The Mother I Could Have Been

by Lori Dwyer on November 6, 2012 · 12 comments

I never seem to have enough time.

I’ve complained about this before, I know. I don’t know why I’m expecting it to suddenly get easier, for whole chunks of time to materialize from nowhere, an extra two or three hours smoothed into every day. Preferably into the kinks caused by those fast flowing hours between seven am and ten am, or the quieter and tougher but equally slippery minutes that leap across one anther as eight pm becomes midnight.

Not too long ago, I happened to be chatting with a few other bloggers who I love and admire when I made some half-joke about having my laptop set up in the middle of the kitchen, writing and editing and emailing with half my mind…. while the other half says,“Hold on kids, I’ll be with you in one second…”

I’m sure I expected laughter and concurrence. And there was laughter, polite laughter, and a decidedly polite and respectable pause in the conversation which I’m sure was to alleviate the guilt they suspected was about to fall my way. They agreed that this had, once, been their habit. However, since they’d managed some boundaries, some separation between their work from and their families- mostly by getting themselves some office space and some designated work time- they were more organized and everyone was happier.

Ugh. Excuse me while I mourn the mother I think I could have been, once upon a time.


I spend less and less time wondering how things might have been, picturing what would have been going on had Tony still been alive. I guess it’s just that the wonderment is now doused, as opposed to tinged, with shades of regret and remorse. Tainted with grieving for what could have been, for what my children should had. For how much ‘better’ I would be doing all this kid wrangling right now, ‘if only…’

Occasionally, when I’m being honest, and not quite as hard on myself as I usually am; I know that I’m either selling myself short in reverence to the job I’m doing raising my kids in the After- that is, the right now; or I’m over estimating how good at this at this I used to be.

The Sliding Doors Lori, the one living that alternate reality… in my head, she’s got it so much more together than she ever had it in Real Life. She’s much more secure and even tempered and confident than the Real Life Me will ever be.

I comfort myself with the knowledge (excuse?) that even when I was parenting as part of a twosome, things would still be disorganized and ramshackle. My kids would still scream at one another, and I am them. I would still sleep in, and we would still run late.

And would be just fine… mainly because there would be another person there, someone else to pick up my slack when I stumbled.

This way, it’s just tripping and falling, all bloody knees and humiliation, into the snares and potholes of parenting, with my children watching on.

post signature

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

black.barbie November 25, 2012 at 1:24 am

You had to manage things in order to balance family and work. Do the right thing at the right place and at the right time with the right people around you. "Treasure your relationships, not your possessions." – Anthony J DVangelo on Relationship quotes


Carol November 12, 2012 at 2:02 am

You are more than good enough, your kids love you and you love them. I've always got my iphone in hand, checking facebook or the news . My kids are independent, happy and imaginative. Despite me and my parenting. Your kids are thriving, and you are surviving, one day at a time. You are my inspiration, you came out the other end of something horrendous and are offering others a wonderful chance to see what its like to walk thru the aftermath of suicide and survive. You go girl, love ya x x x


evilgeniusmum November 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Oh, for fuck's sake! Perfect is boring and dishonest – because the 'perfect' are often hiding or even denying something. Something so important that it is part of us and part of what contributes to every day life.

Awesome book I just read about the creators of Google (I think) who are Montessori graduates. Montessori is all about going with what you want to do now. If you want to paint – paint. Don't wait until 2.30pm on your timetable to do so. Grab the inspiration RIGHT NOW!! Although we don't go to Montessori schools, I love the freedom of encouraging kids to do what they want when they want. And it's always best to practice your own rules on yourself. ;)

Tips are great, and advice is free. But nobody has the perfect tip for you. If I was ever going to be the tidy and organised girl, I would never be encouraged to suddenly create LEGO trebuchets
with my kids. I'd be too worried about rescheduling my tidying time afterwards. Organised workspace – works for some; not for me. Just like I know some who prefer putting all their money into a 5br house, while I prefer travelling and education.

Be PROUD of who you are. You are one of the last remaining honest bloggers, who is not trying to hide who she is to appeal to more sponsorships. Go girl. And I'll dig you out of your 'blog-cave' if I haven't heard from you in a week.


Kim Bayne November 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I can totally relate to the laptop set in the kitchen and the distracted emailing and writing etc…I don't believe setting up a designated 'work space' with 'work times' could work for everyone…what if inspiration strikes in the middle of cooking dinner or bathing the kids and you have 'finished' for the day?? I know I am the epitomy of disorganisation…I am trying to work full time, mother full time, cook, clean, write for pleasure, study for professional gain, find my own career path in the world…all in a 24 hour day…but I have never been happier amongst the chaos because I have taught myself to recognise when I need to re-balance things and also to know that sometimes I need to be selfish dammit and that I am doing the best I can. You are awesome Lori xox


Donnamay November 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

"And would be just fine… mainly because there would be another person there, someone else to pick up my slack when I stumbled."

or in my case: someone else to blame stuff on!

We all struggle, make mistakes and learn in the process that we are only human. Love your post.


Jo Butler November 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

Lori, a great honest post. I'll let you in on a secret….all Mother's think like this! It's not just you, it's not because of what you have been through and it's not because you are doing it on your own. It's Mother guilt, so kick its arse and boot the ol' MG outta there. As Mother's we do what we have to do, we stuff up and we sometimes get it right! Hugs xxx


Eccles November 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

It doesn't matter how many hours there are in a day, there are never enough! It really depends on what you want/need to achieve each day. If you want to get a basket of laundry sorted, have the kids help; they can give you the clothespegs while you hang the laundry on the clothesline. Let them help you! All kids love to help & be made to feel important & needed. If you only achieve one "have to" & one "want to" a day, you have achieved!! (It's hard enough having to be a stepford wife & being compared to the mil). You do good!!!! I like that your raising the kidlets in "The Now". They will continue to fight & scream at each other, and then one day, they will stop & they'll be talking to each other. Hang on to "The Now" for as long as you can! Life is a roller coaster, it's better than the merry-go-round. Those mothers who are always on time, with perfectly dressed kids and beautifully styled clothes & hair… they're probably alocoholics or have prescription drug issues or they have help, or they're just very good at "faking" it. Focus on what's important – you have a roof over your heads, food in your tummies, clothes on your backs & you still manage to work, look after your kids & have a bit of a life. Hey, you've been on a trapeze & you've gone conyoning. WOW!! It's a tough couple of months for you. Be kind to yourself!! ((XX))


Claire November 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Loved this post, honey. Thinking of you and the weans.


Something Gorgeous November 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I've never met the perfect parent and I've been teaching for 25 years! G.x


Spagsy November 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I'm a twosome and its pretty dishevelled over here. But fuck it! You wake up, do your best. Go to bed. Say your prayers and thank Sweet Baby Jesus you got through. Life should be simple. No one said it was easy.


Tiffany November 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

As it should be. Watching us stumble and keep moving forward builds health and character in our children. It is the essence of good role modeling. I dream a future for you where you have let this self doubt and blame wash over you and fall away. Thank you for your beautiful, naked writing.

Reply November 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

"I comfort myself with the knowledge (excuse?) that even when I was parenting as part of a twosome, things would still be disorganized and ramshackle."

It's true. It's like we have this picture of ourselves in our heads, the 'what if' picture. In mine, If only I had done this or not done that or whatever, I would be in a better position now, with a more advanced career and perhaps my own house. I wouldn't binge eat or bitch about people behind their backs and I wouldn't get into awful black moods or backslide into terrible behaviours. In this idealised visage I also have far more awesome hair and possibly am taller. But if I had taken the 'right' path, I think I'd still be pretty similar – in fact, maybe I wouldn't have learned the valuable lessons I have learned.

I don't believe things happen for a reason, not at all. I think shit just happens. The only good thing that ever comes from it is that you learn valuable junk, for me it's not to make my myriad of mistakes over and over and over…

I can't offer anything else – I'm not a mum and I have no idea how it all works and how you possibly manage to get anything done at all (I have been a nanny, so I have a vague idea of what it's like to try to get things done while taking care of kids – almost impossible!) Suffice to say, you should be kind on yourself, if only because beating yourself up over it isn't going to get you anywhere but more frustrated.

Oh, and if you find those extra few hours in the day? Help a girl out and pass along the secret. :)


Previous post:

Next post: