“Mum. Mummy? MUM! Muuuuuuuummmmmm!”
Kids are creative. They can say this one word a thousand different ways in one day. My four-year-old asked me not long ago, “What’s your name?”
I laughed, amused and a little puzzled.
“It’s Katie,” I said. “You know that!”
Things mums NEVER say. Post continues below.
“Oh yeah, ” he giggled.
Wow, did he forget my name? I can’t really blame him. We always play the silly game where he says, “Mum,” and I say, “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”
But it was worn out. I was worn out.
My husband came home the other night and greeted everyone. Lastly, he came to me and said, “And how are you doing mum?”
I handed him the baby and announced, “I’m having a shower.”
In the bathroom, I stared at myself in the mirror. “Katie,” I said. “Katie, Katie, Katie.”
I called a friend and stayed silent for a minute until she said, “Katie, Kate? You there?”
Yes, I thought, relieved. I am still here.
And you are supposed to do all these things at the highest level. Because you are raising a human being.
And then, of course, you have to make sure you are still filling your own cup, putting on your own oxygen mask first; a happy mum makes for happy kids etc.
Except sometimes not forgetting yourself really just feels like another thing on the To-Do list.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum. I have four children that I adore.
A pregnant friend once asked me what it was like to be a mum. I chose my words carefully, trying not to terrify her.
“It’s just a lot of moments really. And those moments weigh differently. To be honest, there are more bad moments than good.
“All day you have shit thrown at you. Sometimes literal shit. At some point, you will have shit on you. But then you have a bigger, heavier moment. Like a first laugh. Or a whispered, ‘I love you mum’ in the dark. Or the feel of little arms around your neck.
“Or the eyes that look at you in such a big way, because you are the whole entire world. And these moments are far bigger and weigh far more than the others.”
But parenting is a job. A hard f*cking job. So one day I decided to quit.
I’m not sure which moment led to the decision. It could have been when my seven-year-old started crying because I cut her orange wrong. Or when my eight-year-old slammed the door and screamed that she hated me.