I received it today. Yes. I received official confirmation that I am A Good Mother. Naturally, from the moment I realised I was first pregnant several hundred years ago, I have been plagued with doubts and paranoias about how good a mother I am. Some of recent fears are as follows:
-I am spending too much time away from my children- even in the evenings when we are all together, I tend to smuggle in a goodish chunk of time reading/on the internet.
-I worked for too many hours when they were babies, and I went on too many missions.
-By removing them from the smoky, screamy atmosphere of Tehran, Tehran The Surreal, I am depriving them of the wonderful constant companionship of an army of relatives, headed by their Grandmothers and Grandfather.
-I haven’t put the princess in piano lessons. Frankly, I think it would be a waste of money.
-We eat out too much, and I don’t give them enough fresh home-cooked food.
-I’m not really interested in their school work. Many weeks I forget to remind the princess to do her homework.
And so on. And so on. The list haunts me, but not enough that I actually do anything about it.
But today, I received an award from the highest possible authority that actually, I’m a very good mother- one of the best.
The award came from the princess’s classmate. She ran up to us early morning in the playground, as we were waiting for the morning school bell, and began chatting:
-Oh princess, I love your hair! And that is the most beautiful hairclip ever! You are so lucky- I notice your mum does your hair in all these lovely different styles every day! Look at all these sparkly beads in your hair! My mum just pulls my hair back in a ponytail- I am so sick of it! If only she did this stuff to my hair!
The princess and I looked upon the little girl with mixed emotions. I could see the princess was clearly taken aback by this praise of her mother- she regards the morning routine of “doing her hair” as a bothersome, annoying imposition. Instead of letting her watch cartoons and films till the very last moment, I insist on screaming until the hairbrush is found, brush her hair, and “do” it up -and yes, I try to do it differently every day, much as we dress for the office and school differently every day. And here was her friend- from a higher grade actually, thus with more power and prestige, actually praising this mother and her much-loathed routine!
But I was torn. On the one hand, I was delighted that the princess was getting such positive signals from her peers about me and my mothering skills. On the other hand, the familiar feelings of guilt and useless pity was creeping in, this time with a different object. Oh this poor darling little girl, whose mother doesn’t make up her hair as nice and pretty as she should… Oh dear, should we make her feel sad by fussing with the princess’s hair too much? Oh God…
I was so glad when the bell rang.