Other mothers – are they that happy all the time? Really?

It’s been dawning on me for a while now. There’s something missing in my approach to motherhood.

I will never be perfect mother material. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect.

I’m not on about the obvious stuff, like regularly forgetting to make Frog brush her teeth, or occasionally letting her smear ketchup over her vegetables.

No, I’m on about something altogether different.

It’s a quality that starts for many women during pregnancy. These women are natural mothers. They are good at motherhood before their offspring are even born. The calm descends and they sit, zen-like, in a beautiful state of blooming fertility.

And as their child grows within them, they metamorphose into a Butlins Red Coat.

By the time the baby is born, these natural mothers are worthy of winning the X Factor. They ooze charm, charisma, fun. They can sing and smile and dance at the same time.

They are just so… happy.

Everywhere I go I am surrounded by just such mothers. Their voices are at a perfect pitch for toddlers. They don’t speak their words, they sing. Even a simple, “It’s time to put your shoes on” could elicit a little wiggle of the hips and a clap.

And I try to be like them. I do. But I fall short of the mark every time.

In the playground, I will use my best Butlins Red Coat Mother Voice to encourage Frog away from the swing and back into her buggy. I’ll even laugh a little as the warning signs of a tantrum start to flash.

But five minutes of demanding shouts from my 20 month old and all earlier pledges to retain my rosy jazz-hands exterior fly out of the window. Initial attempts at soothing with, “Now, stop being a silly billy” are quickly offset with, “Now STOP IT! Come ON! NO. I will NOT have that!”

I’m rubbish at being a Butlins Red Coat Mother. I wouldn’t even get through the first half of the audition.

So please tell me they don’t exist in real life. Surely no mother can be that happy, all the time? Really?

"I'm sorry, but it's going to have to be a No from me."



Filed under Being a mum

46 responses to “Other mothers – are they that happy all the time? Really?

  1. Doubt it very much, Molly. Some people are very very good at putting on a front. The ones snapping are the real ones, they’re a bit fake IMO.

  2. In my experience, some of the rosiest mothers on the face of it are also the ones who shout like troop sergeants at their kids.

  3. Honey, I am happy happy happy all the time,

    The gin helps tremulously with that.


  4. people used to always say ohh your one of them earth motherly types who is always happy n doing something fun… i was, i admit it always cheery when they were little and cute and did what i asked… it is different now… they tend to moan and huff and stomp around more and so i don’t get the comments about being a wonderfully fun mum much these days, when I am standing hands on hips saying ‘come on… like NOW!’ as I watch waiting for them to gather their school things and be out of the door 10 minutes later than we really should have been!

  5. I am truely perfect, thats why 8yr olds spellings are done over breakfast last minute every Friday, tweens french spellings are checked with glass of wine in hand and eastenders on the box.

  6. Are these the mother that have those voices that are quite a bit louder than other normal voices? ‘Oh Clementine, that was FANTASTIC counting of your raisins! You are so brilliant and amazing and I’m just so proud that I created you!’ Ugh. LOVE the photo by the way x

  7. You’d be amazed how differently they behave when no one’s watching!

  8. I asked that same question! It seems like everyone else has it together and Im dying to know all their secrets!!

    I don’t care if my 22 month old can count to 10 or obey every order I give. What matters to me is to raise a confident, happy person and give him all the love in the world.

    I try my hardest and give him my best. I have my bad days and I know I’m not the ‘perfect’ mom. But no one can love him like I do and hugs from him tell me that!

  9. :0) Good question. Although when I was a working mom, I looked at SAHM mother and on the go and thought they looked so together! I look at teenage moms and they have their own lil happy clique and wondered where do I fit in. Now that I’m a SAHM all I see are other tired, frustrated, worn out mothers like myself. I’m almost convinced that the few happy bubbly, ‘together’ ones that I observe must have some sort of help, and if they don’t well they really need to be sharing that magic with the rest of us :0)

  10. I try to be 100% turbo charged happiness in mummy form at all times. The reality is that once in a busy supermarket if a tantrum occurs I’ll juggle bananas. If that doesn’t work after precisely 46.7 seconds I go completely crazy woman at their little pouting faces.
    Well I’m not that bad but I am generally, like most normal people with young children, tired. Which in turn leads to not being Mary Poppins 24/7!
    And don’t get me started on CBeebies – those presenters make me feel wholly inadequate with their insania grins and their ability to burst into song!
    You are not alone.

  11. I luckily never met any of those ‘happy moms’, thank goodness because the results would not have been good.

  12. Why on earth would you want to give Frog such a skewed version of reality? Children should learn, at a very young age, that their tantrums elicit parental screaming, that wine fuzzes all the edges, and that ketchup makes everything taste better (also, when ketchup doesn’t work, ice cream does a great job). You’re raising her to function in the real world, no better mothering than that!

  13. Rachel Tadman

    They’re not real…..especially when pregnant with number 2 & trying to work from home!! 🙂

  14. I just wanna go back to work. What does that tell you?

  15. Those mothers are all of their faces on something…

  16. Oh this is so true! I’m sure these mum’s are taking some sort of ‘mother’s little helper’ pills.

  17. Chelseamamma

    When I worked my colleagues all used to call me an Earth Mother – no idea why, as I get wound up with mine like the rest of them. I don’t believe for one second that they can be calm and collected ALL the time – its front I’m sure!

  18. Sarah

    I have seen a few of those mums about I suspect they go he and swig vodka from little bottles. I myself prefer bribery in those situations. X

  19. No mother is constantly happy and in my view, the perfect ones are the ones that admit to that so collect your red coat, you’re on stage in 5!

  20. I think they do exist. I know plenty of chirpy mothers like you describe and they give me the fear. You are not alone though. I feel inadequate as a mother constantly but we shouldn’t feel inferior to these perfect ‘earth’ mothers. Our kids love us unconditionally even if we do have to shout sometimes!

  21. They definitely don’t exist in real life, not all the time anyway. We all have our moments, it goes with being a mom:)

  22. I’m just glad that I’ve managed to keep them all alive so far. That takes up most of my effort.

  23. he he, I did a similar lament of a post a while back after encountering one super-happy red coat of a mum that insisted on taking on entertainment duties for my toddler, whilst I stood around feeling like an utter boring twonk. Let’s stand united against these damned women!!!!

  24. Love, love, love this post. Like so many of yours, it totally rings true with me. There are bits of being a mum that I completely love, but I don’t feel like any of it has come easily or naturally. Definitely no red coat in this house! We all know one or two of those Mums for whom it does all seem to come very easily, but I like to think of them as ducks – looking all serene and elegant on the surface while paddling like mad underneath. They just make it look easy, they don’t actually *find* it easy 🙂

  25. Pingback: Best of the UK Parent Blogs: Ten at Ten (48) | Tots 100

  26. I completely agree with this! Especially when I’m stood outside the school gates and I see these other Mother’s with bouncing baby, bouncing smile,bouncing hair-do and boobies, waiting for their other two kids to come out of class and I’m wondering…did you do all that with the help of wine? Or are you just Supergirl? -while I stand there in my simple black jeans, trainers and whatever semi-smart-fashionable top I found in the clothes pile and threw on-. *LAUGH* because of course, I have a wardrobe but the clothes actually live on an armchair in the lounge! (WHy!? I don’t know!) My four year old is in the ‘Why’ phase right now, and whenever I mention this to the supermums in red jackets I get this ‘Awww! Aren’t they cute when they do that?’ all the while I am thinking…no not really…then they continue with ‘My Bobby used to ask the cutest things and blah blah blah’ so I pull out my bottle of wine, put on my lippy, put on my pj’s and HEY PRESTO! I’m a Butlins mummy! I’m feeling very frayed around the edges while I right this, so there may just be some murderous contempt for the red coats in there!

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