Can't make a cake? Make do

Can't make a cake? Make do

My friend C sent me a weblink to a Huffington Post article last week with the message: "You can do this with your daughter."

I clicked on it and the headline sprang up: "This 4-year-old makes paper dresses with her mom - and they keep getting more amazing."

Another one of those wonder mums with whiz kids who make the rest of us - okay, me - look bad, I thought. In particular, the words "makes" and "amazing" jumped out at me, sending tendrils of unease slithering within me.

These curled into a tight knot of envy as I scrolled down and was greeted by picture after picture of the cute girl, called Mayhem, modelling various couture-worthy paper frocks she had helped create over the last nine months.

Wow, I so cannot do this with my daughter, I moaned inwardly. I wouldn't know where to start. C's wistful envy - she has two boys and playing dress-up is not exactly top of their to-do list - was clearly misplaced.

The thing is, I cannot make anything, except mountains out of molehills.

I can't make a cake, a dress or an art and craft project of any kind - all essential party tricks in mummy land, especially if you have younger kids. I can't even make a Lego model of anything recognisable without peering closely at the examples printed on the inserts and following them brick by tiny brick.

And I definitely can't, for the life of me, think of anything I've made with my two kids that can be described as amazing by any stretch.

It is amazing enough that my boy and girl, who will turn seven and four this year, have survived largely intact so far under the care of a hopeless woman who can't cook, sew or perform the Heimlich manoeuvre.

If you aren't exactly the self-confident sort, motherhood will amplify your insecurities a hundredfold. We all want to do the best by our kids and want them to think the best of us. We are supposed to be their best role models. But I fear it is only a matter of time before my myriad glaring deficiencies reduce these hopes to wishful thinking.

For example, my children have caught on to the fact that mama really can't draw. Their requests for my doodles - a knight, a garbage truck, a Stegosaurus and other equally confounding demands - have dwindled to nothing after I kept producing sorry efforts that bore zero resemblance to what they had in mind.

I knew my days as a struggling artist were over when my son, upon hearing his sister ask me for a drawing of a giraffe one day, told her matter-of-factly: "Come, I draw for you. Mama can't draw." He then proceeded to do a far better job than I could ever hope to achieve, to both my pride and shame.

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