Growing up, I never thought I was particularly maternal. I still don’t, really. Having kids was always something I was sure I’d get around to doing at some point but I certainly didn’t have a spawning plan, like ‘have five before 35’ or ‘grow my own rugby team’ or ‘marry someone rich who can pay for a nanny so I can do reformer pilates four times a week’.
So when I found out I was up the duff with my first, I cried – a lot. When I told my parents the news, Dad exclaimed, “Oh, I didn’t think you wanted kids!” When I took the test with my second and saw the +, I shrugged and said, “Huh. OK.” No OHMYGOSHIMSOEXCITEDs, no celebratory dinners, just … it is what it is.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not the most mumzy of mums. I work, for one. Even though I love working and loads of us do it, every now and again I still feel like I’d be a better, more proper mum if I was at home with my kids all the time.
I formula-fed/feed too. It worked/works for me and my family but again, there’s always that slight feeling of not quite doing it right, especially when I crank out the bottle in public and prepare myself for lingering gazes from perfect strangers that I really shouldn’t pay attention to but sometimes do despite myself.
Spawn #1 also consumes his fair share of screen time. To those people who say that videos are bad, I’d argue that they’ve either never had kids or don’t like Saturday morning lie-ins.
But there are plenty of things that I am good at, like reading books. I put on voices and leave big pauses so Spawn #1 can finish my sentences. He loves reading before bed and I love doing the reading for him. I love it even more when his cute little voice recites a book cover to cover and I think, yep, he’s going to earn me megabucks one day.
I’m great at singing songs. Well, ‘great’ is subjective (I’m no Mariah) so maybe ‘enthusiastic’ is more appropriate. Car drives are filled with singing (more often than not endless iterations of the ABCs or Old McDonald) and I know a fair few Sesame Street classics, thanks to Elmo et al.
I give great cuddles. I have no qualms about getting down on the floor and building train tracks that weave around the lounge for a week. I do awesome cheek raspberries that produce peals of laughter from the belly of my firstborn. Hiding under the duvet is rollicking good fun (and a good excuse for a momentary lie-down). And I’ve already bought a trampoline for Christmas because I know Spawn #1 will practically DIE when he sees it and there was a ridiculously good Farmers sale I just couldn’t refuse #notspon
My kids have taught me a lot. That if I was at home with them all the time, I wouldn’t be the best me. That sometimes only Mummy can fix things like stubbed toes or scraped knees, and that’s the most beautiful feeling in the world. That eight hours of sleep in a row are for losers (but man I wish I was a loser). That some battles are worth fighting (like being kind and gentle and generous) and others just aren’t worth the effort (like wearing undies back to front … or wearing undies at all).
But most of all, my kids have taught me that I am a bloody awesome mum. On the days I make it to the zoo, cook a homemade dinner that actually gets eaten by everyone, clean the house from top to toe and have a steaming cup of tea waiting when Husband gets home from work, I’m awesome. And on the days when none of us get out of our pyjamas until after lunch, we spend most of the day watching Netflix even though it’s a beautiful day outside, and I take the tribe to McDonald’s for dinner because I can’t be arsed cooking, I’m also awesome.
I didn’t know what I was doing when I got pregnant, I didn’t know what I was doing when they were born, and I still don’t know what I’m doing half the time.
But I am Mummy. And even if my kids are too young to tell me that they’re proud of me, I’m proud of me. And honestly? That’s probably more important.
Happy Mother’s Day, me.