Of all the days of the year, this is the most important to me. Christmas is for kids, easter is for kids, my birthday is known to suck, year after year. But mother's day is a day I like my family to celebrate because I friggin deserve it. This year my kids (and Andre) bought and made me amazing things that I just adore. Which is a lovely change from last years grosby slipper debacle.
Everyone knows it's not always easy being a mum. So much to do, blah blah blah. It's not news. Every single one of us knows kids know how to push your buttons, make a mess and do dangerous shit just to keep you from sitting down and relaxing. I did it to my mum and she did it to hers. I often wonder if things are different for mums today though. There seemed to be more support for parents in the past, today we are just as likely to turn on each other as to lend a hand. It's something I've lamented while rocking back and forth in a catatonic depression.
I don't remember my mum ever inviting gangs of people over for fancy arse dinner parties with soup, entree, main, dessert, cheese board and cocktails. If people came to dinner they got a barbecue, salads and a trifle. Nobody complained. I wonder when we decided that in order to have people over, we had to cook the most rare and amazing thing ever seen on the planet? Seriously, I'm not a cook. I do a mean dessert but I hate standing about making some dish from some country I've never been to that requires fifty ingredients and the blood of a puffa fish. I love trying new things, I love my food and I've got the figure to show for it. However I don't love the way that someone somewhere along the line has decided that this is the requirement of all people hosting dinner. We must be good at everything, including cooking things a four year trained chef would struggle to make.
The pressure to raise perfect children and make our children into little geniuses is baffling to me. We do the best with what we have and all the oboe lessons in the world aren't going to make a kid become a well rounded child prodigy. My parents got shit wrong (sorry Ma and Pa) but don't we all? My kids will whinge about me the way I whinge about my parents and so on and so forth. All those little bumps and emotional scars do not define us as adults. We have responsibility to rise above our past, just as our kids will. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't worry about doing the right thing, just remember that when we don't get something right it's not the end of the world. Teach kids resilience, not perfection. Don't hide the fact you aren't perfect. Show your kids you can screw up royally and still come out the other side as a happy, healthy person - you don't have to wallow in your mistakes. If we pretend we've never made a mistake how can we expect our kids to come to us when they've made one and need help?
Were parents always judged so harshly? The amount of judgement I see when I go out with Nate and he does something unexpected, like jump or flap, squeal or grab someone accidentally, is frustrating. It used to upset me, then it pissed me off, now I'm resigned to the fact that some people are just dicks. It's pretty obvious Nate has special needs when he does these things but the looks I get are astonishing. Even if he were typically developed, he's a kid. Kids do weird shit. I remember pretending I was my own twin, racing inside and changing into different clothes so the new neighbours would think I was interesting. Kids do stuff that makes no sense and to judge a person's parenting skills on the eccentric behaviour of a child is just odd.
Were so many of us raising kids without support? I don't mean single parenting, I have no idea how hard that would be. It sounds exhausting and stressful and I make no claims to understand how hard it is at all. I'm talking about two parents, no time out. I know some people are lucky enough to have a lot of family support and everyone lives close and the kids go off to Grandma's for holidays and sleepovers, but some of us don't have that. We don't get a break. I'm sure that while we have all this technology and things to make our lives easier that in many ways it has become harder. When I came home from the hospital with my babies I was on my own. Andre had work to get back to and it was just me. Nobody came to vacuum or cook me a meal or hold the baby while I had a shower. When Nate was diagnosed with autism I didn't get swamped with help like I needed. I was on my own and it was fucking horrible. Andre had to work and I was here day after day trying to get him to interact and reading masses of information on the internet in a desperate attempt to 'cure' Nate. Sometimes being a parent just sucks. It's lonely, it's hard work and sometimes you are desperate to get away but you can't. Ever. I used to sit and cry and wish I lived on some island where they still lived as a group and everyone was there for each other and everyone raised the kids, not just mum.
So back to mother's day. It's the one day I think I need to be acknowledged for what I do (as conceited as that may sound). It is a big deal. I chose to have babies, I love my kids so much that I sometimes could squeeze them until their eyes popped. That doesn't mean that I don't need help or company. It also doesn't mean that I don't get lonely, or tired, or frustrated. It's a tough gig and anyone who says they love every minute is remembering through rose coloured glasses. Today though, for just one day, I was told thank you. I was given lots of cuddles and kisses and I opened my handmade presents and cried with happiness that couldn't find another way to come out. Today I felt like someone thought I was doing an okay job and that every bit of my soul that I pour into my kids is being appreciated.
Happy mother's day to all of you xo
Happy mother's day to all of you xo