The ‘mum guilt’ is a wily mistress; she creeps up on you when you least expect it. You think you’ve got over the fact you’ve moved from boob to bottle (feeding, I must add) and then the furrowed brow emerges once again. From not pureeing enough carrots to sticking your kid in front of Paw Patrol when an urgent work email lands, it’s a slippery, never-ending slope of maternal concern and wanting to bag the prize for excellence, not just effort.
While I’ve ditched all the vegetable-related concern, perhaps the worst guilty displeasure I’ve encountered since growing a human is feeling like I’ve let my troop of mates down. Pre-splashdown I was ricocheting from Nandos dinner date to post-breakup hugs with the dedicated enthusiasm of an E-colour-fuelled toddler. I rarely let anyone down; I was a friend with vodka benefits. I prided myself on creating bespoke photo albums for my clan and being the last one to leave a mate’s birthday to ensure she hooked up with the right squeeze.
At the moment one thing has been on my to-do-list for too long is, ‘buy Melissa present’. Melissa is one of my closest friends; we met in Amsterdam five years ago and I have heady memories of us cycling hand-in-hand (it took some balance and a lot of hash cake) through those cobbled streets. She was there for me when I miscarried, she was there for me (fizzy sweets in hand) when I had a horrific day at work that left me snot bubbling into her cashmere jumper. She was (and is) a top notch mate.
Melissa had her baby in December last year. I still haven’t managed to meet that little extension of this wonderful woman. For numerous reasons we’ve both been unable to make timings it work. The last time I was struck with cystitis and literally had to choose the toilet over my mate – dark friendship times.
I think it was at that point that I just went ‘feck it’. I might not be there in person but that doesn’t mean I can’t offer up the same heartfelt love on par with those fizzy cola bottles she proffered up in Amsterdam. As a former Horticulture Week reporter (it followed on from a successful stint on Practical Caravan), I do love a bloom. Even if the rest of my life or house is a shambles, a knock-out perennial can lift a mood/room in a flash.
So I pressed the button on Bloom & Wild’s flower delivery service and off they went. Straight to her door, through her letterbox (yep, they are flat-packed and land in top nick) and into her hands with the message ‘I love you. That is all.’ (Ironically I saw her the following day so could deliver a bosomy hug; the flowers were like a conciliatory amuse bouche in many ways.)
While it might not be a Nandos dinner date or a massive mash-up in town, it was me reaching out to her so that we were once again wobbling along on those old Dutch bikes totally out of our minds but undeniably happy.
It’s time to truly knock guilt on the head – power to the flower, indeed.
This blog post was written in partnership with Bloom & Wild.