8 December 2016

Huge welcome to...

I love this and I love this girly! She is cool (is it cool to still say cool these days?) and she can write too! 

This is Emma Jane from _mypartyoffive_ on Instagram. I am hoping she will join my Instamum gang? Please say yes!! 



My Mum always told me that if I came  home pregnant before I was 21, she would never speak to me again and I'd be disowned, just like if I was ever to come home and say I was gay, I'd be banished from the family. Two threats I'd lived in fear of as a young girl.

Well, I definitely developed a taste for boys so I knew I wasn't going to disappoint on one count but, when I found out I was pregnant at 19, or rather, my Mum told ME I was pregnant, my initial feeling in my head was "Oh fuck, I'm out". So you can imagine my surprise when she was really excited for me. But in my head I made one decision straight away and an unspoken promise to my unborn baby- if you're gay, go out the re and find a love so deep you won't ever spend a day feeling anything but happiness and, if you end up pregnant before you're 21, so be it, just don't call me Grandma.

Fast forward, I'm now 33 and my little baby is now a blossoming 13 year old little woman. Unfortunately, for the last year, I've had no contact with my Mum. I won't go into the details, I'm trying to leave any negative crap well in the past and sometimes, although you can be family, it doesn't mean you can like each other or agree with the same things. Growing up, I didn't have a great relationship with my Mum and I always promised myself I would be a good Mum, I'd have the relationship with my child that I didn't have with my Mum. I spent most days hating her and wishing I could move out ASAP. I wasn't brought up with masses of affection, I was brought up  constantly making choices between warring parents and being fed stories of the Father who had created me but I never knew, I do know him now and I'm quickly realising that the first rule of parenting is quite simply this, if both parents are no longer together, you fell out of love with each other, not your child, don't make them choose, it's not your place to do that and it's not why you were given the gift of parenting.

Anyway, my point is, I never wanted to make any of the mistakes my Mum made with me. She's had to pay a heavy price from her mistakes by not having me in her life anymore and it's not something I can imagine having to deal with myself, my daughter and I are tighter than a Nuns hymen and that's how it will stay. I don't ever want my daughter to look at me and say "you were a bad Mum" or "you made bad choices Mum, I'm gone".

Fact of the matter is, I HAVE made bad choices in the past but, I've been honest and brave enough to admit them to my daughter in the hope that one day, when she's a Mum herself, she will follow suit and admit her mistakes. I've been called a bad Mother before for being so honest with her, but how is that? How can you call someone a bad Mother for choosing to parent their own way? Very few people know my upbringing and those that do, know why I'm so honest with her. She respects me for it and I know that she is on my wavelength enough to learn from it and register it in her future parent files.

My biggest bad choice is always going to be staying with an ex that she hated and putting myself first. Beth hated him, she saw something in him that I refused to and would make life so difficult for him. I was branded a bad parent for staying with a man she hated and was forever justifying my reasons, I loved him, he never shouted, swore or laid a finger on her, she just hated him because he was encroaching on our life. Eventually, I began to see her point of view and when things did go sour, I vowed never to again be in that situation, if I met a man Beth hated, I would walk away, no matter how hot he was or if he was hung like a donkey. I was off quicker than a glass of milk on a radiator.

When Beth was a baby, I suffered awful PND. Looking back, I'd never really acknowledged just how bad it was until the recent years. I would tell people she was my sisters child, I'd leave her with her Nan for longer periods of time than she would be with me, I even caught myself rocking her in my arms while she slept, crying and trying to work out what I'd do if this beautiful girl had died there and then yet I'd not been able to love her properly.
It was the darkest and most dangerous time for me, I honestly think it was worse than being told by my Consultant that I'd never have another child again and having a hysterectomy aged 29. All the PND memories came flooding back and so did all the guilt, I know it wasn't my fault but I'd never have the chance to make it up to another baby. I couldn't make every second of shitty nappies and cracked nipples count as a blessing instead of a curse.

I was called a parent on so many occasions during the first few years, especially by her Dad who never understood PND and branded me a nut job for not wanting to be around her, eventually, it drove us apart and we'd use horrible words to hurt each other. He'd always use the bad Mum line on me because he knew he could, PND and not confessing how I really felt gave him license to. We get on well now but it's taken us 12 years and we still don't talk about those days, he probably still wouldn't understand how I felt back then so there's just no point. We have to focus on getting our daughter through the teenage years with as little drama and slammed doors as possible instead.
All people saw back then was me going out and leaving Beth at her Nans again, nobody saw it was because I was drowning my sorrows or blocking out the pain I felt, trying to run from the guilt.

I allowed people to brand me, to judge me and hurt me. I allowed it because it felt like the punishment I needed. I didn't need to defend myself, I had nothing to defend or so I believed. Only now, years down the line, I feel I CAN defend my behaviour, there was a reason for it and it's acceptable to shout out about it from the rooftops. Having PND didn't make me a bad Mum, but it made me a better Mum for fighting hard and making sure that now, I can raise her with honesty and say "Your Nanny Pam was the one who helped me raise you", I can accept that I may have made bad choices during that time, but I learnt from them, and THAT is GOOD parenting.

I don't smoke or do drugs, I never drank in front of Beth as a little whipper snapper and it was only about 3 years ago she saw me enjoy a glass of wine for the first time. In fact, she encouraged me and told me "Mum, I'm old enough to see you drink now, I'm not a baby", Beth knows that alcohol makes people turn into a different person and so I still don't really drink in front of her, maybe a few glasses of wine at family gatherings when there's plenty of adults around but I know when to draw the line. For me, getting pissed out of my tree isn't something I feel I want my daughter to see, even if I am a giggly drunk.

I pride myself on the open attitude Beth and I have, she's never been angry with me for the early PND days, in fact, she's grateful because it's made me love her even more now, it gave her a strong bond with her Nanny and she respects that I've not hidden it from her. She knows that when the time comes for her to be a Mum, I will be there for her and support her just as her Nanny Pam did for me, most importantly she knows that having PND and/or making bad choices like choosing dodgy men isn't being a bad Mum, it's being normal. People know I'm a good Mum and often tell me what a good job I'm doing, how she's a credit and they hope they grow up as close as Beth and I. Don't get me wrong, she's a cockwomble at times but it doesn't stop us being close. *insert Mother daughter cliches here and all the social media memes here*

I guess what I'm saying is this, nobody on this Earth has the right to label you a bad Mum. (Unless you are in fact breaking the law and putting your child through unspeakable hell).
It's OK to admit you made mistakes, it's OK to say "Something isn't right" during the dark cloud days and most importantly, it's OK not to follow the rule books. Let's face it, if we are going to call women bad Mums for bad choices, we are all a bunch of shitty, useless, good for nothing bad Mums. Instead of judging each other, take a step back and ask yourself what you can do to help each other, you never know, that bad Mum may well be suffering as much as I was.

There's no manual for being a parent, fancy pictures on Instagram of your child playing in leaves doesn't mean you're the best parent in the world, it means you're doing your fucking best in a world that is too quick to judge and probably making some bad choices along the way. Learn from your mistakes, from your parents mistakes and from your own experiences but never be afraid to admit them.

Rock those bad choice big arse knickers and accept that it's OK to be a bad Mum. It's all the rage.

P.S Beth, thank you for being fully accepting of all the mistakes I've ever made and always focusing on the good that I do, and, but please, stay as you are and continue to run in the opposite direction of a willy for the next 40 years, I'm still learning to be a Mum, I can't deal with Grandparenthood too. Love you xxx

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