Being a mum is the great equalizer between women. No matter how your babies came to you, now matter how ready you were for their arrival or qualified you feel to look after these precious gifts, whether you are a real disciplinarian or spoil them rotten, you are exactly the same as the next mum when it comes to how you feel about your children – literally every part of your being loves them, from the tips of your toes to the ends of every strand of hair on your head.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday in New Zealand so I’m getting pretty excited about my lie in. Today I was treated to a special assembly by Minnie’s class that included a short play on everything mum’s do for us and then also a song about how our children try to show us love but often end up making a mess and trashing the place. I also learnt that more than $18 billion is spent each year on Mother’s Day in the States – yikes!
Since Minnie started school at the beginning of the year, we have all been “adjusting” to the new regime. Jackson is also coming up to four and I am told by many reliable sources (better read-up mum’s of boys) that it’s right about now they receive a new injection of testosterone so I am assured that my sweet, gentle, loving boy has just been taken over by hormones, not in fact aliens – an explanation I have honestly considered exploring a couple of times in the last two months. I have finished a big project, started painting three rooms in the house and both Gareth and I have recently got new jobs (go us!). Our life is full and moving fast, like everyone else’s living in the 21st century, damn Apple and its ‘you can do anything’ philosophy.
One of the outcomes of this full and fast life is that four mornings out of five in the week I can be found screaming at my children as we get into the car, ‘We’re late, AGAIN, why can’t you just do as I say, there is no time for playing in the morning, tomorrow I am locking you in the kitchen until you are dressed, breakfasted, cleaned your teeth and got your wretched shoes and socks on!!’ A few weeks ago this shocked the children, now I think they would miss the lecture on ‘not being distracted by fun before 8am’ if it wasn’t given on the way to school.
Things not going to plan is one of the hardest things I personally have had to reconcile myself with since becoming a mum. Each mum will have her own “equalizers”, i.e. the changes you make to be a good mum to your children. Others for me are; not living on jelly sweets because it’s a bad example to the little ones, a leisurely coffee with a magazine is out of the question for the next decade, no matter how early you get up to do some things for yourself you will still get interrupted, going to the cinema costs three times as much as it should because you have to pay for a baby sitter, you can share a sleep in with your husband only once every two years when your parents come to stay. But by far the hardest one for me is no matter how much I plan, organise and prepare, a day will only go as well as I am able to manage the unpredictable wants, moods and accidents of my children. I think I have only truly succeeded with this three or four times in the last five years. I know it’s about that many because it’s so rare, I can remember every single time.
The rest of the time, it’s chaos.
But this blog is not to say that my children have ruined me, or that I don’t know who I am anymore or that I am SO TIRED. Whilst all that is true, what I want to say today is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My children stretch me more than any other challenge I have faced in my life and I have been so humbled by my failures to be the prefect mum, BUT I am also so thankful that being a mum has changed me, softened me, shown me that life is not to be lived independent of others, enabled me to sacrifice my needs for the needs of others, feel so much pride and joy at the achievements of a little person, filled me with so much hope and expectation for the future. I love being mum to my monkeys.
I have been listening to Jon McLaughlin recently and he wrote a song called ‘Imaginary Tea’. I think it says so beautifully how we feel as parents, that we will miss them when they are all grown up and in the short, fast moving time we have, we’re trying very hard to let them know that no one will love them as much as we do and we will always be there for them.
I love you, more than you will ever know
And I love you, no matter what you do
I’m going to hold you, for as long as you’re going to let me
Because you’re mine, I love you
I loved you before I ever heard your voice and before I knew your name
And I loved you before I saw those pretty eyes
I loved you right away
So take it slow, before you know it, you’ll be old and grown
And just remember that I am always here, hands that you can hold onto
I love you
Don’t worry about what anyone else will say,
Don’t hurry to break that precious heart
And when you try to be like to somebody else, remember I love you the way you are
So take it slow, before you know it you are going to be old and grown
Just remember I am always here, a hand you can hold onto
I love you
So let’s climb every tree, drink imaginary tea, speak a language only we can understand
I will fight back the tears as we fly through the years and I will keep you as close as I can
Because I love you, more than you will ever know
I love you, no matter what you do
And I am going to hold you as long as you will let me, because you’re mine
I love you
Happy Mother’s Day.