Monday, 27 October 2008

Is It Just How The Cookie Crumbles?

Saturday found me doing my best impression of Natural Born Mummy, baking Halloween shaped cookies with Small Child. As a hangover from my career days I congratulated myself on my multi tasking approach to this scenario. Not only was I doing something that I find totally alien, i.e. letting Small Child make a mess in the kitchen but I was also embracing a festival (albeit an American one that seems to be sneaking it's way further into our culture year upon year), in a very Natural Born Mummy fashion indeed!

In my opinion, and others have disagreed with me on this matter which is kind of comforting, I think I am officially missing the NBM gene. I try my hardest to be a good mum and most of the time I do a good job but here's the thing... lean in cos I'm going to whisper it...... it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm whispering because being an NBM is to the noughties what being a yuppy was to eighties. Only, the red braces have been replaced with slings that hold your child steadfast to your bosom, stiletto's have been superseded by Crocks, pads have slipped from your shoulders into your bra because everyone HAS to breast feed and heaven forbid if you are not at least a member of one mother and baby activity group that involves teaching your little one to sign/play an instrument/swim under water aged 2 weeks/crochet pot holders!

The more I read lately, the more I see the whole "You can be a working mum and have it all" concept being shunned for the option to stay at home and be a "Have it all/make it all/do it all Super Mum"! Don't get me wrong - I think we should choose to do whatever is right for us as individuals and bugger what anyone else thinks.  Having tried both I much prefer my current mix of less work, more Small Child time. It's just that, like my cookies, I just crumble under the pressure sometimes! I really try and be Laid Back Mummy but find myself trying to retain vestiges of control that really aren't appropriate when you have kids!

I hate it when Small Child makes a mess! Art/cooking/creative stuff always has to be done in a controlled, supervised environment and leaves me hopping about like Monica at a cocktail party without drinks coasters! I'm sure you would have laughed if you'd seen the look on my face as I let her spoon the icing sugar into the Magimix and watched in despair as little clouds fluttered to the floor, via the worktop/stool/apron/my feet! 
I lose my patience far more than I should when we get into those debates that only come with a three and a half year old girl who wants to do dolly steps to the bathroom when you're itching to get downstairs for a glass of post bedtime wine, put on both tights and socks at the same time or wear a fleece when its ninety degrees outside!
I really do try and suppress my inner control freak and pick my battles but Oh My God do I ever find it hard! 

I know I'm not the first mother to admit to reading Grazia over the top of my child's head as she sits on my lap watching pre bedtime television or opening a bottle of wine at 5.00pm on a Sunday because I really need to numb the pain of numerous return trips to the naughty corner, but sometimes it sure does feel like it! If I were at Good Mummy School, my report card would read "Must try harder" and "Could do better". So I'm working on it but I'll never make Head Girl! 

Although.... I do admit to feeling somewhat smug as the smell of chocolate cookies permeated the air in our house for a brief period on Saturday; that was until I accidentally doctored one of the cat shaped cookies by shoving it into a container with too much force and breaking off it's tail! 
And needless to say, it was the inner NBM gene that made me photograph the best three cookies from the batch!  


auntiegwen said...

In my other job I work with Mummies and babies and I hear all about the activities they do, some poor babies do an activity EVERY day, baby yoga, baby swimming, buggyfit, tumbletots, sing and sign, singing sally, bo jingles, are just a few that come to mind.

With a heavy dose of irony I tell them about Eldest Beautiful Daughter who got only got taken to the park, the supermarket and the library, didn't have crawling shoes, didn't do flashcards or baby einstein or Gina Ford, didn't eat organic food in fact ate out of heinz baby jars !!!, she did NO that's right, NO activities as a baby or toddler, and you know what, she's just fine, doing her A levels, smart and funny beyond belief and I've got the photos to prove it !

Anonymous said...

You might be finding it toughy, but you sound like a much more 'real' mummy than those scary stepford types! And those cookies look very impressive too.

that girl ? said...

Auntie G - I think those same babies probably suffer from Baby Burn Out by the time they're one! It's good to hear from one whose been there, seen it, done it and got the Good Daughter tee shirt to prove it!

Mud ITC - thanks! I could never be a Stepford Wife - am far too gobby and drink too much red wine for that!

Tara said...

Bloody hell, you are a rubbish mum. No art? Tsk. No baby yoga? Sigh. Next you'll be telling us your child doesn't have a walk in wardrobe and this season's Chloe boots.
It's just not good enough That Girl.

Ok ok, I could only keep it up for what, two sentences!

What are you talking about girl? You are a perfect mummy. perfect for your Little One and that is all that matters.
Motherhood does come naturally to you, because I have read your previous posts and you utterly adore your munchkin which is the most natural thing of all. All that other stuff is just window dressing.
Besides, everyone knows that PlayDoh and felt tips are evil.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Ooh that girl, you are obviously a perfect mummy and a totally normal one at that. I would be scared of a person who said they never get frustrated with their child/shout at them over silly things or want them to be tidy and make less mess for you to clear up. Bet you are doing a sterling job. I think the NBM thing comes with career women having given up work and then approaching parenthood in a similar fashion, where success and being the best is the only way they know how.
Anyway, onto more trivial stuff. Where did you get your cookie cutters from? BTW I wrote about children not making a mess...and being a spoilsport...and a bad mummy...should make you feel better...

Anonymous said...

You seem to have plenty of self knowledge and good humour which are the important things. I always hated the finger painting/play doh making/cookery sessions/"quality time", with small children. In my experience, home is a place to escape all that endless activity and achievement and learn to unwind and talk. My three just about grownup children still love coming home to unwind and talk and drink our wine and I'm now more than happy for them to do the cooking.

Posh Totty said...

I second everything that auntiegwen just said too :o) she said exactly what i wanted to say so I will save myself from writing it all again and just agree with her hehe!!

Yummy Mummy said...

Give yourself the credit you deserve! You are an awesome and super stylish mummy! I think the cookies are great! kudos to you!


that girl ? said...

Tara - If anyones getting Chloe boots, it'll be me first! Thanks for your lovely comment and I'll tell you what else is evil - Glitter! I find it everywhere! and why can you never wash it off your child's forehead no matter how much you try?!
CTTF - Normal? Me? Some might disagree! And you're right re the career thing - no book can tell you how to being up your child. If it could I'd write it and make a big fat fortune! Hope you got my email - if not cookie cutters were from good old Sainsburys!
Anon - thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Nice to think of a time when your kids can cook for you! Right now I get offered plastic cookies and cabbage from the Disney kitchen on a regular basis but I look forward to the real deal!
Posh Totty - You see... great female minds think alike! And love your blog name!
YM - Thanks!! Right back at ya babe! x

mrsbear said...

I guess part of me would be a little suspicious of any NBM. You're human, that's such a relief, and that you're putting effort in to making Halloween shaped cookies and gritting your teeth while your little one makes a mess, that's a testament to your Mommy-ness.

I suppose many of my parenting skills might make the average NBM cringe a little. But I don't believe Mommies are naturally born, they're made, built over time and hammered into shape. Even after four kids, a lot of this stuff does not come easy to me. I hate crafts, school glue and fabric paints and cookie cutters. But I've adapted. That's what it's all about.

Banana said...

You are a great Mummy! Small Child is extremely happy and well adjusted which obviously comes from well balanced parenting. In my humble opinion, children benefit from a mix of everything - free play to stimulate their imaginations, guided play, a class or two (if only for the Mummies to meet other Mummies to have coffee/red wine with!). Children are like your biscuits - they need lots of ingredients and mixing up - after all, you didn't just use sugar in your fab looking biscuits! (BTW, are you going to post the recipe on here?!) Also, have you seen the Idle Parent in the Telegraph - google it - it's fab and makes me feel so guilt-free! XXX

that girl ? said...

Mrs Bear - I love the analogy of being hammered into mummy shape! I'm discovering a whole army of mums who don't like the craft stuff - I never even liked it as a kid since the time I picked the dried pasta off the glue on my art work and tried to eat it!
Banana - Bless you! (Hurry up and move back to UK!) Will definitley be checking out Idle parent - sounds perfect! And you're very right about the the red wine bit - we do drink a fair bit of it at the American suppers we have with the mums (and dad's) I met from my mum/baby group eons ago! Recipe is on Waitrose site - search under Gehards Cookies. Have to say Other Half's cookie shapes came out much better than mine! xx