I am a Mother.
This realisation only came to me a couple of weeks ago. I have been a mummy for five years now but somehow I have never fully embraced nor understood the responsibility of being a ‘Mother’. Any woman can be a mummy but to become a Mother is a whole new challenge.
When I picture a ‘Mother’ I don’t see myself. I see a burly Italian woman in a kitchen. She has a full figure that is pinched in at the waist by her apron. She juggles huge pans of homemade spaghetti Bolognese that creates a steam that glosses her skin to give her the appearance of a teenager. Outside on the line float the families washing and the table is set with fresh green salad and tomato’s from her garden. Rich red wine is poured into goblets from the family vineyard and her cheeks glow with the gratitude she receives from her family.
While this image maybe fictional or perhaps the norm in Italy where the sky is blue and the land is warm it certainly isn’t the picture in my kitchen in Preston.
Bumf what a rough landing.
Yes the picture in my Lancashire kitchen is a far cry from the romantic scene I described above. My svelte figure is pinched in by a pair of old black leggings with a hole in one buttock. The steam comes from the babies face as she’s being ignored watching me throw a jar of shop bought Bolognese onto burning mince. The family washing is on the line but the rain is turning Lenor fresh dresses into rags.
It was this wildly different image of myself and the robust woman I lust after that got me thinking until a familiar word dropped into my mind, and it’s one that is slowly changing the way I am thinking.
The word is: Perspective.
What if being a Mother isn’t about how well I can multitask in the kitchen? What if it isn’t about getting the washing done on time? Sure these things all contribute and are all considered in the prize for ‘mum of the year’ but what if it’s about more? What if it’s about presence?
I have been guilty of trying to fast forward my season. I have been frustrated by the waddling, podgy toes that just won’t stabilise and walk on my baby. I’ve been frustrated my boy isn’t in the education slip stream yet and I’ve been irritated my older girl can’t drive herself to school already. What am I doing? If that’s how I’m going to live them I simply don’t deserve my children.
Perspective is changing me.
Perspective took me on a journey like Ebenezer Scrooge through the ‘What could be’s’, the ‘What if’s’ and the ‘Why’s’ of my life. In my haste to get on with my life I realised I didn’t see a school letter telling of a fancy dress day at school. My girl had to borrow a school dress – thankfully she was very happy with it. I didn’t listen to the nursery teacher telling me of a show and tell. My boy went without. I was so busy writing that I didn’t see the toothy grin of my baby get up and waddle unsteadily towards me. With my head pushed so far up my posterior I was unable to see anything that was happening around me.
I spoke to God about it and after a friendly Father / daughter exchange the heart break set in. The realisation of what was going on around me hit like the number 10 bus. Square in the face and flattening me. I am missing this. Who cares if I don’t shower today? Who cares if mould is taking over my bathroom like a virus? Who cares if so much Weetabix is sticking to the table it’ll end up looking like the leaning tower of Pisa? Yes it’s all a problem and I will get to it in time but if I’m so caught up in that and all the perfect pieces of who I want to become then I will never win.
I will never be Nigella Lawson in the kitchen nor Monty Don in the garden. I will never have the wit of a stand up comedian nor the grace of a Strictly Come Dancing star. What I will have is the embrace and affection of three imperfect children given to a desperately imperfect woman who lusts after perfect homemade spaghetti Bolognese and fresh tomatoes. Life is what we make it and I implore you dear reader don’t lust after what you can’t have instead be thankful for all that remains in your sight. Be thankful and hold it dear until it screams to be released.
Perspective is my new friend and it tells me right now I am a Mother. I am already she.