Time for mums to cut themselves some slack

Let's put the push to be the perfect mum aside and relish being mothers, for the time with our young children passes at warp speed

It took only seconds. We'd just finished breakfast of finger foods, carrots and pears, along with sweet potato puree. I was loading the dishwasher and singing The Wheels On The Bus, while my daughter Happy, then nine months old, swayed in a mechanical swing, clumsily clapping her chubby hands. Then came the shriek, followed by a pitiful wail. Spinning round, I found her pink-clad frame face down on the hardwood floor, her head resting atop the swing's metal base. Lunging over, I hugged Happy's trembling body, as her miserable cry amplified. Blood circled the swollen rim of her lower lip as more blood oozed down her chin: She was a baby Rocky Balboa!

I was alone, hands visibly shaking, mind racing: Why was there so much blood? Does she have a concussion? Should I go to the doctor? How did I ever let this happen?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 12, 2019, with the headline 'Time for mums to cut themselves some slack'. Subscribe