The Perfect Family?

If there is such a thing as the perfect family it would surely be headed by the perfect 'Yummy Mummy' type, right?

In that case there I am, the 'Stay-At-Home-Yummy-Mummy' perfectly coiffed and highly polished; floating around all day long, drinking copious cups of tea or 'doing lunch' with all my yummy mummy friends. Before we head off in our super-shiny vehicles to go collect the 'brats' from school. I would then just leave my 'brat' to his own devices until dinner time. If he wants a snack he knows where the fridge is, I have better things to do. Like to sit down with another cup of tea and watch the 'Today' afternoon chat show on Irish TV.

Of course, that would be in an alternative universe - similar to the one depicted by 'she-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned' and who appeared on another Irish chat show last night i.e. The Late Late Show.

Meanwhile in the real world I run around all day long in my tracksuit, doing only the necessary housework I will admit along with some grocery shopping, gym-going, patient visiting, pet minding, phone-call making, prescription collection, shirt ironing..... and all the other jobs that the SAHM (or dad) only can do as no-one else has the time. Yes there is the odd coffee morning or lunch date (thank GOD!) Yes I drop my son the short distance to the bus stop at 7.40 am in my pyjamas - over which I throw on my longest coat and never get out of the car. If I drive him all the way to school I dress appropriately.... and so what if I didn't! And yes, I do watch the Today chat show..... after I've made my son his snack and while I'm also simultaneously preparing dinner, ironing and relentlessly shouting 'do your homework' up the stairs! Plus also trying to stop the cat from eating the budgie or from getting her paws into the fish tank!

Yvonne Hogan was on one of the Today shows I was recently viewing discussing 'only children' and the opinions some people have on one-child families. She talked about a book 'One And Only' by Lauren Sandler who came across some disturbing judgments based on small case studies in her research. Yvonne was non-judgmental herself and pointed out that she could find no definitive negative research on the effects of being an only child. In fact she came across one study that showed that only children - and the eldest child in a family - can fare better academically, presumably as the parents (or the SAHM!!) has more time to give to them (her words). Of course children with siblings benefit in ways that the only child may not. She chatted to some random people on the street and I was a little taken aback that only two of them pointed out that it may not be through choice that a child is an only child.

Having only one child myself I have to admit to not giving any thought to what others think of our status until watching that programme. I really shouldn't be but I am dumbfounded that there are people out there judging me for that. Just as they are judging me for being an SAHM.

Frankly it's nobody's business why my boy or any other child is an only child, just as it's none of my business how many children other mums have or whether or not they work outside the home.

Personally speaking I don't think being an only child is the end of the world. The concerns mainly centre around sharing and sibling companionship. And they have concerned me too but as his parent it is incumbent on me to find ways to compensate. That's what the endless toddler groups, play dates and rounds of extra curricular activities were all about. He has learned how to share, how to make friends, how to ensure his friends actually want to play what he wants to play and (most importantly - I'm not a bank!) how to save his pocket money to buy his own console games.

There is no guarantee, or written law, that siblings will be compatible you know! I was an only child too, well for 6 years until my baby brother arrived.  Luckily I loved having a sibling and age gap aside we got on well as kids and I am very glad for his companionship now as adults. Especially with an ailing, elderly parent.

And that is one thing that worries me for my only child. But things can be put in place for the future too.

Now, I am not judging 'she-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned' above but I do wonder what it is she does for a living - I refuse to give her the google hits to find out. She must do something as she can't possibly be a 'full time mummy'. If, as I suspect, her 'Celebrity- Seeking Gobbyness' is her 'job' then I much prefer mine,even though it pays considerably less :-) I will agree with her on one thing though. I too don't like the term 'full time mummy' for it implies that mums that work outside the home are 'part-time mummys' and that is just not fair and is divisive.

You know, us women have enough to contend with without criticising each others decisions, sometimes made out of necessity rather than by choice.

There was another guest on after her on last night's Late Late Show. A person with a real life story to tell. A person who was thought to have been born a man but found out much later in life (because he just couldn't deal with the changes in his/her body) that he was actually born a woman. It was an incredible tale, bravely told.

His ex-wife and daughter sat in the audience along with his parents.

If how loving and supportive their daughter appeared is anything to go by then they did a terrific job as parents.

There is no such a thing as 'The Perfect Family'.

The love and support of the family you have, no matter how apparently imperfect it's composition is all that matters.

After all.....



  1. so very very true
    I think for each choice there are pros and cons - personally for our life have one stay at home parent ( DH) and only one child has worked out quite well.
    If it does not turn out right in the future - if DH wants to work then we will adjust accordingly
    But in no case shall it be anyone's business

  2. So well said, my friend! Too many people stick their noses where they don't belong.

  3. @Floortime Lite Mama: Yes, we are very lucky in our circumstances too for it is what works for our family. Most familes do the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves in. And you're right, we can all adjust accordingly if and when those circumstances change.

    @Shelly: Darn right they do!

    Thank you both for your comments.

    Thanks also to those on facebook (I've only shared this post once so far!) who have have left some lovely, supportive comments and who also get what I'm trying to say here :-)

    xx Jazzy

  4. You did it! What a lovely post it is. Yes, we all do the best that we can with what we have. "... us women have enough to contend with without criticising each others decisions, sometimes made out of necessity rather than by choice" Great point! I think that no matter how many children one has-their hearts are full to the brim-that they all worry equally..maybe about different things-but then again, all of our lives, children, circumstances are different. It would be a much nicer world if people would recognize that instead of passing judgement. As an aside-when we had our 3rd(Lily) after the boys-so many people asked me if the reason I had had her was simply because I wanted a girl-AND if I was done having children now. Threw me for a loop!
    Love, support-.those ARE the things that make up a family-no matter what the size.
    Lovely post!...errrr...shall we meet again next Friday and discuss all things distracting? It seems to have worked! :))

  5. The perfect family is one you only know superficially. Once you get inside any family you see all sorts of imperfections, just like the rest of us. If you're happy then you probably have the perfect family for you.

  6. An interesting read... And I completely agree with Rachel above, if you are happy then that's all that counts! :D

  7. @Kathleen: I so, agree 'our hearts are full to the brim'. Great points. There seems to be judgement no matter what we do as women.... usually from other women. I try hard to avoid asking personal questions or making personal statements.
    Yes! Our mutual support got us off our procrastinating asses to finally BLOG! Let's do
    it again ;-)

    @Midlife Singlemum: Absolutely! The love and support given and received within families makes for a happy one.

    @BavarianSojourn: Totally!

    Thanks so much for your comments :-)

    xx Jazzy

  8. Sometimes I think that I have three "only" children in this house. Certainly they are a prime example of things not going to plan... I hate the "mummy wars" that pitch SAHMs against those who don't. I think it's just another divide and conquer strategy to keep us squabbling amongst ourselves instead asking bigger and more important questions. Like why is child rearing not valued more? xx

  9. Yer wan is a professional troll from what I can see!
    I hate the impression that parenting is competitive. the only competition I have is with my duvet in the morning!

  10. Ooh, what a good post to land on in one of my sporadic 'catching up with my favourite blogs' sessions ;)

    I've not only seen that you have a perfect arse (well played, Candi) but you've given me real food for thought as a fellow mum-of-one.

    I don't know who you're talking about of course, not being in Ireland, but yes, knowing you're being judged for stopping after one child is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. I didn't stop at one deliberately, but the very people who will judgmentally quiz you for seemingly doing so would be the very ones who would go on to state to others that you shouldn't be sharing personal traumas in casual conversation (if being made to feel selfish for not providing a sibling can be classed as casual).

    I think you can't win with the judgmental, competitive types, and why should we want to? Those who judge are generally pretty unpleasant people - and I've known a few of them.

    Ooh I love a good morning-break rant - and now for some toasted fruit loaf! :D Beadzoid x x x

  11. @Looking For Blue Sky: I did give thought to familes feeling like they had 'only children'! Would apply to those with big age gaps between children too. And I agree with the bigger picture you portray. Something I have blogged about a number of times. In my opinion the Government doesn't value what we do either. So, as you say, suits them that yet another 2 groups disagree?

    @Wholesome Cook: A Celebrity Seeking Gobby Troll!! Yes, there are mornings I compete with the duvet but I have to go back to bed after the school-bus run to do it ;-) (Don't tell yer wan!)

    @Beadzoid: Ah, what a lovely thing to say! Glad you dropped by and that I gave you a good rant!! We're best off not listening to them. Blocking them and their unpleasantness completely. After we've had a good rant of course ;-)

    Dunno what I was thinking allowing a photo of my ass to be put on LFBS' s blog!! Sure would be rude not to given her kind nomination :-)

    Thanks for all your comments :-)

    xx Jazzy

  12. Yes, yes, yes, I'm nodding away in complete agreement with what you said! The part that stuck a chord with me most was this - You know, us women have enough to contend with without criticising each others decisions, sometimes made out of necessity rather than by choice. - I have been a SAHM since our emigration 2 years ago and you wouldn't believe the criticism I get from other women, it drives me nuts! Like you say there is no such thing as the 'perfect family'

  13. @Lous Lake Views: I'm glad you agree! It really is unbelievable how much we judge one another as mothers. When the tax code for married women in Ireland changed over 10 years ago I was astounded at the diatribe on radio programmes from mums that worked outside the home towards those of us who don't. Incredible...
    I'm just ignoring them and getting on with my 'job'

    If you want to know how valued a stay-at-home-parent is ask your life assurance company. They're the only ones I know who put a 'value' on what we do.... because they realise and acknowledge just how expensive we are to 'replace'.

    I will confirm for non-Irish readers that 'she who shall not be mentioned' is Katie Hopkins. I didn't want to name or link to her & give her google hits!

    xx Jazzy

  14. Oooh, I am dying to know who 'she-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned' is ~ but then again if she is Irish, then I wouldn't have a clue! :-)
    Nothing wrong with having an only child, sometimes I wish that I had stopped at one! Besides the fact that I am being factious, I do get what you mean. No matter what we do, there will always people out there to judge us. I was saying to a friend today... first you are asked about engagement then marriage then when is the next child, and then the next one. Then it is the breastfeeding, school placement and the debate over tv, food and religion blah blah. It is like a never ending cycle of #oneupmanship!

  15. @Bright Side of Life: Just look at my previous comment!! Yes, there's always someone asking those questions. I have never asked anyone those questions, especially couples who are long term partners and/or without children. I wouldn't dream of doing so, it's such a personal thing!

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

  16. This post really struck a chord with me as Little A is an only child, and I don't think I will be having any more (I am 43 now) .... pregnancy didn't agree with me and then I had post natal illness, and I can't risk any of that again. I am forever wavering on my decision as I do worry about her future when I get old BUT I know this is the right decision for my family and we are happy. Beside which Little A has lots of friends... and anyway, I don't have a close relationship with either if my siblings, and so I am not sure it really matters. There are pros and cons to having or not having siblings. X

  17. @Older Mum: Yes, it is a very tough decision and no-one has the right to judge you - or me! -on our situations. If the decision you make is right for your family then it is the right decision. I very much agree with your sibling thoughts too :-)

    Thanks for commenting :-)

    xx Jazzy


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