real life

The things that will knock you for six when you are a mum.

I never expected these bits to be the hard bits. Did you?

My son called me Mum the other day.

It was as he was rushing through the school gate, bag half falling off his shoulder, shirt already stained after only being worn for half-an-hour. He turned back, his face so imprinted in my brain it could be my own. He broke into a smile.

Love you Mum.

Mum.

I wasn’t quite ready to be that person yet. I’ve been Mama for so long. Never Mummy for my kids, always the sweet lullaby of Mama.

And then suddenly I am not.

Mum seemed to me to be a different far-off person. A tougher, sturdier person kitted with bags of soccer gear and hockey sticks. An older me, but suddenly here I am.

It’s bittersweet isn’t it this job of ours?

You are prepared for many things, others not so.

Parts of being a mother you can mentally prepare yourself for. You can straighten your shoulders and steady yourself for what you are about to face. You know these are going to be the times you need to push through, that these will be the times that level you but that you will survive.

The first birthday, the first tooth, the first day at school, their first sleepover. You know it will be difficult and so you can brace yourself.

But then there are the other times. The unexpected day-to-day events that uproot you, sweeping you off your feet with the emotional impact they deliver.

These are the milestones that I wasn’t ready for, the milestones that unravel me.

 1. The last day of the first year of school.

You just know that first day of school is going to be a tough one. Oh, your child will be fine; it’s us mums that suffer. But as they are taken off and cocooned by those caring, nurturing, gentle kindergarten teachers deep down you know they are okay. They are being watched over.

Shauna and her boys

It’s the last day that threw me. They day when you look at those suddenly-grown children and remember the too-long dresses on the first day and the shy smiles and you see how much they’ve grown, and how they aren’t the little ones anymore.

2. When they don’t want you to come.

Ever since he was a baby my middle child has clung to me in a way that is both delightful and slightly irritating all at the same time. He always wanted me there, me to be right next to him. There were tears at soccer and swimming. There were times at playdates I would have preferred to be almost anywhere else but he wanted me to stay.

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Until he didn’t anymore.

You can go now Mama. It pulls at your heart and you do go. Oddly sad and excited all at the very same time.

Watch the moments a mum knows it is all worthwhile. Post continues after video. 

3. When you are first at home alone.

I always imagined I would slide down the back of the door when I was finally home alone. That I would hear whispers in the silence, the echo of my children’s regular cacophony. I didn’t slide. But there was a moment, just a moment of unbuckling.

4. When you finally move on from the car seat.

The cot was dismantled years ago, the baby clothes folded, bagged and passed on to neighbours, the high chair discarded unable to be reused due to years of dried food build up. You deal with that and happily pass on, donate and throw away.

But then years later the car seat. Practically glued on to the backseat with god-knows-what. Faded and smelly. A seat for a small child and yours is now verging on a tween.

5. When they read alone.

I’m good Mum I’ve got this, says mister nearly eight-years old of the mum-not-mama. He no longer needs me to sit next to him while he reads, my fingers pointing at each word, or taking turns to read each page. He devours books curled up on the couch while I help his younger siblings.

But every so often I still selfishly beg of him to sit with me and let me read to him.

The little moments that make you realise they are growing up.

It’s a process of letting go and hanging-on this mothering business. Of knowing when to step back and when to step up, and muddling around in the middle. So many milestones knock me for six, so many moments strike me.

So many memories to cherish.

What tiny moments have you found floored you?
Want more? Try this.

The 20 things I want my daughter to know before she grows up.

This mum is saying what all of us are thinking about our first year of motherhood. 

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