When I was a child, I looked forward to Mother’s Day. Each year I would enthusiastically make my mum a card, shout at her to stay in bed while I made her (burnt) toast and wrap the garish addition to the fireplace I’d insisted I wanted to bestow on her; for some reason I had an obsession with brass and thought a pair of brass bunnies and a brass teapot would look particularly stylish in our lounge.
One year, I remember asking why there wasn’t a “Children’s Day” – after all mummies and daddies had their day. My mum’s friend laughed and replied that every day was Children’s Day. I wasn’t impressed with this answer and I didn’t understand it either. I thought it would be nice for us as children to be spoiled for the day and waited on hand and foot. I’d forgotten about comment until today and it’s made me laugh at how naive I was.
As I grew up, I appreciated what my mum did for me but it hasn’t been until becoming a mummy myself that I truly appreciate just how hard this job was. And how in fact she deserved far more than one day of celebration a year. Now I understand more than ever how much my mum went through for me, how much she loved me and how much she did for me. And it’s amazing. So thank you mum and happy Mother’s Day.
Here’s just a snapshot into what our mums – and us as mums – willingly and happily go through:
1. Pregnancy: a glowing and wonderful experience but also plagued with being kicked in the stomach, trying to get to a toilet before you vomit next, carrying up to two stones in weight all day and being so tired you cry at having to walk 20 paces and having giant feet.
2. Labour: An unpredictable and un-quantifiable period of sustained pain, knowing it can only end with one thing….
3. Childbirth: Say no more.
4. Breastfeeding: Getting the hang of having an infant chomping on your body is no mean feat.
5. Baby blues: A cocktail of hormones and emotion after birth leaves you weepy for no apparent reason when you know you should be happier than ever. Thanks nature.
6. Goodbye independence: From now on you are no longer an individual – you come with a baby. Of course you love it but you can’t help but miss a little bit of freedom – for instance, when you need to eat, visit the loo, shower…. it’s not as if you want to spoil yourself.
7. Sleep deprivation: A recognised insidious form of torture. You do cope remarkably well but at times you do feel that you’re bordering on actual insanity.
8. 24-hour service: Tending to the immediate needs of a newborn literally around the clock. And there’s no day off. You’re filled with genuine confusion for what on earth you used to do with all that free time before you had a baby. Seriously, what did I do?
9. Irrational fear: Baby has a cold / rash / ear infection / dry skin / *insert any other problem here* – WHAT DO I DO!? You have no idea what’s really wrong or how to make it better. Best visit the doctor…again! I also developed a paranoia / fear that I would drop baby on the hard kitchen floor so would cling on to her for dear life just in case!
10. Career freeze: You work hard during your twenties to build a career…then have no choice but to walk away from it for an extended period of time to have a baby. Of course it’s illegal to discriminate mums in the workplace but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen under the legal radar. Did you know that a quarter of mums report feeling discriminated against and a third say they find it “impossible” to climb the career ladder?
11. Overwhelming love: Your life changes beyond all recognition when you have a baby but with it comes a fierce, all-encompassing and fierce love that you never could have imagined. It makes you vulnerable but also gives you super-human powers as you could – and would – do literally anything for that tiny little being without them ever needing to ask.