'You deserve a sock in your eye because you're so HORRIBLE!' screams the 10-year old, dislodging my contact lens with well-aimed footwear.
I have never had any delusions about my character. 'Mediocre' wrote my history teacher. 'Lunatic' says my brother. But it takes offspring to divulge the full extent of ones defects.
I never realised the depths of my egotism until my daughter pointed out the damage wholemeal bread and the mile-long walk to school is doing to her sense of Being. 'You are totally selfish!' she says.
I never understood my callousness until my son blamed me for the pooches with killer eyes that cross his path on Sunday strolls. 'You are evil!' he shrieks.
And my horribleness had not hit home until Sunday lunch when I deferred permission for the 10-year-old to browse body art on my laptop while we finished our sausages.
I extract sock fibres from my left eyeball and reflect on motherhood. Storybooks tell of serene, selfless, irresistible women whose children kneel lovingly at their side to recite their bedtime prayers. My manual on raising girls invites readers to imagine their daughters as adults radiant with graces instilled by their mother's fine example. The reality is that motherhood has turned me into a monster.
I am a despot because I extinguish my twosome with 8.30pm bedtimes and hold vindictive views on iPhones and body piercings.
I am a thief because I spirit cherished T-shirts to the washing machine and a torturer because I enforce peas.
Most unforgivable of all I am an embarrassment because I wear floor-length waterproofing in rain storms and have never patronised Dominos Pizza.
This revelation of my true nature is dismaying, but I hadn't reckoned on the forgiving nature of children. There is a scream as the 10-year-old spills UHU on her new leggings and I rise instantly to the occasion. Without thought for my own sanity I brave the stormy weeping and seize the injured garment. And with endurance that awes me I assault the stain with improvised nail polish remover.
The 10-year-old, studying her almost-restored treasure, embraces this hint of my redemption:
'The best thing about mums,' she muses, 'is that they can always make things better.'
Has motherhood ruined your character?