About 97% of me always enjoys the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards. I’ve been to three of the annual award ceremonies now and this year’s, which took place last Sunday, was just as inspiring as always – eight amazing women going above and beyond to make a difference to other people’s lives.
Then there is this niggling 3% of me that I’m actually slightly ashamed of, as it feels pretty selfish. It’s the 3% of me that feels bad because I haven’t set up a charity or saved a life or raised huge amounts of cash for a good cause.
You see? Pretty selfish isn’t it? Because none of it is meant to be about me. I comfort myself with the thought that it’s all part of the normal parenting guilt thing, where nothing you do is ever really quite good enough. The internet makes it worse because things like Pinterest instil in you the idea that all the proper mums are creating simple yet elegant windowsill displays at the same time as preparing wholesome bento box packed lunches for their funky yet casual looking, ruddy faced children.
This year though was a little bit different and taught me a valuable lesson. This year we got to spend some time backstage with the winners, and it was a reminder that all of these people you see doing wonderful things are really just ordinary mums. They aren’t superwomen. This is doubly inspiring because it makes you realise we are all the same really, and experience the same worries about our families, but it then makes you think ‘hang on, these women are just like me. There is nothing stopping me from doing any of the amazing things that they have done if I just switched off Millionaire Matchmaker and put my mind to it.’
Take Natasha Jones for instance. I wrote recently about Natasha and her experience of near miss cot death, and how it led her to set up baby resuscitation classes and campaign for better education for parents. When I wrote it I admit I was a little in awe of Natasha. I imagined her as this terribly efficient, driven woman, immune to everyday distractions. This is ridiculous of course.
When I met Natasha in person she was one of the most down to earth, friendly and approachable women you could hope to meet. As she told me about finding her daughter, not breathing, and her efforts to keep her alive, I felt connected to her. “How did you manage to sleep after that?” I asked her.
“I didn’t,” she answered honestly. “For about two months I barely slept at all. I set up the baby resuscitation classes to stop myself going mad – I had to do something to stop myself thinking about it.”
And this is what we do as mothers isn’t it? We do whatever we have to do to makes things feel OK. For some people this means channelling energy into a charity or fundraising project, for others it’s more internal, but whatever we do, it’s OK. We are all doing something amazing – raising children.
Oh, and did I mention I got to see Blue perform live?
I am a Tesco Mum of the Year Blogger Ambassador.