7 Things That Make Me Feel Like A Mother

There are people who’d have you believe – Hollywood and the media in general, I’m looking at you – that the process of becoming a mum is one and the same. You pop a (clean, non-gungy) baby out, gaze at its perfect rosy pink face and are magically transported into a world of blissful love and unicorns.

Sometimes this happens. As an avid fan of birth stories (why are they so addictive?), I adore reading the ones that really do feature love at first sight and effective hypnobirthing techniques. But I think these beautiful tales are the exception, rather than the rule, and my entrance into motherhood was most definitely the rule.

I knew what to expect before Elfie came along, I’d read all those parenting books, but just ignored the ‘bad’ bits. Sleepless nights? PAH! “My baby won’t be like that” I thought, knowingly stroking my bump.

My rocky introduction to motherhood began with a c-section at 39 weeks because of a stubbornly footling breech baby, and kind of went downhill from there. I gave birth, a baby covered in white crap was handed to me and I felt more worry than love. What was all that gross stuff (vernix, doh, missed that bit of the baby books)? Why did she look so cross? Who is this stranger a kind old surgeon just pulled from my body? Can we re-wind a bit please?

To say I was freaked out would be an understatement. I’d been sliced open from hip to hip, produced a human who did nothing but cry, poo and make my nipples bleed, had been left with a massive belly and piles and was somehow supposed to be luxuriating on a lily pad in a land of bliss?

Weird, this parenting lark.

Things That Make Me Feel Like A Mother

The love came, of course it did. As did the contentment and the feeling that I was ALMOST on that lily pad. Almost. And it was the best thing in the world. It took time and was still weird, mind, but also truly awesome.

So my ‘becoming’ a mother wasn’t that instantaneous thing you see in the movies, it wasn’t a flick of a switch as soon as someone slightly resembling my DNA was birthed out of my body. It’s only now, 5 years in, that I’m starting to recognize myself as a mother (and sometimes quite a good one!).

It happens in weird places. The post office, the bathroom, the car. I say something that could have come out of my own mum’s mouth and I realise that I’m most definitely a mother. A grown-up mother of two children. HOLY CRAP!!! That definitely crept up on me when I wasn’t looking.

And so I’ve compiled my favourite “I know I’m a mother when…” moments. Tell me if you see these in yourself, too:

Things That Make Me Feel Like A Mother

1. When I tell white lies

“If you don’t wash your hands after you’ve been to the loo they’ll fall off.”
“Father Christmas is ALWAYS watching.”
“The television people don’t wake up until 7am.”

Repeat ad infinitum…

2. When I’m chatting at the school gates

For a long time the school gates terrified me. I remember trying so hard to fit in once that I chattily congratulated the wrong lady on her new baby, and then painfully tried to squirm out of why I thought she’d just given birth. Luckily both the women I’d got confused that day are now friends, and I even caught myself heatedly discussing catchment areas and application deadlines with them right before half term. I finished that particular conversation, got in the car and thought, I don’t even know myself any more.

3. When I’m making a packed lunch

Speaking of which, there’s something about making packed lunches that makes me feel SO grown up. The little cartons of raisins? Or making sure I shoehorn at least 2 portions of fruit and veg in there so the lunchtime supervising teachers think I’m a good mum?

Things That Make Me Feel Like A Mother

4. When I’m called Elfie’s mummy/Huxley’s mummy

This used to get my back up no end.

“Don’t they know I’m a PERSON with a CAREER and a LIFE?!” I’d say. “I’m not just someone’s MUMMY!!”.

Then I realised how few of the children’s parents names I remembered and started doing exactly the same thing. Sorry, parents of kids at school. I totally recognise you have lives/careers/personalities/names beyond parenthood but I’m just too knackered to remember what they are.

5. Because I regularly shop at Waitrose

When I first had kids I’d wander around the aisles at Waitrose, openly gawking at the other shoppers, the people that looked comfortable in this supreme shopping environment. I probably stuck out like a sore thumb with all the staring and dribbling I did twice a year back then, before returning to my more regular territory of Tesco.

Nowadays Waitrose is one of my sanity savers. We head there for a good-value lunch, the staff know the names of my kids and it’s the one supermarket I know like the back of my hand. I know, I know, I can save pounds a week if I shop more at Aldi. But seriously, when you run your life at 100mph and your weekly treat is a short stroll round the aisles of Waitrose then you takes your kicks where you can. Sorry gov.

Related to this: meal planning and regularly juicing. Both SO grown-up.

6. When I buy and read the paper. And not just the sidebar of shame

One of my favourite things I like to do is buy the weekend paper and read it from cover to cover: the actual paper, not just the supplements and not just the Daily Fail’s sidebar of shame. AN ACTUAL BROADSHEET. As a mum, I want to know about what’s going in the world so I can make informed decisions when I vote and ting.

Previously I only ever bought the paper to wrap china when I was moving house. Much intellect.

7. When I value quality over quantity

This might just be validation for my skincare/scented candle addictions, but I most definitely buy less things of higher quality these days. Jane Scrivner spree, anyone?

So I think it’s safe to say I feel like an actual mum now, lilypads (incontinence pads?) and all. What makes you feel like a mother?

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  1. Joanna Frangos wrote:

    I do enjoy reading your posts. So what makes me feel like a mother?

    Worrying like a mother. I can’t help it and I know I tell other people that worrying does nothing for nobody, but I cannot help worrying about my children, their education, the school that my son will start at in September. I worry that my daughter isn’t relaxing around her friends, so she is over-sensitive when something doesn’t go her way. So worry in general – about my children – definitely makes me feel like a mother.

    Planning days out that will satisfy the children and me. I joined the National Trust last year and never a better £45 was spent (25% off as well). I love that we can visit all these amazing houses and grounds for free (feels like it anyway), the children get fussed over by lovely old ladies who volunteer in their shops and houses, we get to learn some history, we each wholesome food, we take some lovely photos. All in all a massive win for everyone. And I have persuaded some of my friends to have a membership too, so we do lots of outings with friends.

    Making sure that I have the healthy food that my children enjoy eating in the house. At the moment my rather picky daughter likes baby sweetcorn.

    Buying DVDs that we can watch together. One of our favourite things to do as a little “family of three” is curl up on the sofa and watch movies together. So far we have (re) discovered the delights of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Oliver and the Sound of Music. Plus we watched Cinderella the other day (the live action one) and acted out the parts as the film went along. My daughter was Cinderella, my son and I switched roles between the prince and the ugly sisters.

    So there you have my immediate list. I am sure there are lots more.

    Posted 2.23.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I love the Baz Lurhmann quote, “worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum”. Of course it doesn’t help at all, I’m a big worrier like you! But it makes me smile :)

      I’ve been thinking about getting a National Trust membership so great to know it’s working out well for you xx

      Posted 2.23.16 Reply
  2. EB wrote:

    Going to the supermarket at 6am on Xmas Eve…batch cooking pesto and tomato sauces for the freezer…carrying little packets of tissues with you everywhere you go…getting excited about visiting the dinosaur park…knowing the words to “Where, Bear?” off by heart…spending hours and hours and hours per week doing jigsaw puzzles…

    Posted 2.23.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ahhh good old batch cooking, and I love being able to offer anyone a tissue, anywhere!

      Posted 2.23.16 Reply
  3. Muddling Along wrote:

    Nice post – I think that every time I hear something my mother could have said coming out of my mouth it reminds me that I appear to have suddenly grown up and evolved (if the wind blows you’ll stay that way, what about the poor starving children in the world etc etc)

    Posted 2.23.16 Reply
  4. Lizzi wrote:

    Oh Jane. Be still my beating heart. Ps. Meant to bring my Hungarian wellness mud granules to show you!
    Lovely post, lovely mama X

    Posted 2.23.16 Reply
  5. Rachel wrote:

    Lovely post Alice – I’m trying to think of things that make me feel a mother. I think taking Pip to ballet classes and ordering all of the little pink items required has been one thing recently!

    Posted 2.23.16 Reply
  6. Fritha wrote:

    It’s funny now I have two children (still get a kick out of saying that!) the difference in feeling like a mum with each. I knew I suffered a bit of post natal depression with Wilf but it didn’t hit me how much it effected me until this time round when I felt things so much quicker and easier, love that came immediately. I feel like a mum when I hang up Wilf’s little monkey hooded bath towel and his spiderman toothbrush and when I call nursery for something I say ‘hi it’s Fritha, Wilf’s mum’.
    (ps I tell Wilf if he doesn’t brush his teeth they’ll fall out..but realised how silly that is considering they will some day fall out despite brushing!) x

    Posted 2.23.16 Reply
  7. Sarah Rooftops wrote:

    Number 4! I was just saying to my partner last week that, whenever someone new comes to a baby group, we all go, “And who’s this?” at the kid, chat to the parent for the full hour and leave knowing everything about the kid’s sleep habits but having no idea of the parent’s name.

    Posted 2.24.16 Reply
  8. katie albury wrote:

    So honest Alice…I remember being in hospital and not letting go of Elsie’s cot but staring at her wondering what I was ‘meant’ to be feeling. It’s such a bizarre time and it hits you at random moments as like you say, life is flying past so quickly it’s hard to find the time to really think about who you are now and that I think will take a while for me too. It’s all a bit new still and I’m not sure what makes me feel like a mother yet- I’m suppose I’m still in the bloody knackered, overwhelmed and just trying to make it through the day with both of us alive phase! ha! x

    Posted 2.25.16 Reply