Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Mother's Day cometh

Reading: The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (I'm trying this again.)
Listening to: The House of Eliott (gotta love British daytime TV)
Outside: Overcast

Now that I've finished my US taxes, and the happy dance that goes along with it despite the exhaustion and the trip hazard of chewed pencil nubs all over the floor, I look at the horizon for that most exciting day of the UK year. It is just around the corner, just past the daffodils. And that is, of course, Mother's Day.

(Ohh, don't worry, my American readers, your Mother's Day is still in May. Aaaaand breathe.)

I have been celebrating a lot of "This day one year ago's"... the first day I was pregnant but didn't know it (that would explain the nausea)... the first big birthday bash I went to and was pregnant and didn't know it (that would explain the nausea)...and the day last year we celebrated my mother-in-law's mum-ness, in a restaurant in which I almost fell asleep in a plate of potato skins, because I was pregnant and didn't know it (that would also explain the nausea).

But would you believe that nearly four months into all-new motherhood, I recently looked at my mother-in-law and asked her what she wanted to do for Mother's Day. Here's what happened.

Her: "It's up to you."
Me: "Uh. No, I think it's up to you. You're the mom."
Her: "So are you."

"Who, me?"

You would have thought that the countless bouts of morning sickness and the stress and the waddling and the stress and the eight-and-a-half months of going without coffee (something akin to sheer madness) and the stress and then the childbirth and oh man, I'm holding a baby in my arms and she's staring at me and I'm looking right back at her...and the bottomless helplessness, the sticky-eyed nightfeeds, the doorways that move in the dark, and the stress, the mastitis and the horrors of truckloads of laundry composed of baby clothes I'm still learning how to snap...

You would have thought after all that, I would have realized that Mother's Day is my day too.

That after all of these things, I could ever deserve such a day.

Maybe it's something every new mother feels. It's sort of like putting on a new uniform. A uniform that is either too small or too big, for a job you're not sure you can do right, let alone well.

Image from here. A fabulous site.

Motherhood (and parenthood in general) is just something you learn as you go. You can read every book under the sun, and you can listen to advice (whether it's solicited or not), but you won't truly know how to do it until you are actually doing it.

Googling keywords will not teach you how to change a diaper. A Youtube video will not teach you how to bathe a baby. (Believe me, I tried these. For all their knowledge, they didn't work. I still got baby poop in my hair, and worried that her diaper was on too tight/too loose/too high/too low. And I didn't really learn about bathing a baby until I felt her warm weight in my hand and tried to hold her still while her screams shredded the kitchen. But after most of the water ended up on me, and after a huge lump in my throat, I had a clean baby in the end, so.)

Maybe I had been too caught up in the spin of my daughter: her needs, her feeds, the shape of her mouth when she sleeps, her little hand wrapped around my finger.

Maybe I forgot - or perhaps didn't pause long enough to let it sink in - what my husband told me not long ago: That when I leave the room, she cranks her head around and watches the doorway, waiting for me to return.

She actually does that. I mean, wow.

Maybe it's the first time I have ever felt needed.

Feeling needed is a terrifying and wonderful thing. It is equal parts sweetness and worry. To me, it's what being a mother is all about.

And so, while I very hesitantly don this new uniform, still creased from the shop shelves, priceless tags still swinging, I whole-heartedly wish an early Happy Mother's Day to my mother, mother-in-law, and step-mom and my Granny and Grandmas on both sides. A hats off also to all mothers around the world. You sacrificed long showers and hot dinners to a baby's cry. You work hard and for absolutely nothing. You know it's not about a card, or a gift, or flowers. Mother's Day is a reminder of who you are and what you mean to your family, in case time makes you forget.

Thank you to all those ladies out there who have been there, or who are still there. To the ladies just starting the journey and pulling that new uniform up over their heads for the first time. Thank you to all those who learned and loved and give us life.

Thank you.

(And this year on Sunday, I will bounce my baby on my knee...and raise a glass to me!)

Happy Wednesday, everyone.


  1. Oh Vee that is so lovely it brings back memories of my first Mother's day as a mum. Did all the usual things associated with a small baby plus visited my mum and mum-in-law to wish them a happy mother's day and thank them for all their help to me as a new mum. Sat and relaxed in the evening with an expectant look on my face when my husband said "are you alright?" i repied yes but would not be if he kept me waiting for my card any longer. What card? he asked. my mother's day card. He looked at me aghast and said "Oh dear I forgot you were a mum" At that point baby started to cry and i thought well at least he hasn't. It never happened again and i still wait happily and expectantly on Mother's Day not for cards or gifts but to see my children and recieve the best gift of all them saying "I Love You Mum".It is the most wonderful feeling in the world when you here those words and know that they mean it. I am thrillrd to spending part of your first Mother's day with you and Dave and Lena and of cousre my wonderful Eric. Soppy I know but all true. xx

    1. Oh wow, what a crazy first Mother's Day! It certainly takes some getting used to. Kinda like motherhood. I look forward to celebrating both of us this year - you for a job well done, and me for, well, fitting into the Motherhood uniform slowly but surely! :) xx