My mum and I are like chalk and cheese. Or so I always thought.
There are certainly obvious differences. I wear my heart on my sleeve and cry easily. My mum is more reserved. I love children and babies. My mum prefers dogs. I am unorganised and scatty. My mum loves to plan and regularly chastises me for not writing important things on my calendar! I want to travel the world whereas my mum is more of a home bird. I have always assumed I’m more like my dad, both in looks and personality.
And then I had kids.
There are many ways to describe my mum – loyal, feisty, dependable, animal lover, but I think she would forgive me for also describing her as a worrier. She is probably used to being the butt of our jokes when it comes to her tendency to worry. She once told she was relieved when I’d returned home from a trip to London because she worried about me. I was 30! If you’d have asked me ten years ago, pre-children, what my views on worrying were I would have said it was a waste of time. No good can come from it. It’s a wasted emotion. Ten years on and rationally I know that is still true. However since having kids I’ve found that logic doesn’t always come into it.
I have turned into a worrier. I worry about my kids constantly. I worry about my eldest starting high school even though it’s 3 years away. I worry about how life will treat my kids. I worry if they have enough friends. Whether people are being kind to them. I worry about their academic abilities. I worry about my own abilities as a mother. I worry about keeping them safe. And I now realise there isn’t a cut off age when you can stop worrying about your children.
It made me think about other ways my mum and I aren’t as different as we may have thought. I certainly get my feistiness from my mum! Neither of us suffer fools gladly. We are both bookworms and both love animals. We are both introverts. People who know me well may scoff at me describing myself as an introvert, but it does take me a while to feel comfortable around people. I would rather have a couple of really good friends than a huge social circle. Again, something I get from my mum.
I talk to my mum often about the daily challenges of having three kids. I remember telling her that at the end of the day I sit and think “I didn’t handle that situation well. What could I have done better?”, and she surprised me by admitting that she too felt like that when my sister and I were young.
I was surprised because my mum always seemed so assured. Someone who I would consider a “proper grownup”. I never considered that she too had moments of doubt. It made me think that perhaps all the mothers who look like they really have their sh*t together, are really just winging it like the rest of us.
The one situation that I feel sums up my mum the best, was when I realised I was having a miscarriage. I was 10 weeks pregnant and had started to bleed. We hadn’t even told my parents we were having another baby. We were waiting until after the 12 week scan – like I said, she’s a worrier! So we turned up unannounced on a Saturday night with our 13 month old because we needed someone to mind him so we could go to the hospital. I walked in burst into tears and blurted out “I think I’m having a miscarriage”. We didn’t realise that my mum and dad were about to leave to go to a silver wedding anniversary party. There was no debate. No questions. No accusations of why we hadn’t told them about the pregnancy. They just cancelled their plans and stayed at home to look after our son so we could go to the hospital.
It highlights how we would both do anything for our families and further emphasises that you never stop being there for your children. And no matter how old we get, we never stop needing our parents.
Here’s to you, Mum. Happy Mother’s Day.