And as many of you know I always intended to be a "working" mum, and despite special needs, I succeeded until the bankers, builders and politicians plunged this country into recession and both my job and my support system vanished. My job wasn't perfect, there were boring days, difficult people, impossible time-scales, stupid decisions - some of them by me - but the feeling of being competent and doing a good job that was valued and rewarded made up for all that. I don't think that I ever got promoted in work to my level of incompetence as per the Peter Principle. No, that has happened on the domestic front instead. You could say that it's my fault for being greedy and daring to have a third child, knowing that I already had one with complex special needs.
Overseas friends used to comment on how much I was "into" my kids. Yet I am not that endlessly giving self sacrificing mum who worships her kids and would do things for them 24/7. The home was never my preferred territory: for most of my career I also had a cleaner (please don't judge me) and a husband who could fix anything. Since December 2008, I have been trying to manage all the cleaning, fixing, and children stuff myself: like many other lone parents. And until January 2011, I thought I was doing okay, at least on the parenting front. Since then I have had hours or even weeks when I thought I had finally found the answer, but I've always been proved wrong. Recently wine time has been cancelled in case that was affecting my ability to be calm and patient, but even that "drastic" measure doesn't seem to have helped so far. Just this morning, two important activities have been rejected. Cue a series of apologetic texts and phone calls. I don't know what I did wrong: maybe I used the wrong words, picked the wrong time, used the wrong tone, but even if I can work out my mistakes, the goal posts keep changing. What works today may be wrong tomorrow.
So yes, at home I feel totally incompetent, and it's not a comfortable feeling. Nor is it good for me to feel like this, nor will it help me to become a better mother. It can be the first step to sliding back into depression. The only thing I can think of is to try and celebrate all those moments when I do something that goes right. I would set up a linky, but the blogging world is a *bit* overcrowded with them right now, so I will just add them to my reasons to be cheerful each week. Apart from this week, when I offer you the following example:
During a recent car journey, I needed to top up the windscreen wash and the top came off the washer bottle container and disappeared into the tangled confusion of a hot engine. But I managed to rescue it with the help of an umbrella and a mobile phone app!
And even the act of writing that has made me feel better...
What made you feel competent this week?