I didn’t think much about my own mum’s role as a mother when I had my first baby. I think I was too consumed with trying to get it right while feeling exhausted and vulnerable that I couldn’t see much beyond my Precious First Born and my own journey in to motherhood.
My parents are thirty seven years out the other side and can pass it off with a ‘I don’t remember it being that hard’ and ‘oh you lot worry too much’. When we had Buster they looked on dumbfounded as we piled in to their house for a one night stay with a special bath and gadgets and mind-expanding baby DVDs, a ‘travel system’ that cost more than their first house and, crucially, ONE baby.
I’m one of six and as a kid it completely passed me by that when I said how many siblings I had, people’s minds were probably on my poor/mad mother. When I was first a mum, I certainly didn’t really give much thought to how she’d done it, or particularly give her credit for it. They don’t advise cooled boiled water as a solution to all things anymore (still no Mum) but the fundamentals are the same and as I bustled about with organic root vegetables she must have bitten her tongue.
And then over the last couple of years, as the kids have got bigger, I have a growing appreciation for my mum. I’ve realised that she’s walked in these shoes. She fussed over her precious babies. She marvelled at how clever we were with each milestone. She longed for more sleep and then wondered how she could miss that phase as we got bigger.
There’s a comfort only Mum can give sometimes because I know she’s been here.
When I’ve felt vulnerable at the school gates. When I’ve felt like I’m not good enough, I’m not doing enough. When I’ve compared myself to someone who looks like they have their shit together so much better than I do. When trying to juggle work and family and feeling like the spinning plates are about to crash down at any moment.
When I told her I’d got the time wrong and arrived at the end of a birthday party, Mabel gamely bowling in only to find it was time to cut the cake, party bags were handed out and they were sent on their way, Mum’s response was ‘Well she was there for the best bits’ and it was ok.
But my favourite thing about my mum is getting to know her as a person beyond being a mum. She is passionate, she feels other people’s sadness (and will cry if anyone within ten metres is crying) and she has a naughty sense of humour that explains why she got in trouble with the nuns at school. I once arrived to pick my parents up from a party and found my mum climbing out of a swimming pool fully clothed, driving her home with a towel on her head. I think she prides herself on not being what people expect from a Vicar’s wife and mother of six.
Since I became a mother, I have realised just how wonderful my daft, contrary, strong and beautiful mum is.
If you would like to join in and share a story about motherhood, we’d love you to post a picture on Instagram, with the hashtag #whenibecameamother and tagging @dontbuyherflowers. You can find the details on our Instagram page. One person will be chosen at random to receive two Any Occasion Packages, our Mother’s Day bestseller. For more Mother’s Day gift ideas click here