La Tela di Carlotta
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Perfect mums are imperfect

Jan 18, 2016

Us mums who convert Starbucks in a playground to enjoy our coffee…

This morning, after two very bad nights (worse than usual), a very long, physically and mentally tiring day yesterday, Oliver decided to scream his lungs out when I changed his nasty nappy. Just because. Nothing could make him feel better or less desperate. When this happens I usually react in one of these two ways: I shut down and change him silently through the screams or I keep telling him useless and wasted words.

This morning, after two very bad nights (worse than usual), a very long, physically and mentally tiring day yesterday, an endless loud and stressful nappy change, my husband decided to tell me—I’ll sum it up all in one sentence for drama effect—”When you’re tired, you sound frustrated and talk to him disrespectfully. You should be more patient, you shouldn’t take it out on him”.

Now, as you can imagine, I wasn’t happy and I surely let him know. Is it just me or men usually pick the very worst moments to say what goes through their minds? Sensitivity levels below zero.

Alex is right on a few things, though. I do lose it sometimes. And I do say things like, “Oliver, there’s really no reason to cry” in a more frustrated way when I’ve had enough (which I guess it’s what might make it sound disrespectful). And I do lose my cool more easily when I’m tired.

I’m only human, after all.

Of course I would prefer to be water at all times—collected, calm and serene—but it just doesn’t work like that. I don’t mean to moan, but being on your own with your baby the whole day is not exactly a stroll in the park. It gets hard at times, the kind of hard that you sometimes need to take a deep breath before picking him up or talking to him. And I do it a lot: I’ve taken more deep breaths in these past 10 months than in my entire life. That’s how I collect myself.

Now, I’ll give my husband this: he’s not here to see what an awesome, calm mum I am during the day. He’s not here all those times when Oliver screams because I don’t let him play with the printer and it’s on me to teach him that’s not a reason to cry. He’s not here all the times when Oliver cries if I leave his side for just one minute (separation anxiety, here we come!). He’s not here all the times when I put Oliver to sleep for his long morning nap, sit at the computer to finally get something done and he wakes up. He’s not here all the times when Oliver refuses to eat his lunch time so I patiently sit with him for even an hour. He’s not here when Oliver wakes up exactly when I’m starting a difficult class, but I go get him with a big smile on my face, no matter what.

So when he says you should be more patient he’s really talking about a 5% of the time I spend with Oliver. And I see why he feels entitled to say something like that: Oliver is his child, too, and during the day I’m raising him. So yes, I should be more patient.

But truth is the perfect mum doesn’t exist.

Perfect mums the way I’ve seen them do lose their cool and then apologise. They say things they don’t mean, and then take the time to explain why they said what they said. They get frustrated, but manage to collect themselves in a split second. They cry silently when they’ve had too much, but keep playing and smiling in between the tears. They happily collect their kids from school every day, but when they have the opportunity to avoid it, they’ll take it. They’re understanding and patient, but don’t challenge them: they’ll let you know sometimes harshly when enough is enough. They buy groceries so the fridge is never empty, but they’ll defrost a piece of fish when they don’t feel like cooking and “this is what there is, feel free not to eat if you don’t want it”. They let their babies play on the not-so-clean Starbucks floor to enjoy their coffee and a good chat.

Perfect mothers are indeed imperfect.

As I know this, I shouldn’t have lost my cool with Alex this morning. Because when I look around, if there’s one thing I shouldn’t do is to complain about my husband. After all, even perfect husbands are imperfect.

How  do you see the perfect mum? Let me know in the comments

Comments

stefania • Jan 23, 2016

We share the same feelings, worries and tears, Carlotta, so it was nice reading your experience with Oliver in your blog. And even nicer, I admit, now that my first and only daughter is nearly 3 years old and I have much more time for myself than I have had in the last years.
They grow so quickly though....it seems like Yesterday when I used to tell to myself "I can't wait till she is one", then two...now I wish she were three forever! :)

🌸 Carlotta • Mar 20, 2016

Stefania, thanks for your lovely comment. I know the feeling very well, I'm thrilled about all the beautiful adventures that are awaiting us, but part of me wants time to slow down (big time!). I guess that feeling never goes away :-)

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Terrible twos
The organs of the body: workshop for kids
Kids understand if you give them honesty
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
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I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

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On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
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