Undo Days

Little girl in pushchair next to little boy. Photo by Someone's Mum

It’s 7.35 pm and thunder is echoing across the dark and cheerless M5. Rain is hammering down and all I can make out in front of me are the angry water-colour spots of the lights of the cars in front.  Melancholy country music is spilling into my car from Radio 2, and I am crying.

I am not crying because the Parents’ Evening overran and now I have missed bedtime – I knew that would happen. I am not crying because I won’t have seen my children properly for two full days -though the dull ache in my gut will serve as a constant reminder until they are in my arms again. I am not crying because it is late and I am bone tired and I hate driving and I just want to be home again – though all that is true.

I am crying because yesterday was different. Yesterday, the sun shone. Yesterday, I had my babies all day long – their cheeks were mine to kiss, their giggles mine to enjoy.

And I wasted it. I didn’t realise I was wasting it, at the time. I was caught up in my own thoughts. Only now – with the rain and the brake-lights and the soft twang of guitars and Southern voices – has the realisation hit. I had lessons to plan, posts to promote, messages to answer. I spent too long staring at screens and answering tweets.

My boy had a difficult day and I was not patient. Everything was wrong for him – his sandwiches too small, the bands on the sleeves of his t-shirt too short, too tight. His bottom lip quivered and huge eyes spilled over because mummy did not say that this was a picture of what the inside of Jupiter would look like – Mummy was looking at her emails and said Saturn instead.

And when he was distraught, I did not comfort him in the way I know I should. I did not say that of course it was Jupiter and mummy is sorry. Everything is ok gorgeous boy. Everything is fine. It is Jupiter. It is Jupiter

It is Jupiter.


I said for goodness’ sake! It’s a picture! Why do you have to get so upset over a picture?  Mummy is trying to do something important!

Important. It wasn’t important. It was the least important thing in the world.

My little boy cried and cried. I tore myself away from the screen and comforted him. But I resented his autism. I resented that his reactions are so severe, that he needs me so much, that I couldn’t answer an email for just a few seconds – though I was kidding myself that it was so brief a time.

My little girl was desperate to sit on my lap, but I had so many windows open on the tablet – PowerPoints and Twitter and Pinterest boards – and the bright colours were exciting to bat. And again I was frustrated, irritable.  I needed – no wanted – to get things done and she wouldn’t let me.

Biggest pushing Littlest in the buggy

Parents of children with special needs are often told “I don’t know how you do it” or “you must be so brave.”  Parents with two or more very small children close in age might hear “You must have your hands full!” and “I couldn’t cope!” Working mothers will hear “You must be so organised” and “It’s amazing that you can juggle so much.”

I often get such buoying and considerate comments on my posts; people tell me that I am obviously a wonderful mother, that my love for my children shines through my words. I suppose it does – but the comments always make me feel a little bit fraudulent. Sometimes I am a wonderful mother, sometimes not. Like most mothers – most human beings – I am flawed.

I love my children as much as it is possible for a person to love anything – but I am a human being and I get things wrong. Sometimes? Often? More than I would like.

I do not feel brave or organised or even like I am coping, a lot of the time. I think no one does? I have days I wish were a practice run, days I wish I could have again – because I know I could do them better, if I just had an undo button.

But I get through. I pick myself up. I recognise when I have been less than I should be, like all who feel they have let down the ones they love. I don’t feel like a special needs parent – I am just the best parent I know how to be. Anyone would be the same, anyone who loves.

We are all our imperfect selves but, sometimes, if we are lucky, love can make us perfect for a short time.

I have to wait until next week for another day off with just us – mummy and her gorgeous boy and beautiful little bean. But we’re going to go out and eat gingerbread and walk in the sunshine. Mummy will say she can see Jupiter and Saturn and Mars, and all the stars in the Milky Way, just right. And that is the most important thing in the world.

Gingerbread men

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25 thoughts on “Undo Days

  1. You are human, and it’s okay to get swept up in daily tasks… Children are extremely demanding, never mind when they have extra needs. You clearly do the best you can, and you shouldn’t Beat yourself up about it or feel guilty. dust yourself off and look forward to next week, today is a brand-new start 🙂 xxx #BloggerClubUK

  2. I feel like this so often – I feel so lucky to be able to spend as much time with my little boy as I do, and then I feel I’ve wasted it if I snap at him, or if our day isn’t crammed full of exciting stuff, or if he’s particularly tantrummy. I know I put so much pressure on myself for every day to be perfect and I get frustrated with myself if it’s not – because today he’s at nursery and I’m missing him. I think we all just press that undo button at the end of every day and start each day afresh. I hope you’re having a good one today. #bloggerclubuk

    1. Thank you. Biggest is a little poorly si we’ve stayed in but we’re having fun! I’ve found my patience today 😊 xx

  3. You are a normal mummy, don’t be hard on yourself. It can be hard because life can get in the way and sometimes we lose focus on what is important but our kids are very good at reminding us so please be kind to yourself. Ps you need to develop your creative writing. That opening paragraph had me hooked, it was almost poetic 🙂 #bloggerclubuk

    1. Awww thanks Emma. We are having a better day today. I do have two thirds of a novel on the go but never get time to finish…. or know who to send it to! 😊

  4. It’s okay to get wrapped up from time to time. It’s having this voice that will help you realise your mistakes like you have done. Enjoy your gingerbread next time 😀

    1. Thank you. Biggest is a bit poorly sp we haven’t ventured out for gingerbread yet but we’re having a better day ☺

  5. Oh my word. Emails and the kids trying to get your attention. And then batting them off. And it gets worse until you give up the computer and give them full focus, which is needed 24/7. Thank you for writing out my day for me and re-assuring me I’m not the only one

  6. Aww, this is lovely, so honest and heartfelt. I’m sure all parents have days like these where they wish they had done things differently
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

  7. Touched! This is so true… no one is perfect (well, my teen would let you believe she is!) but honestly, we all lose our s**t sometimes and actually those days define our family units just as much as the ‘perfect’ ones… your doing a great (im)perfect job! Gorgeous read! x

  8. Pingback: Blogger Club UK Linky 17 (Fingers Crossed this Works) • Cuddle Fairy
  9. Oh gosh, I bet there’s so many of us who could have written this! You have summed it all up so beautifully. Truth is, we are all just human. I get the comments quite a bit, but what people don’t see is when I’m being a crap mum. I don’t post that on my blog or on facebook often! Thank you for sharing – enjoy your day off!

  10. Completely get this and the one I shared this week touches on moments when I get praised and I feel it’s unjustified. We are all human.


  11. We’re all human and we all snap sometimes.

    If I had a pound for everytime someone said to me ‘I don’t know how you do it’. We do it because we have to. There isn’t a choice. We do it because we love our kids. We do it because no-one else will.

    Keep going mamma. Next week will be better.


  12. I have been here and it is ok to want five minutes to yourself. It can be so relentless and suffocated no matter how much we love them. You are doing your best and it is hard work X #spectrumSunday

  13. You’ll make up for it the next chance you get. We all have days like this, our patience is stretched and tested every day. None of us are perfect, and occasionally we slip up. At least you are self-aware enough to notice if you do and want to make up for it.
    Hope you get some perfect time with them soon x

  14. So true. We can’t all be perfect all the time 😉 Seriously though, I’ve had all these feelings, all this guilt, and the knowledge I should spend as much time as possible with them and savour every second… but we are all human x

  15. I have embraced my imperfections too hun. Hence my blog name. Special needs parents are not saints, it is tough and we all make mistakes, get tired, loose patience. I’ve been ill and my patience has certainly suffered. Juggling work and home is hard, how do you feel now about your choice to stop, reading this again? #SpectrumSunday

  16. Such an honest post which I can definitely relate to – accepting that we are not and never will be perfect is a positive step. When my kids were little and I had 4 aged 5 and under – random strangers would approach me in the street and announce “you’ve got your hands full” (I was very aware of that fact). I didn’t mind so much as they were just trying to make conversation and acknowledge me, but some people followed it up with a , “It’ll get worse when they get older, you know”.. I never understood why strangers felt this was an ok thing to say to a harassed mum!!! thankfully their statements of doom have proven false so far! #SpectrumSunday

  17. I get this so much. I also waste real opportunities with my kids in the need to work and get things done. I felt you had written this about me in some ways. You are definitely not alone in this and none of us are perfect. Thanks for so eloquently writing what I often feel myself x

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