Today is Friday and like every other Friday (besides holidays and half-term) it’s the morning of my two year old son’s playgroup. Most weeks it’s me who takes him as his dad is working. Last week however, was Dad’s turn and seeing as there was no mention of any near-future cancellations, I set off for the church – just over a five minute walk away. The rain pelting down and wind whipping my face, I steered Dylan in his buggy in a somewhat noodle-like formation down the road using one hand only, the other holding up or shoving my fringe back inside my wet hood.
I have to admit that even on more inviting days, this hour and a half session is something I don’t look forward to and every week around Thursday, I hear the same niggling voice in my head encouraging me to find an excuse to not have to take him – like the atrocious weather today – perfect! Every week the same private argument takes place and each week my son triumphs. It is he who commands this battle and me, like all other mums before me, send my own insecurities to the reserves, knowing that his personal development is what truly matters here.
There are of course, reasons for my reservations… Dylan can, at times be a somewhat resistant child. When all the other kids are happy playing with toy pots and pans in the play kitchen area, Dylan is slamming the oven door, even when another child is using it as a tunnel to reach the other side. Kids, of course, are learning and I, as the mother have to make the right decision in teaching him invaluable social skills. Being a forty four year old mum has its advantages and with it comes the gift of understanding and patience, but the latter can be stretched when he chooses to ignore you and screams or throws himself on the floor, or both, when you move him away from the situation. If this is not enough in itself, the judging eyes from the parents whose kids always play-nice press upon you and it’s at this point that if you could make one wish, you’d wish for a pair of glittery red shoes, click the heels together, return home and deal with him without the spotlight glaring over your ever-judging-self-conscious-self.
So, today I arrived like a dripping drainpipe (although, somewhat wider) only to find that the club was cancelled. As the church secretary informed me, I felt the inevitable sense of relief, only to be met with Dylan’s tears the minute I turned the buggy to face home. Even behind the rain and condensation clad rain-cover, he knew and I wished for that second that I could take him inside – let him run around, make friends with other little people.
Dylan stopped crying by the time we reached the end of the street. The rain turned to a drizzle, his eyes closing, I walked past our street and before I reached the next one, he was fast asleep. Yippee –– extra time for mum to get some much needed work done, but all at a price of Dylan’s development time.
Coaxing the little troop of self-guilt invaders to the sound-proof place in my head, I turned the key in the front door, made Dylan comfortable, poured myself a latte and opened my laptop, wondering: Do we, as mothers secretly enjoy being so hard on ourselves? Should this moment not be interpreted as the universe working with us or merely us taking advantage of a situation? Or maybe, even, a bit of both????