My latest article for the Irish Examiner’s Feelgood. I confess, I didn’t always appreciate my Mother.
Mother’s Day is upon us. As a child, I remember being annoyed because we never celebrated ‘National Children’s day’. My parent’s comment, was always, “Every day is Children’s Day.” I disagreed quietly, because I’m brave like that, and argued to myself that as far as I could see every day was, Mother’s Day! A Mother never had to go to school or do homework and could watch television all day, not that I ever remember my Mum watching television.
The value I put on my Mother didn’t change much over the years, until approximately one minute after I delivered my first baby. Holding my tiny new born in my arms, traumatised by birth, my opinion of my mother soared and I wondered how she had gone on to have five of us.
Throughout my pregnancy I’d imagined what sort of mother I’d be. The best way to describe my vision, was something between Mother Earth and Lorelai of the Gilmore Girls. Arriving home for the first time, my tiny crying bundle in my arms, I sat stunned. I was a Mother! I’d no idea what lay ahead, but I had little doubt that this baby and I would be friends for life. I was going to be a great mother, possibly the best ever.
Unfortunately, the birth hadn’t quite gone to plan, with the natural delivery falling by the wayside very soon after I’d made it all the way to one centimetre. Now with my babe in arms I continued to aspire to the ‘Best Mother Ever’ title, by breastfeeding. It was best for baby after all and so natural. Except when it came to it, it didn’t seem a bit natural, and it was painful. However, I stuck with it and in the end, we both learned and I even grew to enjoy it.
As the years passed and my baby became a toddler and pre-schooler, I never gave up on my ambition to be Ireland’s Greatest Mother. I insisted we follow a routine to the minute. Our house became toddler friendly with locks on everything from the fridge to the toilet and the steriliser was worn out. I insisted everyone adhere to my high standards. All went well until baby number two arrived, then three and finally number four. Standards began to slip, until in the end there was no routine, no locks and the steriliser was only used for storage. Surprisingly no one died.
One afternoon a while ago, sitting with my now almost reared children, in a moment of madness, I asked them what they would remember me most for? I’d been thinking they might say lovely things like,
“Listening to bedtime stories.”
“You were always there, Mum.”
Instead they paused and after a minute or so the first began,
“Burnt toast. Whenever I smell burning, I’ll think of you.”
“Oh yes, and keys. Whenever I see keys I’ll think of how you always lose yours.”
“And the time you sent my uniform in for recycling by mistake.”
“Or how bad you were at doing our hair.”
Well their replies were not exactly pleasing so I stopped them, or at least tried to, as they continued to remember my too many failings with the greatest of ease. Listening to them I wondered at how quick they were to remember the less fantastic moments in life. I mean surely they remember some nice things about me?
Or do they? Perhaps that is just the way it is, until we have our own children. So I’d like to take a moment here to put
the record straight.
“Mum, I do remember…and thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.”
Now I only have to wait until one of my own crew have children so they can finally confirm, I really am a great mother.
photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc
London Irish Graduate Network