Surely motherhood deserves a Blue Peter badge?

By Clare Hitchings


DESPITE a grade ‘C’ in GCSE Textiles and years of occasionally successful home baking attempts, I was never prepared for what was to be expected of me as the mother of a one-year-old.


In your first few months of motherhood you can get away with most things because you have a newborn. The world is suddenly a different place and the simplest of things become three times as hard.


However, in my experience, things change at around six months.


Suddenly, despite chasing around with a baby on your hip, a rescued cat bowl in one hand and a snotty tissue delicately pincered between your teeth, you’re expected to be the Mary Berry of the kitchen and Julien Macdonald of the children’s fancy dress section.


Erin’s first birthday for example. At the centre of such an affair, there has to be a cake. A cake with expectations far outweighing those in the Bake Off tent.


I could have just gone with shop bought and passed it off as my own. But there it was, that pesky feeling, that lurch in your stomach that says: “No, I want to do this one myself”.


Constructed using butter cream, a palette knife, a remarkably light and fluffy sponge, and five packets of smarties, I have to say the two hours it took me were worth it. The multi-coloured number one was a triumph!


Two weeks ago, my creative skills were once again tested.


At 4pm on a Tuesday, I was rather belatedly informed by the nursery, “It’s World Farm Day tomorrow. Can Erin please come dressed as an animal?” With an insufferable need to please people, I said: “Yes”, before even thinking about it.


At 7pm that night, with bath and bedtime done, I looked around for inspiration. Nothing.


Then I saw Benjamin Bunny poking his little head out of the toy box. She wouldn’t miss just one cuddly toy would she?


Armed with a cotton reel, needle, scissors, a hairband, baby leggings and an old bra wire, I went to work – Konnie Huq would be so proud!


Two hours later, I emerged victorious. Erin was to be a little white rabbit, complete with Benjamin bunny’s ears and pom pom tail.


I arrived at nursery the next day with a skip in my step and a very cute looking little bunny by my side.


Looking around it appeared that not everyone had sacrificed an early night in the name of fancy dress. In fact as far as I could see Erin was the only one.


She did win the top prize in the fancy dress competition, which made me feel less guilty about Benjamin Bunny’s predicament, and a little bit proud of my prowess with a needle and thread.


And it’s nearly Christmas… here we go again!


Clare Hitchings is a working mother and writer who believes in balance.  You can find her on Twitter @Superstag83.

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