I’m a mother. For twenty-one years those three words were the first thing I said when asked about myself.
I always followed my name with, ——‘s mother.
With both children out of home now I am concentrating more on myself. But it’s hard.
When someone does something I regard as detrimental to one of my offspring my reaction is still to want to run them over with the car.
When I told my mother-in-law I was pregnant for the first time she smirked. The comment that followed was that I was about to find out what the word worry really meant.
Wise woman my ex mother-in-law.
The thing about your children growing up is that you can’t defend them the way you did when they were little. Band-aids and lollies don’t make things better anymore.
I am also an Australian, but I don’t need to say that. People can hear it the minute I open my mouth.
Not according to Australians however. When I head off over the ditch, the first thing out of their mouths is: “you sound like a bloody Kiwi.”
This makes stepping back harder I think. We’re an outspoken lot.
I am doing what I can. Listening when they ring with a problem. Offering solutions when they ask, and yes I admit it, sometimes when they don’t.
They’re doing well, learning to be adults. Dealing with problems and people in an adult manner.
I’m the one with the problem. Today I had to tell one of them I couldn’t fix something.
That was okay though. What was needed was someone to rant to. I know that they will work this out, but I can hear the stress coming out in the words.
It’s all I can think of.
I want to run out and slap the person causing it.
There are lots of things I should be doing, but I can’t concentrate on anything else.
It made me realise that being a ‘mother’ will always be how I will define myself. Whatever is happening in my life will always be second to that.
Recently someone told me I should put myself first. That it was good for my children. I thought about that for a long time. Are they right?
I don’t know. I do know I’ll never be able to do it.
And this to me is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that I’m not getting what I want or need.
And I remember something one of the children said to me a while ago. Because they know I put them above all else, the knowing is often enough.
Maybe it’s their security blanket. Which is how I think it should be. We should all have someone to make us feel safe, so we can get on with life without worrying so much about what will happen if things go wrong.
I like to think that it gives them the courage to fail.
When there is no-one there for support – even it is just with words – the fear can stop us from trying.
Which is why I am only lately taking the risks I need to, to be able to call myself a writer and pursue it relentlessly, I didn’t have that feeling.
While I no longer follow my name with the phrase I’m So and So’s mother, and as time goes on I will respond to the question of what do you do, with – I’m a writer, I’ll still hear those three words.
I’m a mother.