I don’t know what to call this

You ok Babe?


L, are you ok?


[I twist my arm back through the central console of the car and look for his hand. He doesn’t take mine. Not this time.]

Mami, you’re sorry!

[Did I hear that right?]

Mami, you’re very, very sorry.

[I thought I had. I take a deep breath and try and shift the ball of weight in my chest so I can answer]

Yes Sweetheart, I really am. I’m a horrible person today.

Mami why are you a hor-rible person?

More weight-shifting as a parked car almost meets me at 50.

I … I don’t know darling. Mama’s just not very happy this week. I think that’s why.

Why are you not happy Mami?

Because Mummy’s stupid sometimes and it makes Mummy cross. And then sad.

I can’t believe I’m having this ridiculous conversation with my 3 year old boy and using the word “stupid”. How bloody ‘stupid’ is that. Christ!

Are you cross with me Mami?

Oh Sweetheart no! Not with you! Today Mummy’s just cross with Mummy, You’ve been gorgeous! Mummy’s the one who was horrid today


[under my breath] Because I mess everything up

Why do you mess everything up?

Because I’m tired Babe – and I forget things … and because we’re always late … and

And because you get cross!

Yes, and because I get so cross.

But you’re sorry Mami! sorry for being cross and sorry for being stupid.

[I shrink in my seat. I feel like he’s the 40 year old and I’m 3.]

Yes. I am. I’m so sorry for being so stupid! Mummy is just horrible!!

Yes, you are hor-rible. You make L sad.

[oh my God]

I’m so sorry Baby. [My ears are screaming and my chest is about to explode] I don’t want to make you sad. Mummy wants to do everything to make you happy, but Mummy’s just rubbish [To myself]: Completely. rubbish.


[There’s nothing more that I can say. I shouldn’t be having this conversation. I must be out of my mind.]


Yes Darling

I don’t think you’re hor-rible. And you’re not rubbish.




Did you hear what I said?

[I just heard my universe cave in on itself .. and I have no clue how to react]


Mami before I said sometimes you make L sad. But now I’m saying sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you make L happy …. and laugh.

[There’s someone else in the car. This can’t be my son]

Mami, do you understand what I just did say to you?

[OK now it’s really time for me to do something with me. I have to do something to change this. Something to break out of this horrendous downward spiral before I wreck something amazing. My child is amazing. Sometimes I think our ages must be reversed. He is so astute and so honest, he will break me soon. Of that I am sure. If I don’t break myself first.]


Yes Darling

Are you still cross?

No Sweetheart, it’s finished. It’s all finished.



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13 Responses to I don’t know what to call this

  1. Sandrine says:

    You just inspired me to tell my daughter how lucky I am to have her. Like all parents I sometimes (often) don’t behave in ways I’m very proud of, but I’ve never succeeded in changing, really. I just hope she knows how much I love and admire her.

  2. The thing you need to do is to stop beating yourself up. Everyone is horrible sometimes. Playful the next. No mummy is perfect. Your son knows that, and loves you the more for it. It will make him more comfortable with being imperfect himself.
    positive mantras do wonders ;<) "you are a great mum". repeat. "you are a great mum"


    • God, beating myself up is all I seem to do these days for better or worse. Thanks for the mantra … I’ll give it a go, but my reflection is struggling with believing it today. Might take a while! Thanks for the push in the right direction tho. xx

  3. Ally says:

    You’ve just made me cry simply because I have conversations like that with Princi. It tears my heart out every time, especially as she is the one who digs me out of the stupid hole I have put myself in. She is particularly heart-teary-outy when I have had a fall where I get really frustrated with myself. Then she comes and sits next to me, gives me a hug and tells me I’m beautiful before trying to pick me up by my neck!

    I tell you something, they don’t half have the power to make you feel titchy, don’t they?

  4. Oh Babe, it’s crazy how L is teaching me about the person I really am. Sometimes I struggle with working out which me is me, but he seems to know without even thinking about it. I can only marvel how instinctive and how brutally honest he can be. I’m sorry I made you cry. Hug. Big one. xx

  5. mrsljhall says:

    I think I am a bit in love with you now, after reading some of your blogs (including this one). We all do it. We’ve all done it. I think one of the most amazing things about being a single mum is those moments where your children lift you up.

    It makes you realise what a special, thoughtful, sensitive individual you have created.

    It makes you realise that they LOVE you warts and all – and that you deserve it.

    Well done you, chin up – and feel free to contact me if you ever want to let off steam xx

  6. Fleetwoodboy says:

    Yoir miles to hard on yourself. Your human for gods sake not perfect. You do hour best and there’s nothing more than that you van do xxxx

  7. What do they do to us? Like Ally I’ve had similar conversations where they just seem to come at you out of nowhere. I’m seeing a lot in the 2.5 year old who can nearly talk but who, when she sees us or her brother upset, runs ip to him, puts herarm around him, asks him what’s the matter…
    Perhaps at this age they have some sort of perfect balance between experiencing their emotions and complete openness about communicating then that they’ll never have again.
    Beautiful post. Give yourself some credit – you’re raising him to be able to reach out for people like this. Not a common thing.

  8. Deer Baby says:

    This made me cry – but in a good way. I’ve had conversations like this with my boy – not so much now but a long time ago. I worry about what damage it did to him but I think he’s more resilient and aware than I am sometimes. Like you say, they can be so tuned in, so wise. Out of the mouth of babes indeed. Hope this week is a better one for you.

  9. Kate says:

    One tenet to hold onto in life. “Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. ”

    We’ve all been there. Anyone who says they haven’t is lying, quite frankly.

  10. Becky says:

    I have times like that with my 2 it’s so hard being the one and only adult in the family and our kids have to cope with things many kids don’t.

    Big hugs and remember L loves you whatever and so do we x

  11. porridgebrain says:

    I talk to Kai like this. And he doesn’t talk back, because he can’t, but sometimes, in the height of the most awful pain he seems to sense and comes and lays his head on my lap, or strokes my face or my back. It makes me cry, his love, his understanding.

    Your boy is so lucky to have you. You are beautiful and extraordinary and I feel very honoured to know you. L is going to grow up so incredibly proud to have you as his mother.

    We are all a bit rubbish sometimes. That’s what makes us special x

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