independent

Friday 25 April 2014

'I made the mistake of trying to be Supermom'

Whenever a friend becomes a parent for the first time, I tell them all the clichés are true – that being a parent is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me; my children are my greatest joy, my heart, the loves of my life.

What I don't tell them is that being a mother has, on occasion, constituted the worst times of my life. There have been periods of intense boredom, relentless monotony and endless frustration.

I can still remember the darkness of one particularly rainy afternoon when I thought I would break down in tears if asked to play one more game of 'Let's Pretend'.

I recognise that back then I was my own worst enemy: a supermom determined to do it all – stay-at-home mother, freelance journalist, and domestic goddess – and all with zero help.

Back then I was also surrounded by the worst of the uber-mom elite. Mothers who seemed to do nothing else but "engage" with their babies all day. When my first child, Liam, was a baby I thought I was meant to play "at eye level" with him all day, that to ever ignore him was a disservice.

I was saved by women who told me that hovering 24/7 over my child was getting both of us nowhere, and by our extraordinary pediatrician, a woman who is part doctor, part mentor. Her mantra, the one I repeat every day, has been to simply love my children. Nothing more, nothing less.

So that's what I do. I love sweet and gentle Liam (8), a history buff who loves the American Civil War.

And his tomboy sister, Caoimhe (5), our wild spark who, despite a tough exterior still goes weak at the knees for a fluffy stuffed animal.

And finally, mischievous Neasa, just 10 brief months on this planet but already the centre of our world.

Three unique individuals, and the resounding answer to Jessica Valenti's question: Why Have Kids?

Caitriona Palmer

Irish Independent

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