My name is Kerry McLean and I am a terrible mother. At least that's how I'm made to feel sometimes and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Every time I log on to social media, I'm confronted with the image of another super parent, healthy good-looking souls, with perfect hair and wide, white smiles, standing beside their identical, gifted offspring.
These mothers, and I'm sorry but it is usually the mums, are pros when it comes to the humble brag and always begin their posts with phrases like, "I'm always so tired at the moment but I guess that's the price you pay for running 20 miles before your organic breakfast!" or "After a hard day gardening and growing all our own vegetables, my children are whipping up a souffle for our dinner. #Blessed."
They're the parents who just can't wait to share their stories with the world of how young Tilly has been using her time in lockdown to finish her Grade 54 in Violin, or of teenage Jeremy and the 12 languages he's fluent in, having only started learning them in March. And you can bet your bottom dollar she and her husband have been training together and are keen to share the news that they now have less body fat than Usain Bolt and can run twice as fast. I'm so pleased for them...
If it sounds like I'm bitter and jealous, it's because I am. While lots of us had fantastic plans initially about using our enforced time at home in a positive way, maybe learning something new and getting in shape during lockdown, I'm guessing more than half of us are going back out and into the world, with no new accomplishments, bar a vast knowledge of telly box sets and at least a couple of added inches around our waists.
So yes, I'm a bit jealous of anyone who had the willpower to make the most of the last few months but still I think it unfair to have my slovenly ways rubbed in my face. The same goes for my lack of parental prowess.
In the early weeks I was really organised, going out for daily walks, even holding in-house competitions to see who could muster the most miles covered on our old exercise machine which had, until Covid-19 occurred, lain unloved in a corner of the garage.
I was determined to maintain my children's fitness levels and stretch them mentally too. We played maths games, went on nature hunts, created scrapbooks, painted rainbows and made pots out of clay. And then we stopped. Not only had I run out of new ideas, but the kids had started to avoid me when I entered the room, reacting to me much as they would to those over-enthusiastic children's entertainers you get on holiday.
Part of me feels like I'm failing them by not pushing them to take on new challenges and master new skills but, given what a weird and stressful time we've been through and looking at their relaxed little faces, I think the laissez faire approach may be right one for now.
Not an approach ever considered by the Houlding family from England. This week, the family went to the Alps for their holiday. But instead of merely enjoying the views, or even meandering through the flower strewn meadows at the base of the mountains, they decided to climb Piz Badile, a notoriously difficult peak to scale.
I should add that the family consists of professional climber dad, GP mum, their seven-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. There are photos of all the family clinging on, smiling, despite the vertical drop beneath them. When the going got tough for three-year-old Jackson, his mum simply scooped him up, tied him onto her back, and continued her ascent up the cliff face. Something tells me she'd be great at the old humble brag: "Knackered after ascending 11,000 feet up the Alps but that's what you get when you climb a mountain with a family member on your back!"
Should I drive myself and my children on to greater things like this mum? Possibly. But while my kids are happy and healthy, chatting with me and laughing like drains, I'll not worry too much.
Like they say, #Blessed.