Mum-of-four and founder of Martha’s Mother, blogger Natasha North goes on the mother of all guilt trips
While searching eBay for bundles of second-hand clothes, I found myself questioning my parenting ability. Yep, a whole new guilt-ridden low right there. Post-after-post revealed photos of stain, mark, carrot-puree and snot-free ‘used’ children’s clothes – like, they could have been exhibited at The White Company and no one would have batted an eyelid.
Have I been feeding my troupe of three daughters the wrong food? Maybe it’s that organic stuff (at £2 a pop) that doesn’t stain? Yes, I should feed them that. Maybe they’re hand-feeding their young tribes, while I’m cracking out the Cheerios, so I can cobble together the school lunches at the same time.
‘Mother guilt’ is much talked of, but is it just me, who as well as the normal ‘am I playing enough?’, ‘am I teaching enough?’, ‘am I too busy writing blog posts?’ who finds this inane, frustrating, soul-consuming feeling comes from the most random stuff.
I mean honestly, eBay?
This guilt lurks if my child’s water bottle lid is more chewed than all her friends. Why haven’t I bought a new one? What kind of person am I? Who am I? I clearly need to get my priorities straight. I’ve let their toe nails grow too-long and people probably think I don’t bother washing them so slathered in mess they are. The list could go on. (And on).
Well, sorry eBay-seller mums whose kids clothes are immaculate after a YEAR of being worn by a toddler, I refuse to succumb to The White Company shame. I’m taking the whole ‘messy children/happy memories/fun’ route and I’m gonna roll with it.
I will advertise my orange (why is every stain orange?) marked, chew-sleeved, bobbled kids clothes, and no, I won’t be listing it at 99p, oh no, I will start it at £2.50, yes that’s right… £2.50.
Because they are stained with ‘memories’ – writing our name in the sandpit; spotting a robin; realising the difference between ‘red’ and ‘pink’ – and that’s going in the description right there.
For the clean-clothing mamas, I salute you – for always remembering a bib and steering-clear of bolognaise; for being one of the people who always has organic rice cakes in miniature Tupperware.
But for me, I’ll be living with the mess in my new maternal happy place. That is, of course, until I log onto Facebook and the guilt descends once more.