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I always made the assumption that motherhood would come quite easily to me. By way of being a woman, maternal instinct just happens, yeah?
Imagine my surprise when upon giving birth I realised that the simple act of pushing a child out of one’s hoo hah (or sunroof) does not a mother make. I didn’t immediately turn into one of those women from the TV who gaze at their baby like the heart eyed emoji, I just kind of felt a bit freaked out: my motto for the first four years of my child’s life was motherhood is 80% instinct and 20% Google. Because if you can’t make an intuitive guess at what to do in a worrysome motherhood moment you can definitely find the answer on the internet. I might get that phrase trademarked and translated into Latin because, bugger me, I had no idea what was going on in those early years. I just did what I thought was right and hoped that nobody died.
It’s only now a solid five years in that I’ve started noticing those moments that make me feel like a parent. The moments that make me go, by god, somewhere along the way I turned into a mother! So weird that I never felt these lightening bolts of motherhood when there was a child hanging off my nipple or a mewling baby strapped to my chest, such is life. Talis et vita!
Here are my highlights of those times when I really do feel like a mum:
The school run
An obvious choice but nothing makes you feel like more of a parent than the school run. The nursery run – meh, that’s negligible because they give you a two hour window to drop the kids off in, but at school you need to be up, dressed, fed and there in your smart little uniform at 8.50 SHARP. And if you’re not there before 9am you have to sign the late book… oh, the shame of the late book.
I’m lucky that as Elfie is a KS1 pupil she gets hot school lunches each and every day (DON’T YOU DARE TAKE THAT AWAY MR CAMERON!). Hux still has a packed lunch for pre-school though and I remember having my first thought of “I’m a parent now” when putting one of these together. He has a mix of wild and wonderful ingredients in his lunches depending on whether or not mummy made it to the shops and I’m a firm believer in making the lunchbox as healthy as possible, despite knowing he won’t eat cherry tomatoes and chopped up carrots. His teachers will obviously judge my parenting skills on the contents, after all ;)
We used to have a pretty easy schedule. I’d look at parents lamenting that their kids’ social lives were busier than their own and think “Wtf? Sort it out”.
I get it now! In a usual week we have: swimming lessons, ballet class, sewing club, singing club and mini active gym class. Elfie wants to join tennis lessons too but, err… not yet, darling. Not until mummy’s got over this particular kids activity-induced mental breakdown. My kids are now officially busier than I am.
Paying for things
It’ll be so much easier when they’re out of nursery, they said! You’ll save so much on expensive fees, they said!
From school uniforms, school activities, school milk, after-school lessons and clubs, uniforms for after-school lessons and clubs… it never stops. And why do kids always need new shoes? One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in life is this, and why such small shoes need to be so expensive. I might take this one to the Dalai Lama because I am PUZZLED.
Not knowing the answer
Elfie asked me this morning what 24 x 24 is. I still haven’t worked out the answer. From “where does my belly button come from” to arguments about exactly how fast the world spins on its axis their inquisitiveness never stops. It probably (maybe?) has the benefit of making my own mind a little bit sharper. Which is something these guys definitely owe me after year upon year of brain-fogging sleep stealing.
Going to the cinema
I’m not quite sure what it is about going to the cinema that makes me feel like a parent. Maybe it’s the refereeing between the two of them while they decide between popcorn and pick n’ mix? The tactics I use to shhhh them both when they’re hopping up and down in their seats at the excitement of SUCH A BIG TV? Or it could be trying to mop up a litre of coke with two wet wipes and a Costa receipt? Or the kidney I feel I should be selling to afford such an expensive couple of hours (lunch + tickets + popcorn = £55, ouch)? Despite the cash aspect I really enjoy this one, though. Minions was brilliant.
Licking a tissue and wiping your kid’s face with it
There’s no way this doesn’t make you feel like a mum.
And in case you were wondering, my motherhood motto in Latin: Maternitas est LXXX% instinctum et XX% Google. Please don’t let me get this tattooed somewhere awful in a sleep-deprived haze, ok?