Belated Mother’s Day post

By Legal Eagle

I don’t feel like the best mother today. My daughter was sick last week, and didn’t have to go to creche. I don’t think she had quite realised that she would have to go back this week now that she was better. She screamed “NO CRECHE, WANT TO STAY HOME WITH MUMMY!” and kicked the car and her precious Tigger toy with rage the whole way to creche. She managed to wriggle out of her car seat while we were on the freeway (!!!) which was alarming, to say the least. I had to carry her under my arm, kicking and screaming, into the creche. Sigh.

I’m not really into Mother’s Day, and we didn’t do anything special on Sunday. But I do think it’s nice to recognise mothers (and fathers) because it’s a damn hard job sometimes.

When I was younger, one of the high schools I attended told me I could do anything and be anyone I wanted to be. Initially, I took this positive and salutory message on board. But when I was older (and more cynical) I wondered why there weren’t more prominent women in history if this were so? Was it simply that the patriarchy had ignored them, or were there other reasons?

When I fell pregnant with my first child, I realised why women hadn’t taken over the world (particularly before the advent of contraception). One of my forebears had sixteen children, one every two years from when she was in her late teens to her 40s. How could one possibly take over the world, come up with fantastic inventions, or write a sonata if one was otherwise occupied with bearing children for all that time? The only way would be if you were either unmarried or childless, or you were rich and could farm the children off to a wet nurse and then a nanny.

It is simply exhausting being pregnant. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired in my whole life. During my last pregnancy, I used to hide in the toilets at work and lean against the cubicle wall for 15 minutes or so because I was so tired. Once you have the child, it is totally dependent on you for at least the first three months. Although it is now out of your womb, it still feels like there’s an invisible umbilical cord tying you to your child, and you are still tired because you have to feed the child at 3 hourly intervals. Imagine doing that over and over again, up to 16 children! Don’t get me wrong; I love being a mother. But I really hate portrayals in the media which indicate that it is a piece of cake, and that you can still keep on doing exactly what you did before. You can’t, unless you get someone else to do the mothering for you. It’s a trade off.

Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling multiple balls and if I don’t watch out, I’ll drop them all. The prominent balls are child, husband, family, work, study and friends. I think blogging probably deserves a ball of its own too. Other balls include cooking, washing, housekeeping and finances. The balls which often get dropped are things like getting time to do art and looking after myself (yes, I really need a haircut) and housekeeping (yuk). It’s so hard to keep it all going sometimes. The washing backs up and no one has clean underpants. Or I forget to pay a bill. Or I forget to call someone back, because I’m just trying to keep all the other balls in the air as best I can…hopefully that person is understanding. The priority will always be my child and my husband over anything else, and sometimes other things suffer. I won’t always get it right, and I won’t always be a good mother: but I’m trying my best. 

So, being a mother is a tough job. I salute all the mothers out there who are juggling everything just as I am. I especially salute my own wonderful mother: I don’t think I ever realised how much she did and how hard she worked for us until I had my own house and family. Also I salute supportive partners (like my own) who help cook dinner, or give the baby a bath, or just let Mums have a sleep in.

In the end, however, I wouldn’t change my position for quids. My daughter is the funniest, dearest thing in the whole world, and she gives me so much joy. I am blessed to have her. I don’t really need a special Mother’s Day because she tells me that she loves me a few times a day, and follows up with kisses and hugs. She brought me a “present” while I was sitting on the toilet the other day – consisting of her book about dogs in a shoe box. The only downside to the “present” was that I then had to read it to her after I opened the “present”…a bit of a Trojan horse present if you ask me. I’m also looking forward to having another child: it will be funny and dear as well, I am sure, although possibly in quite different ways to number one.

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