Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Scummy Mummy Diaries

Back on the topic again, but I couldn't help but comment on the way that Kate McCann's words written in a private diary (which presumably she had no intention of ever showing anyone) are apparently being used by the Portugese police to prove she is an unfit mother capable of harming her child. (I say apparently as of course, as with everything else in this case, we don't know for sure that's what the police are after, but the media seem to think they are).

Allegedly she refers to her children being "hysterical" and "hyperactive". She sometimes found Madeleine difficult to control and Gerry doesn't always help with the childcare.


This is evidence of a bad mother???

Sheesh. She was dealing with three children under the age of four, including a set of twins. That is enough to send the sanest of people demented.

I don't know a single woman who has had small children who at one time or another hasn't found it hard to cope. And to a woman, my girlfriends ALL complained about their husbands when their children were small. Sorry, boys - I know there are some very devoted dads who read this blog, but the way the world works the majority of you don't get the unenviable task of spending 24/7 with toddlers and babies and just have no real idea of how exhausting and draining it can be. I can remember horrifying Spouse by saying quite vehemently one day, if whichever child it was who was particularly bugging me at that particular moment did it one more time I was cheerfully going to strangle her. (Imagine what the media/police could do with a statement like that!)

Three years ago, when I had four children eight and under I was a woman at the end of my rope physically and emotionally. I had been looking after small children for so long, I had forgotten what it was like to have a life of my own, and frequently felt unequal to the task of caring for my offspring. I can completely relate to Kate McCann's feelings of frustation. I think her honesty in writing about them rather then being a sign of her guilt, is a sign of what a good mum she is.

For many women - particularly capable, career orientated women like Kate McCann, the sudden switch from being at the top your game professionally to being at home in a swirl of chaos and nappies is a huge shock to the system. (To quote Lynnette Scavo, my favourite Desperate Housewife, "I used to run a business and now I can't manage two four year olds". Quite). It takes time to grapple with the changes in your life, and ironically the period in parenting when you get the least time to yourself, is also the period when you probably miss your freedom the most. I think I chafed at the bit far more with regards to my lost social life when the children were small, then I do now, when thankfully I have a bit of time to myself and the sprogs have got a lot more civilised.

But for the record, as I did find that period when my children were small in the main, frustrating, hard work and bloody awful at times, that probably makes me a Scummy Mummy too.

And here are my top five failures from that period to prove it...

1) Letting no 2 climb on a telephone table, from whence she fell thereby breaking her arm in two places and having to have an operation.
2) Going ahead with a planned night out in town (the first time I'd done so in eighteen months) when no 4 wasn't well and getting back to discover she was having a major asthma attack and had to go to hospital. (The memory of that night still fills me with horror.)
3) Dashing upstairs to do some tidying leaving no 3 to play in the hall. Two minutes later she managed to impale a plastic umbrella in her mouth. You should have seen the blood...
4)Shouting at my children on a nearly daily basis (better but still applies).
5) Frequently wishing that I could hand my notice in now and go and do something else...

Just as well I don't have a child missing in the Algarve isn't it?


Dumdad said...

The McCanns, and Kate particularly, have been dragged to hell and back and back again by the Portuguese police.

The so-called vital evidence of "big quantities" of Maddy's hair in the hire car is all horse-shit as is all the other stuff they've invented (dumped body at sea, buried body in roadworks/cemetery etc).

What's really upsetting is that initially it got me thinking that they could be guilty. And then I thought, "Hang on, they hid the body for 25 days then transferred it to a hire car and then disposed of it?" As the world's press watched their every move? What nonsense.

It was heartening to see Richard Branston, not my favourite guy, step up and pledge 100,000 pounds for their legal proceedings.

The only real consideration is where is Maddy and is she alive? It is looking likely that she was abducted and all this other nonsense has hampered the search.

I'll stop now as it makes me furious!

Political Umpire said...

Jane, I'm only 3 weeks into child no. 2 and already can pretty much agree with everything you say. Older one put me in utter despair by hitting his head through clumsiness etc, but after a while u realise - what can u do - put him in a padded cell?

Jane Henry said...

DD my anger at the crap that has been going round the internet about the McCanns is what drove me to post. I may still be proved wrong, but even if they turn out to be the most evil parents ever known (actually I think that honour falls to the Sawnie Beens a 16thc family who lived on the borders of Scotland - they shagged and murdered pretty much all their offspring) the witch hunt and the hatred from people who don't even know them is despicable. To be even handed about this, I think the crap the British media is throwing at Portugal is equally heinous. Before it was commented on in the Torygraph yesterday, I had already decided that the Portugese police rather resembled Gene Hunt's mob in Life on Mars. They want the right result, but they pursue dubious methods to get it. And I think the guy in charge (name I can't remember) who is being indicted for beating up another mother accused of killing her baby is a right s***. Which isn't to say they all are.

PU. You have a very young baby and a small jealous toddler. Your life is insane. It is only much much later you appreciate this. And you also really appreciate that your chidlren are older. There are moments of joy to grab. But it's a battleground frankly, and very very hard work. May you find the pearls of joy which are so hard to uncover.As a friend of mine wisely said to me when I was in the midst of it. All you can say is, well, they're another day older...

Roads said...

I agree with you, J.

Parenthood is sometimes the hardest job in the world. And there's no training, either.