What is a mother?

I am a mother.

I am kind and incompetent.

I am supportive and so loving but I’ve had a child had to have a tooth pulled because it got so rotten. All because I hate sorting out dentist/doctor/school stuff and speaking one the phone.

I have spent a child’s birthday money on nappies and food. (And maybe wine…)

But

I co slept with all my babies. One slept with me until she was 9.

I happily took them to mother and baby groups and got stuck in with finger painting. I dedicated one whole of wall of my living room to my children’s art. For the best part of 2 decades.

My eldest daughter felt able to text me at 2am to tell me she had started her period at a sleepover.

Just to tell me.

She didn’t need my help, she wanted to excitedly share her news with me. I got my first period at 10 and kept it a secret until my mum found out 6 months later and shouted at me for not telling her so this was a big deal to me.

I sat my newly adult son down before he went to university and had the awkward but necessary conversation with him about consent. Something I would do much sooner in his life if I could  go back or if I was bringing up a young boy these days.

My 5ft 9 daughter still sits on my lap for cuddles. My 6ft, 18yr old son knows when I angrily scream at him FUCK OFF when he holds me down and farts on me that I love him with my whole heart even through I want to kill him at that precise moment.

I will still get up and make my ‘babies’ a drink and clear up after them even though they are more than capable and  I’m not really teaching them the best lesson about independence.

But

My older children have lived with their father for most of their teens. My depression and anxiety and inability to cope appropriately in a crisis meant he could offer more stability and consistency as well as be a happy, grounded parent.

Sometimes love is not enough.

It torments me that I am a mother who doesn’t live full time with some of her children. Despite the fact that my kids are happy, loved, know they’re loved, smart (so smart!) We are close and open and honest. They understand that mum has had to deal with mental health issues.

I have always apologised to my  children when I have fucked up. I explain that everyone has weaknesses and makes mistakes and that learning from them is so important. Sadly they may have come to this realisation earlier in their little lives than I would have liked.

I keep trying my best.

Do your best.

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I am a lovely mum.

Imperfect.

Shouty at times but equally as soft.

Interested. Proud. Concerned.

I spoil but not overly.

I laugh a lot. We laugh a lot.

I may be utterly useless if they need help organising driving lessons or sorting out student loans but they have their dad who can do that.

I know my limits.

My wallet and organisational skills are lacking but my arms are wide and my heart wide open for them.

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