The Sun has got his hat on, the birds are singing their song and the feeding therapist is coming out to play.
I am once again going to be sat on the other side of the table. The mum rather than the teacher.
As a professional, who has over the years visited many families, I’m not sure I ever considered how invasive my visits were. The involvement of others in our family life is something I’m not sure we really consider until we are in a position where we need help.
No mum – no parent – wants to be scrutinised.
We are all imperfect, choosing our battles, muddling through each day, making it up as we go along. Our homes are not schools or clinical settings. Life is not black and white.
I know only too well that I am far more consistent with my work head on than with my mum head. At work my focus is consistently the children. At home – as with every parent – there are always multiple priorities on my time. We juggle relationships, families, work, cooking, tidying and children on a simultaneous basis.
Sometimes (in my case more often than not), life does not go to plan.
I do not go into families’ homes to judge them. I go to help. More often than not because they have invited me, because they know that help is something they and their children need. Likewise today, we are desperately in need of help from the feeding therapist. I want her advice. I am grateful to her for giving up her day.
But I am also resentful.
No matter how much she, or I in a different world, try not to judge. We do. It is human nature. We are present but for a snapshot of someone’s life, but that does not stop us making assumptions about the way they live them.
It is a funny position to be in. Whichever side of the table you sit on.
Professionals have a job to do. Parents in our position need them. But need is very different to want.
After all, we need to visit the dentist – but I’m not sure it’s a trip any of us relish.
This year has taught me a lot. About the type of mum I am, the type of person I am and about the kind of friend I am. Some of my discoveries have been pleasant ones, others less so. But it has also taught me a lot about my work life.
I have learnt what it feels like to be the parent who is desperate. I have learnt what it feels like to be beholden to professionals. And I have learnt what it is like to be judged.
They are feelings that unless you have experienced them, you will never really understand.
I hope having felt this way as a mum it will make me a more understanding professional.
But more than anything it will make me a more resilient one. Next time my well meaning advice is met a little less enthusiastically than I would like, I will sit back and remember.