When real life fails to tally up

Carolyn Aldis

Carolyn Aldis

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THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis

So, this Sunday is Mothers Day, the time we celebrate mothers and all that they are.

Being a mother is hard…you feel guilty about everything. I’ve heard it said “Guilt comes with the umbilical cord…” and how right that is. Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? Am I doing this right? Do I spend enough time with them? Do I spend too much time with them? I don’t want to become a “S-Mother”, someone who spends so much time with them that they feel stifled by my presence.

There are so many unrealistic expectations we have before our children are born that when real life doesn’t tally up, it can be hard to adjust and go with the flow. By baby number 4 I was just about getting the hang of it. My first had good quality organic food, my last survived on chocolate brownies…when you have had sleep deprivation to that extent, you will do anything for peace. There is a reason why it is used as torture.

I have had many gifts and cards from my girls, but one in particular stands out. They were all under 8 and I was feeling pretty rubbish as a mum; I haven’t met a mother yet that can say that they have always felt they were doing a perfect job. My husband filmed our girls saying nice things about me and then set the film to one of our favourite songs and put it on a DVD for us all to watch. I sobbed all the way through it. A small child telling you how wonderful they think you are is destined to make you feel emotional. They couldn’t understand my tears, passing me a tissue to wipe my eyes.

When it happens now, they say “Oh Mum!” and roll their eyes.

Now, I know Mothers Day is hard for some people…those that wanted children that never had them…those who have a difficult relationship with their Mum…and those who spend time on Mothers Day at the cemetery. It can be a painful time and I don’t want to take away from that. But there are many good mothers who deserve to be applauded, because even if externally they look like they have it all together, often they don’t feel that way.

Years ago, I lived on an estate where there were a large number of young, single Mums. These women were a mixed group of those that couldn’t work and those that worked hard, putting their children into nurseries. None of them had the support of a partner and I would often think how hard it must be for them…even just the basic of having somebody at the end of every day to listen while they vented the frustration of looking after small children, or to be told “You’re doing a great job.” I decided that on Mothers Day, I would buy some gifts to give out to these mums.

It was a simple act that had a profound effect; friendships were made, it removed barriers and showed love without judgement…we could all do with more of that.