I woke up this morning sweaty with anxiety, tangled in sheets and the remnants of a mix of disturbing dreams.
I had one dream that I sent one of my girls out to work. As she's only five, I went with her to make sure everything was okay, then I dried her tears and pepped her up and sent her on her way.
In another I took my girls out for ice-cream and couldn't control them. One stole something from a shop, one ran out into the middle of a busy road, and neither would do what I asked, commanded, begged, bribed or cajoled. Then I hit them both until a passerby ran up to stop me. I still remember the feelings of rage, shame and helplessness that I was feeling at that instant.
In a third dream one of the girls was declared a dead ringer for our prime minister (though she looks nothing like her), and I was a pushy star-struck mum who agreed we should all hang out in the PM's entourage (?!), even once I found out that my daughter was being used as a body-double/decoy due to her uncanny resemblance to the PM.
I cannot think of any situation in real life that triggered these dreams. Though we did go out for ice-cream yesterday, the girls were good and no one stole anything or lost control. I have never hit them. No one here resembles the prime minister and I don't want my girls to do anything except be pre-schoolers.
But these dreams do all have the "bad parent" theme in common.
What does this mean - am I anxious about the direction things are going? Or do I secretly fear that maybe I am a bad mother?
Probably the second and I would bet that this is a secret fear that most mothers hold, even when they believe they are doing a good job - as they most assuredly are.