Thursday 27 March 2014

What My Mother Taught Me

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am left to contemplate not only my experience as a mother, but also my relationship with my mother. I can honestly say that I did not fully appreciate my mother until I fell pregnant, isn’t that always the way? Until you have pushed a person out your vagina, breastfed that person on a bus, had that person be sick in your mouth, and still managed to love that person unconditionally, how can you even begin to appreciate your mother?

We told my parents we were expecting on Father’s Day. I made my Dad a card to break the news, I was far too hormonal and emotional to attempt saying it aloud. The front of the card detailed the wonderful things my dad had done for me over the years, and then said we’d like to offer him a promotion. On the inside of the card I stuck a scan picture. My dad was speechless when he read the card, and quickly handed it to my mother.

After a few minutes of trying to locate her glasses, my mum read the card. “Really?” I think was her first word, quickly followed by, “Ian, get the champagne!” I think it’s safe to say that my parents were surprised at the announcement, and I think they were still in shock when we (well, they) toasted to the pregnancy that afternoon.

A few days later, I was standing outside Manchester Piccadilly station when my mum called. “So, when are we going shopping for maternity clothes?” she said. I almost burst in tears, as can be expected from a women in the first trimester.

From that moment on, my mum had my back. She started bringing me bags full of fresh fruit and bottles of Schloer. She took me shopping for maternity clothes, and didn’t seem put off that I moaned the whole way and kept having to sit down. She convinced my dad that they should redecorate my living room before the baby came, and did it all while I was at work. She came round when I was off work poorly, cooked my lunch and tidied the house. She listened to me moan about the pregnancy, endlessly.

She didn’t ring me everyday asking if there was any news as my due date approached. She told me to always be honest, and never worry about offending her, and she meant it. She came round the day after the birth, to meet her new granddaughter, and looked really proud the whole time. She tidied my house, washed my dishes, held her granddaughter so I could shower, and offered advice when asked. But never when not.

My mum has taught me that you never stop being a mum. That even when your baby has grown, you are still invaluable to them. Since having my daughter, I cannot tell you how many times I have thought, “This is the kind of mother I want to be.” I want to be there when my daughter needs me, without needing to be asked, I want to make her life easier, just by being there.

My mum is selfless, always putting the needs of others first. When I became a mother, I noticed how much I am still mothered. My mum was here, helping and supporting, as I found my footing as a mother. She was here, complimenting and reassuring, as I stumbled in the darkness of those first few weeks.

And she is still here now, helping me to navigate life as a work from home mother. She babysits while I work, she brings us lunch, and she reminds me that I will never regret this time at home. That, no matter how tiring it can be to work in the evenings and weekends, I am lucky to spend every day with my daughter. And when she says that, I know she means it, because she did the same.

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