my first child during pregnancy. I now see the error of my ways thanks to random woman. (Though if I’m honest the whole walking to the shop thing *was* a terrible idea. By the time we got back I felt like I’d run a mile and Tori was high as a kite rather than asleep as I had hoped…)
These are the confessions of a terrible mother. And guess what, I’m sure when BabyBump arrives I’ll be just as rubbish all over again.
I’m a bad Mother – are you?