Motherhood is an epic journey and being a parent is a wonderful yet terrifying responsibility. According to my Mum,
you never stop worrying about your children and you will always think of them as your ‘babies’. They might have a mortgage, a full beard and an annual subscription to Laithwaites wine club, yet you will still have the urge to check if they’ve washed behind their ears.
At some point early on in this journey, I had an epiphany:
My Mum was winging it the whole time! Who knew that whenever I was poorly or upset and my mum held me tight and told me that everything was going to be ok, because she was here and she was looking after me; that inside she was wondering what the hell to do. That she was frightened, worried and overwhelmed by the responsibility. Who knew? I didn’t. My thoughts were; this woman has it down, she’s in control, I am safe and yes, everything will be ok.
So you can imagine my sense of failure when, as a mother myself, I felt like I had the lead role in a performance I hadn’t rehearsed for and the spotlight was illuminating my incompetence. It was as though I’d expected my ‘Mother Super Powers’ to kick in during childbirth, yet mine hadn’t been activated.
So when I realised that my own Mum had been improvising the whole time, it was a revelation! If she’d been winging it, then I can wing it too. Mums are not superhuman! We have only love and instinct as our guides. These, along with blind panic and a large glass of wine at the end of the day, are all you need.
It’s easy for mums to worry about whether or not we are doing ok. Unlike a paid job, we have no performance reviews or annual appraisals. Mother’s day is our day for feedback. If the kids were my managers, I imagine my ‘appraisal’ would go something like this:
Congratulations Mum, you have exceeded the family’s expectations this year. Your mum skills are epic and you have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty. As a result the department is flourishing. We, the children are not only alive, we are also happy, well cared for and deeply loved. The year has not been without its difficulties – sleep deprivation, potty training and your ‘dry January’ challenge to name a few. But you have exceeded in other areas. Your pureed homemade soup has proved to be an excellent way of ensuring that we unwittingly eat our veggies and you have learned all the words to ‘Let it go’. Well done. Targets: Your time keeping is quite frankly, shoddy. This needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, although, given the nature of the problem, we expect it will be later. Lastly; blogging. This is clearly a therapeutic outlet for you and that’s great. However, your habit of sneaking in to the toilet with your laptop hasn’t gone unnoticed. Whilst this demonstrates enthusiasm, it’s against family policy to ‘blog in the bog’. That said, we are highly impressed with your efforts this year and as a thank you for your hard work, we are pleased to present you with a handmade card, a case of wine, and a voucher for a spa day. Plus a lie in, tea in bed and lots of cuddles from us.
I’d like to dedicate this post to my three awesome Mothers.
My mum. Whom I now realise is more awesome than I ever gave her credit for. And even though I know her ‘winging it’ secret, I can still rely on her to give me a hug and tell me everything’s going to be OK. She’s a legend.
My Step-mum. Step-mums have a bit of a reputation. Cinderella’s was wicked and Snow white’s was evil. My step-mum however, is great. Unlike the fairytale portrayals, my Step-mum is warmhearted, kind and thoughtful. What’s more, she puts up with my Dad.. Respect.
My Mother-in Law. For a lot of people, the Mum-in-law relationship can be a tricky one (Les Dawson built a career out of slating his!) But I got lucky. I have always received nothing but warmth and generosity from my Mum-in-law, oh, and a fantastic pair of vintage early 80’s sheepskin boots!
Happy Mother’s Day!