Inadequate Mummy Syndrome


Our holiday seems like a life time ago, and as I sit here on Friday afternoon, snuggled up with Noah, eating satsumas and crisps, watching a movie, I am beginning to feel slightly inadequate. I have spend some time today on various social networking sites, trying to promote this blog, and have been reading lots of parenting blogs, and posts on forums. There seems to be an abundance of mummies out there, who are uber organised and managed to do everything not only with a smile on their face, but with the up most ease. This is not me! I have read all about the mummies who have their days planned out weeks in advance, play groups, music, acting, singing, swimming, rugby, football lessons all for children under five, “play dates” are arranged weeks in advance, they even have a planner of what they are going to cook each night. They know exactly what time snack time is and what they are going to offer for it. Their children are all in bed for 6.45pm. They even manage to have sex with their husbands at least twice a week without complaining.


Noah and Mr Grump meeting Kung Fo Panda on board The Freedom of the Seas

For me, and for our family, life is not like that. There is always a pile of laundry that needs doing in our house, and one that needs putting away. My fridge generally has some life form, not known to previously exist, growing on one of the shelves. I am yet to invest in an ironing board, our bed is rarely made as soon as we get out of it, and Noah never has matching socks on. My friends know that they are welcome to pop over any time, there will always be a cup of tea offered and some type of food, there is a great possibility my son will be dressed as a superhero, and an even greater possibility I will be in my pjs! It is not unusual for Mr Grump to get home from work and we have a house full of unexpected guests who are staying for supper.


Noah enjoying alligator followed by chocolate chip pancakes

It seems that I am more than capable of taking my son half way around the world, getting him dressed up and taking him to a restaurant to feed him lobster, alligator, scallops,fillet of beef and anything else in between, bringing him with us to watch an open air showing of Madame Butterfly, allowing him to sit on the work top whilst I cook, encouraging him to try new things, sneaking into his room whilst he is asleep and leaving some chocolate by his pillow. I am happy to have a house full of children, to let them play and feed them whatever happens to jump out of the fridge. But the sheer thought of having to cook what is on a meal planner every night scares the living day lights out of me. I shake with fear, thinking what if I fancy something else? What if our favourite restaurant is serving a special on the night we are meant to be having pork tenderloin and vegetables? This in turns leads to a feeling of inadequacy, should I be planning meals? should I have play dates arranged weeks in advance? Is it going to damage my son in the future if instead of attending a play group, we stayed at home and dug for worms ready for when he goes fishing with his daddy?

There are so many books out there advising parents on how to parent, what is right? what is wrong? how many hours a child should sleep, where they should sleep. What they should and should not eat? Blah blah blah. It all seem so rigid to me. As I write this I am beginning to see that what ever works for your family, works for your family. And if it does not, try something new! Nothing that anyone writes can ever beat maternal instinct.

You see it is now 5.30pm, and there is no sign of dinner in the oven, we are all tired, therefore, its takeaway, bath and snuggles in bed whilst munching through a packet of double chocolate chip biscuits, listening to Mr Grump tell us tales of a land far far away! There will be crumbs in the bed, Noah is guaranteed to spill his milk, but would I change it? Hell No!


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17 thoughts on “Inadequate Mummy Syndrome

  1. Claire Wilson February 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm Reply

    Hi Bianca love the blog. Totally get where you are coming from. Just do whatever makes you and your family happy! luv Claire Wilson xx

    • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm Reply

      Glad you love the blog, I’m really enjoying writing it too! Parenting is so difficult sometimes! I guess we all have to rely more on our natural maternal instincts!x

  2. Beth February 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm Reply

    I love this bianca, i have always been of the opinion that children will always come clean in a bath, and there is nothing pulls my heart strings quite so much as my boy, dressed in mismatch clothes, with a dirty face and muddy wellies asleep in the buggy because he has had so much fun he can’t keep his eyes open!

    • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 1, 2013 at 7:54 pm Reply

      Beth, I totally agree! Life for me is too short for rigid routines. There are far to many adventures just waiting to be created! My motto this week is sod the housework, we are making a pirate ship in the living room!

  3. Juliet February 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm Reply

    Brilliant B – play date, digging & fun next week!!! & whatever falls out the fridge!!! Xxx hehehe x

    • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm Reply

      Sounds fantastic to me! Neither Noah or I can wait! Can’t promise we will be sensibly dressed though!xx

  4. kimcleaton February 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm Reply

    The title alone almost brings tears to my eyes because I don’t feel I’m doing things well enough.

    And yet I have never believed in rigidity, always believed in spontaneity and doing what you feel is right. I feel inadequate over something so silly as every time I make tea for my 10 month old twins I think, ‘oh dear, what can I give them as finger food today? I’ve not prepared anything in advance and now it’s too late and they’ll just have to have a rice cake with their meal’ (instead of varying finger foods a la baby-led weaning), etc etc. If you make your kids do too much then everything is structured, they have no ‘play in the mud’ or make-your-own-fun time and as a result expect ‘entertainment’ in some form or another to be provided. Or they get ill from doing too much, or are ‘always tired’. I will always remember my mum telling me about my little brother’s friend never being able to come play unless planned way in advance because he was always too tired after school. He wasn’t an ill child, and yet was mollycoddled and not allowed to be a free spirit, like all children are born to be…

    • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm Reply

      parenting can be so difficult, and as women, I often think we are unsympathetic to other mummies, for fear of showing our own inadequacies. If the truth be known I did not bother with finger food, or any type of baby led weaning. I just mashed up the food we ate, then cut it up, then left it whole. He now eats everything (apart from fish fingers, chicken nuggets, burgers, baked beans and spaghetti hoops) but that is more down to the fact we never eat those things, so he does not either.
      I remember sitting having coffee with other mummies, who had babies the same age as mine, and feeling totally useless that mine did not want to sleep and theirs where doing a straight ten hours. I went home and sobbed thinking it was all my fault. But, I learnt, thanks to some lovely family members, that did it really matter if they were asleep at 6,7,8, or 9 at night. Now we have a child that will sleep at any time you put him down, for 12 hours. If he goes to bed late, he wakes up late (perfect for a Saturday morning lay in).
      If I have one piece of advice that I have come to swear by, “a happy mummy equals a happy child” and if in doubt, put the kettle on, make a cup of tea, feed the children cake and enjoy the silence! xx

      • kimcleaton February 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        That is a fantastic comment, thank you so much for the encouragement! I totally agree with you, and generally speaking I think I do fine as a parent, and I’m laid back, happy, and relaxed. I’m struggling at the moment simply because I am so absolutely shattered – three kids under 3 is tiring in itself, but my twins do not sleep well and never have, and so ten months later I am getting to the very edge of sanity and starting to lose it. I used to need more sleep than most people and for most of the last 10 months I’ve been woken up every 2 hours (it used to be worse and right now it’s a bit better, but that’s probably about average) and a max of 7 hours in bed – so nowhere near that much sleep 😦 Everyone delights in telling me how well I’m doing, and generally when I’m out with the kids at playgroup or whatever I am fine (though I have bad days), but I’m driving myself up the wall at home (I daren’t think how my husband feels towards me right now!) because I am just so tired that I’m angry at everything, short with everyone, literally want to kick the walls in several times a day… and I don’t really know what to do about that.

      • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        Sorry for the late reply, I as ever have been trying to juggling everything and as my friends would say, I have no coordination, and would make a terrible juggler! 🙂
        In regards to the sleeping, Noah was a terrible sleeper too! I can assure you that it does get better but you do not need to here that right now, what you need is sleep! Is there anyone who could have the twins for a morning so you could sleep? I used to drive Noah around in the car till he fell asleep, would then drive home, pull up in the drive way and fall asleep myself! Have you thought about going to see your gp / health visitor? I know that often just talking to some one helps? and they might be able to offer some type of short term solution? A friend of mine found it really beneficial just having weekly appointments with the health visitor just to talk to some one who would just listen, not offer advice, or say how well she was doing, but just to listen? I am always here to talk to, and apparently I’m an alright listener too! Big Love to you!

  5. Writer / Mummy February 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm Reply

    I loved this post and the comments. Every time I go near other parents, even my closest friends, I come home down and depressed because there is something they do that I wish I could (get their kids to eat and sleep are the main things but there are a myriad of others). My kids are happy, healthy, empathetic, creative and loving but still I beat myself up everyday for all my failings. I love the way you are with your kids, I think it sounds like an amazing way for them to grow up. I also agree with the “happy mummy, happy baby” and have tried to live by that as much as possible (which is tough for a mummy prone to depression!)

    • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 3, 2013 at 9:53 pm Reply

      I think it too me a long time to feel comfortable in my own experiences of being a mummy. I tried the put a baby to bed, let them cry to sleep whilst you have time with you partner, but for me it did not work. As I type this now, I am laying in bed with my four year old son snoring next to me, he began the night in his own room but has crept in here and is cuddled up next to me. I found that the more I compared myself to others the more I felt inadequate. But I know that what works for us works for us, glad you enjoyed reading it! There is more to come! 🙂

      • Writer / Mummy February 4, 2013 at 8:00 am

        Great, I look forward to it! I’ve always compared myself to others. I try to think of the Desiderata advice but it doesn’t work! (“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”)

      • Bianca Tarbet-Keeble February 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm

        you might like my latest rant, after a day spent with adult who are still longing to be parented, I could not help but write…. bxx

      • Writer / Mummy February 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

        Good rant, have responded! 🙂

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