Mother’s Day today. My sixth!
It gets a little more exciting every year; as the boys get older they understand more and more that it is Mummy’s Special Day. Today I am allowed to sleep in and be made a fuss of. I would like to be woken (at a reasonable hour) by my happy squirming boys rolling on me with yells of “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MUUUUMMMM!” Today I am also not to be screamed at, or be obliged to clean up bodily fluids, or have to cook anything. Hopefully everyone’s on their best behaviour and that coupled with all the warm fuzzies that come from looking back at all the lovey huggy rose-tinted baby memories this day also makes me just that little bit clucky.
I appreciate babies now in a way I never did before having my own. I was never clucky or motherly before; if anything I usually felt uncomfortable around very young children. Once they were big enough to talk to, or entertain with piggybacking or chasing, and could wipe their own arse, I was good with them. But I thought babies were fairly useless; no personality, they can’t do anything, just lie there, eat, shit, sleep and cry.
Okay I admit it – I was wrong.
They certainly do lie down a lot, and eat often, and shit plenty, and sleep (we live in hope) and cry a bit, but I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all the babies I met and previously dismissed as boring because of course you were anything but.
Every day after Finn arrived I would discover something new and special about him, and wonder did he just learn to do that? Or has he been doing it this whole time and I only just noticed? Like the first time I realised he was kicking. Like many mums-to-be I’d thought those first butterfly movements were just wind (cos God knows there was plenty of that too), but one night, thinking for the hundredth time he should be kicking by now dammit, I lay down, put my hands on my stomach and waited. And soon ‘Bob the Blob’ punted my palm in a deliberate manner that I suddenly realised I’d been feeling for weeks but hadn’t noticed. That awareness continued to grow – not only of my own child, but others’ children as well, and now I really do appreciate them more.
It still doesn’t necessarily mean that if you give me a screaming baby I’ll know exactly what to do with him or her. But that’s why your own mum is so special!
Stuff I Learned After Becoming A Mum.
NUMBER ONE: My own Mum never got the appreciation she deserved. And she still doesn’t. I’m amazed she never disowned me.
- Littlies really are the most gorgeous creatures
- It’s not creepy watching your own child sleep. Though maybe try to limit sessions to half an hour, tops.
- The merest touch of an icepack coupled with a cuddle can fix the most heinous of boo-boos.
- Once your kids are mobile you’ll never pee alone.
- Expectation = frustration. Babies are unpredictable and they don’t give a rat’s arse about your schedule. Even if they’ve been doing things a certain way for months and you’re feeling confident that you’ve “solved” them, that doesn’t mean they won’t suddenly decide to do it a different way, or stop doing it altogether. It’s their prerogative to mess with your head. When I finally realised I could save myself a HELL of a lot of tears and anxiety just by surrendering to their whims and not having any expectations (eg expectations they would eat, or sleep, or stop yelling, or that I might sleep more than 3 hours a night, or that I might actually leave the house on any given day…) I was much happier. It felt a bit like quitting but it was for the best. Fighting it wasted energy I just didn’t have.
- Kids always save up a huge shit for until just after you’ve changed them.
- Once your kids start talking and you stop swearing in front of them you may find that when you’re away from them you’ll suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome-like bursts of profanity on a par with Bertie’s rant in The King’s Speech. Or perhaps you won’t and it’s just me. I embrace it; it’s liberating!
- Whenever you hear a sudden loud *BANG* you freeze, waiting for a scream.
- You won’t believe how much snot can get on one child from one sneeze.
- You will come to despise certain TV shows and may resort to bullshitting your kids to avoid them, eg ‘Sorry darling, Thomas the Tank Engine’s off delivering presents for Santa.’
- At least once your child will chunder copiously in public. Just pray no Stand By Me barf-o-rama ensues.
- You will never be 100% certain whether it’s chocolate or poo.
- While sometimes I miss how life was before the boys came along, I am not looking forward to letting them go when the time comes. I can’t even conceive of it.
- You will step on Lego.
- Mums, you’ll realise at some point that your womanly parts aren’t as waterproof as they used to be. Possibly after you’ve gone for a swim then bounced a few times on a trampoline.
- Some days their little grizzly voice seems funny and adorable and you have to try not to smile where they can see you. Other days upset whiny voice is like a tuning fork set to “shatter nerves” and you have to try not to drive into oncoming traffic.
- There will be certain outfits you adore so much that you’ll cram your child into it for much longer than they can comfortably fit into it just because you can’t bear to pack it away. Muffin top tummies/legs/arms are cute to a point, but when your kid starts to scream and/or turn purple when you’re doing them up, it’s time.
- You’ll talk through gritted teeth a lot more than you used to.
- If you hear them screaming with laughter, they are probably doing something you won’t approve of. Likewise if they are as quiet as ninjas.
- Don’t believe toddlers when they say they don’t have a shitty nappy. They’ll deny it even if they’re red faced, bent over and grunting. “Johnny, are you doing a poo?” “HNNNNNnnno.” Then they walk past you like nothing happened and your eyes start watering.
- You want to give your kids what you didn’t or couldn’t have, regardless of its necessity. Things that our parents hadn’t had we got in spades; for Dad it was a loving home life, and for Mum, who had NINE siblings, it was tennis. It was one of those things that the “haves” had, and they were one of the “have nots”. So when my sister and I asked if we could join the local tennis club then By God we were going to play tennis. For my boys it’s to grow up with experience of snow. We grew up next to the Indian Ocean with miles of beautiful coastline, sand dunes and estuaries as our beloved playground and I wouldn’t swap our childhood there for anything. We first saw snow when we visited Japan as teenagers, and while it was an incredible and fun experience, it was thoroughly alien. I hadn’t missed it of course, but as an adult who gets the chance to snowboard occasionally, and is routinely outclassed on the slopes by pre-schoolers, I want my boys to enjoy snowsports. (And be better at it than me.)
- All parents worry they aren’t giving their kids enough, but it isn’t things they want from you. If it is, that’s when you need to stop giving them things.
- You will sometimes worry you are a lousy parent. You are in fact an awesome parent who is also human.
- Your own Mum is in actual fact the best Mum in the world, because let’s face it, she made you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you great mums, moms, mamas and mummies, whether it started with pushing a sprog out of yourself or not. Enjoy your special day, because it’s back to work tomorrow! I’ll leave you with a suitably sentimental yet true quote from possibly the most famous rock star of mothers, Mother Teresa;
Not all of us can do great things.
But we can do small things with great love.
– Mother Teresa
*PS Post title is a slightly
ripped off altered quote by Cheryl Lacey Donovan.