It’s Mothers Day so by rights I should be reclining on a chaise longue, having a foot massage whilst eating peeled grapes. But I’ve got something to say! (no surprises there then)
Firstly I’d like to big- up all mums. Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, god mothers, people-who-aren’t-called-mothers-but-maternally-care-for-many-others. You all rock.
But as I was lounging in bed this morning, being brought brekkie by my lovely Hubs (and Bubs who has no idea what day it is and just wants to eat my croissant) I realised that there were probably some Mothers Days when my mum didn’t get any of that. She was a single parent and when I was four-years-old I doubt I popped down the shops for a bouquet of a Sunday morning. Maybe other people did stuff for her. I imagine my Dad would have marked it in some way now and then (he’s lovely and they are together now so don’t go making assumptions #It’sComplicated). And she had some kickass friends who were totally my extended family growing up. (seriously guys, when my mum had tonsillitis and I was a baby they made a 24-hour rota and took care of use both, hurrah for friends!).
Still, we were lucky in ways that many single-parent families aren’t, so there must be a lot of women waking up this morning to no card, no flowers, no cup of tea. Just a hungry child and a pile of washing.
Well, if that’s you, I’m here to tell you: you are AMAZING!! Your kids don’t understand now but as they grow it will (hopefully) slowly dawn on them how fucking hard what you’re doing is. Especially if they have kids of their own and a partner to support them. Then they’ll be like “How did you DO it? How???? HOOOOOOW?????”
For example, I have always known that, though I was a well-behaved child most of the time, I was a nightmare when it came to going to sleep. But I didn’t get it til I suffered parental sleep deprivation of my own.
I woke up every two hours, every night for the first 9 months of my life. Bear in mind that my mum went back to work when I was 7-months old. In summary: Waking EVERY TWO HOURS. FULL TIME work. My SINGLE mother. This woman in fricking hardcore. Where is her bloody medal???
For years I’ve felt a bit bad about the whole never-wanting-to-go-to-bed thing. When I was five-years-old mum had a friend round and I came into the living room when I was supposed to be asleep and said “Here am I all alone in my little bed, and you’re out here, laughing.” The lodger who slept upstairs heard me rehearsing beforehand. No joke of a lie.
I used to find that story funny, now I just want to go and have a stern word with my 5-year-old self. “Give the woman a bloody break child!!”
I’m not sure what my mum did in response to this little performance but I do think the fact that I could prepare a hyperbolic speech at five-years-old proves she must have been doing something right. I mean, precocious much? My mum managed to work full-time, have a social life (which involved me, obvs), give me oodles of quality attention and generally be awesome all on her own. Go mum!!
(a little political interlude here to say that we couldn’t have managed to live in such a nice flat and my mum couldn’t have managed to do the work she loved if it wasn’t for the FREE childcare I received, we were probably one of the last families to get it and I have no idea what we would have done today)
So, yeah, to all of you single mums out there. All you people who have no one to swap night shifts with when your teething toddlers wakes five-times a night (thanks for that Hubs); all of you who have to handle discipline yourselves; who struggle to make ends meet on one income but never let your kids go without; to all of you who give your love and time to your children and leave little for yourself: YOU FUCKING ROCK!
One day I will be able to send you all a cup of tea and a bunch of flowers via our 3D printers or robots or something. But for now, I shall send you a cyber hug and say Happy Mothers Day! You deserve to be celebrated! Beyonce and I solute you!