Sunday, 6 December 2015


Every so often people comment on my relationship with Ava. Usually because they read the blog or follow on Twitter or Instagram. They will compliment me on what a great mummy I am, remark how close we appear to be or tell me they hope to be a mum just like me when they have kids. I should delight in these comments. I should revel in them and enjoy them. But I don't. The truth is I feel like a bit of a fraud. Because Ava & I's relationship is not always plain sailing. It's hard to put into words because I love that little girl to death and I know she feels the same about me. But often we don't see eye to eye and I'm noticing more and more how similar people we actually are. Not stubborn - but extremely head strong. Considerate of other people's feelings - but insular when we feel we've been hard done by. Both laid back - but also very open with our emotions and feelings. 

Both prone to the odd tantrum when we don't get our own way ;)

I hope these similarities are the root of what is sometimes a fractious relationship. I often feel like Ava just tolerates me. That she does jigsaws with me, helps to make cakes and accompanies me to the latest Minions movie simply to pass the time until she goes to her Dads. Her extremely close relationship with her father is not something I resent. I appreciate how lucky we both are that she has such a special bond with him. Ava thinks her Dad is her hero. Which is great but often makes it very hard for me to compete...

Ava is 4 and when she tells me for the third time that week that she loves him more or asks me for the millionth time when he is picking her up, I find it extremely hard to keep my composure. I'm 32 and sometimes I want to say that if she loves him that much then she should just go and live with him. I don't. I wouldn't. But sometimes the child in me wants to lash out. I guess because of the feelings of hurt and of failure that her comments incite in me. But I smile and tell her how much I love her. I continue with cooking dinner or helping her colour in, my teeth making bite marks on my lip to keep myself from crying.

Ava gets everything she needs from me. Fun trips out every weekend, frequent visits to soft plays, lovely new clothes and a bedroom fit to bursting with toys. More importantly she gets love. I tell her every day how much I love and adore her. I drive her nuts with my constant kisses and incessant affection. And that kid must be averaging about 6 tickles a day. Just as importantly, she gets discipline and routine. I don't tolerate bad behaviour and as a result she is a well mannered little girl. I have rules regarding bedtimes and iPad usage and she embraces them. Despite pushing the boundaries a little. But what 4 year old doesn't...?

I'm not a perfect parent. I look at my phone too much and I get impatient when she takes a week to put her jacket on. Although I try, I don't play with her as much as her Dad who will abandon all thoughts of  housework or ironing to engage in hours of one on one interaction. I balance our time together the best way I can and sometimes that means doing the dishes while she eats her dinner in front of cBeebies. I don't do arts and crafts with her on a Saturday afternoon but that is simply because we are normally off on a road trip exploring some castle in the middle of nowhere. And I suck at arts and crafts anyway. We have fun together all the time. She giggles and laughs and I can tell she likes being here. But when she tells me how much more she likes being at her Dads, it's like a dagger through my heart. 

Sometimes I wonder why everyone thinks I'm such a great mum. When Ava says these things to me I feel worthless, unwanted and selfishly I wonder why I even bother. Like this morning when I took myself off to the bathroom for a good sob. Then I wiped my tears, gave her a cuddle and we watched the last half hour of Minions before her Dad came to pick her up. After she was gone I spent an hour Googling my situation. I even went on Netmums (shudder). It seems there are lots of other mums out there in the same boat. I saw a few comments that many kids start to change their minds around the age of 8. As they grow older they start to see situations differently, start to suss out each parent's role a little better.

As with every Sunday afternoon, I am alone and Ava is with her Dad. There's no small person jumping out of cupboards or insisting on making Peppa cakes. The place is quiet and (rather than worry about what a terrible mother I am), I'm going to try and enjoy the silence. Go for a bath, do some writing and catch up on Luther. 

Stay off Google...

Maybe draw up a contract that says if she still feels the same way she can go live with her Dad...

 But not till she turns 8 ;)


last year's girl said...

I have no insight or anything, just sending lots of love your way. Can't imagine there's a single person reading here who doesn't know that you are doing the best that you can for that gorgeous wee girl.


Unknown said...

I still have this big time, even though we all live together. I'm not the 'fun' one even though i try so bloody hard. I have been hoping it will change with age. 💗💗