This morning I was casually flicking through Facebook, half reading, half keeping an eye on my mini monster eyeing up the dog's water bowl, trying to decide if the joy of tipping it over outweighed the telling-off that would follow. I stopped on a post from a lady seeking reassurance. 


It started with the words 'I feel like a terrible mum.'


I'm drawn to posts which start this way. They give me a sense of kinship. Someone else out there is questioning themselves and their choices for their children. In a world of technology where we have an ability to paint a picture-perfect life, someone dares to bare their soul to the cruel and judging world in the hopes someone out there has a few words of comfort.


I went on to read her reason for shaming herself so publicly. It was her child's first birthday, and as money was tight she had only bought them a few presents and had only £30 for a birthday party or trip out somewhere. 


We all have that friend somewhere in our contacts who, for their child birthday, buys them half of Toys r us and tops it off with a party that could put Harper Beckham's bash to shame. 


Wouldn't we all do this if we could? For many of us, it simply isn't possible. But should we?


When I was a kid, I would wake up, open my 'big' present, something I had asked for such as a doll and pushchair, or as I grew up a Boyzone CD. I would open my little presents, books and other little things. After school, my friends would come round for tea and we would have something whimsical like picnic food for tea with jelly and ice cream.  It would have been a perfect day. 


Granted, when I was a kid there were no such things as personal electronics, but had there been my birthday certainly wouldn't have been any less special for not receiving the newest iPad.


This lady had given everything she had to make her child's birthday special and still felt she was lacking as a mother.


I wanted to reach out to this lady, to tell her she was not alone, to tell her she had nothing to feel terrible for. By this time my mini monster had decided that turning the dog's bowl over was a fantastic idea.


Leaving me to discard my phone and get on with the cleanup of the mess I knew would be coming, but for five minutes peace, it was worth the gamble. By the time I picked up my phone, the post was long gone and I could no longer find it but it didn't move far from my thoughts. 


So I dedicate my message to that lady, and to all the mums and dads out there questioning their ability to make their child's day special. It is about the fun, not the material things.


An iPad will not cuddle your baby when they are sick. Baby Annabelle will not comfort your daughter through her first heartbreak. No football shirt will teach your son his first shave. 


Hire a bouncy castle or take them to the park, it's the adventure you make it for them that they will remember.


So I ask that when you find yourself questioning if you are giving enough. Stop, and ask yourself, do they really want the whole zoo, or would they be happy feeding the ducks?

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