Today marks a special Mother’s day: I’ve now had more of them single than I did married. High fives all round!
Mother’s Day these days is, if you don’t mind me saying so, a bit fraught with emotion. It’s rare I see the standard ‘breakfast in bed, happy family’ situation, as I feel I used to when I was in the same happy family fug. Maybe it’s me, but now I notice the women without mothers, I’m sensitive to those who’d love to be mothers but aren’t, and of course doff my hat to my single mum sisters. Lots of us are in situations we feel are less than ideal and that can be difficult when you’re surrounded by images of Hallmark Happiness.
Last year I spent Mother’s day without my two, so this year their dad let me pick them up 24 hours early. Somewhat guiltily this meant we met half way round the M25 to do the proper ‘single parent swap-over’ in a generic train station car park somewhere in Surrey. Nothing to make you feel estranged from your ex like the single parent swap-over, eh?
But that meant I woke up with them today – bright and early, natch – with tons of cuddles and giggles. I may have been a bit sad to not have a cup of tea in bed (Hux: “I’m just not tall enough to make one mummy, I need to be like a giraffe”) but I shared a leftover curry breakfast with my number one girl. Elfie kindly offered to treat me to a day at soft play: I declined, with thanks.
If anything, for me Mother’s Day is a day of reflection. I spend so much of my life with a spinning head: chauffeuring children, working, cooking, cleaning, writing, and sometimes it’s good to have that time to stop and think. What does being a mum mean to me? What does my own mum mean to me?
This morning I sat Elfie on my lap and told her how special she was, because she made me a mummy. I know that experience of Becoming Mum is different for everyone, and for me it was a big shock. I grew up suddenly when she arrived and became a lot of things I’m really proud of. So much of what I do – almost all of what I do, actually – is for my children, and I hope they grow up knowing how worth it they are.
We’re in a place in our lives now where we’re really happy and settled. We don’t have enough sleep (will we ever have enough sleep?) but otherwise it’s perfectly imperfect. For the first time in my adult life I don’t feel like we need a man to be a ‘proper’ family, we have everything we need right here. This has meant that trying to balance my role as Mum with my dating life is proving a bit tricky, but I’m sure that will come, too.
So Happy Mother’s Day to all women: my mum, the other mums, those who want to be mums, those who mother without children and those without their mums. Whatever our non-Hallmark situation, I hope you have a lovely day. And to the men with mums or wives, I hope you’re celebrating those wonderful life-giving women as they deserve to be celebrated. If it wasn’t for a mum, you wouldn’t be here.