I am a tremendous fan of Julia Donaldson, and so naturally my kids both are too as I have a certain amount of say over which books make it into Santa’s sleigh each year. My recent parody of her brilliant book A Squash and a Squeeze, has proven to be my most popular post to date, and so jumping on that, here is a twist on one of her other classics – The Snail and The Whale:
This is the tail of a parenting fail
And a once judgemental pre-child snail.
This is the snail who tapped her foot,
Whilst judging mums with an angry tut.
But the tiny snail could hear tick-tock
The groaning of her body clock,
Still, as she watched she sniffed and sighed,
Do all those parents have no pride?
“I would not fail!”
Said the pre-child snail.
These are the pre-child snails in flock.
That judged with mild disdain and shock
And watched the mums with an angry tut,
That begged “Be quiet! Sit still! Stay put!”
But the pre-child snail that sniffed and sighed,
Had precious cargo, tucked inside.
This is the tale of the pre-child snail,
A cautionary tale, a lesson learned,
Of how she found the tables turned.
This is the snail, who late one night,
Through gritted teeth screamed “Holy Sh*te!”
Whose labour went on all night long,
With contractions both fast and strong,
Who screamed obscenities in waves,
(Not like her pre-child self behaves!)
But this is the tale of the post-child snail.
Who held her child adoringly
And whispered “You are loved by me!”
A family of three, once wild and free,
That carried the snail,
Who is new to our tale.
Who day and night made loud demands,
For Mummy’s milk and Mummy’s hands,
This is the Mum who raced and dashed,
Who had no sleep.
Who’s brain was mashed.
The frazzled snail made a parenting fail.
These are the days, that pass in a daze.
This is the tot, the sick and the snot,
The tears and the shite, that screeched all the night,
That screeched and screamed at the brand new mum,
Who questioned and wondered just what she’d become.
This is the toddler loud and rude,
With awful manners over food,
Which the mummy snail,
Considered a fail.
This is the tot that stropped and bit,
And sometimes was a *whispers* little shit!
That dropped and wailed without a care,
And everyone would stand and stare,
At the mummy snail, and her terrible fail.
This is the child who, fed and warm,
Could still erupt like a thunderstorm?
This is the mum, deprived of rest,
Who tried and tried and tried her best,
And she gazed at the sea, the land, the sky,
And asked Lord Google “Why oh why?”
“I’m a rubbish snail and a parenting fail!”
But one day the mum could take no more
And she cried, alone on her kitchen floor.
This is the tea in the playgroup hall,
That really isn’t warm at all.
These are the mums who gather there,
And say “Play nicely – learn to share!”
This is the door, no longer shut.
And this is the Mum with the judgy tut.
The mum who knew now what to know,
The mum who shyly said “Hello?”
These are the mums who gather round,
Amidst their toddlers’ screeching sound.
Who share their tales and awkward fails,
Of sleepless nights and screeching strops,
Humiliation at the shops,
Of endless love but countless tears,
The shock and fun of becoming a mum.
And these are the mums that shout “Hurray!”
As fear and anxieties melt away.
Shared over cake,
Mistake by mistake,
Sometimes over the phone,
But not ever alone.
And they laugh and smile as they each regale,
Together, whether mum or snail,
And they trust in their hearts as they hear each tale,
There is no such thing, as a mummy fail.
Please don’t think for one second that I am insinuating that mums are like snails. (Well aside from the silvery trail of something unspeakable that we often fashion about the knee and shoulder but that’s something else.) When I thought about it though I had to admit that we can sometimes have a tendency to withdraw into our shells when the going gets tough, or for example when a tiny person comes tearing out of us that gives absolutely zero toots about what the books say they are supposed to do. We’re tough. It takes a lot of trampling to break down that shell, and inside it can be a very lonely place to feel, and feel like an overwhelming place to fail. In my opinion, nothing helps like finding a mum friend – an MFF. This post is dedicated with hugs to all of my own MFFs, and also to Sally, founder of Meet Other Mums, who created this brilliant site so that we mums could come together and find an MFF of our very own.