I’m really lucky, I have an awesome mum. She has always been there for me, is a great role model and is now a great Nanna to my kids. Over the years I’ve thanked her for the physical things that she has done for me – driving me places (sport as a youngster and then to and from bars as a young adult), packing me lunches, washing and cleaning. She was at almost every single sporting game, school concert and award ceremony, and as a Nanna she drove to Sydney from Canberra on her days off just to help me with my newborn. She knows I love and appreciate her. However, there was a big part of her role in our family that I haven’t fully thanked her for and never appreciated until I became a mother myself.
And I think the role that I’m referring to is perhaps the biggest thing that a mother does for a family that we rarely get appreciated and thanked for. I’m not sure mums even realise how amazing they actually are at it. It’s being the glue that holds a family together and makes it hum the way it does around the clock, 24/7. This role is often innate and I don’t think many mums could ever switch it off. But it can be thoroughly exhausting.
From the moment a baby is conceived a mother is responsible for it and sometimes that sense of responsibility is overwhelming. Your mindset changes and your child becomes the person you put first before absolutely everything usually – even your inbuilt desire to eat and sleep, or just pee in peace!
And so begins a lifelong dedication to caring, nurturing and raising a child – a 24 hour 7 day a week job. Even when your babies are sleeping (and you’re meant to be!) you find yourself thinking about what’s next. What will they eat tomorrow morning for breakfast? What do I need to pack for lunch? What do they need to wear for the weather tomorrow? All that thinking and planning often fits around, or is at the expense of, actual paid work, housework, personal care (i.e. a simple shower), cooking, paying bills etc.
While the men in our lives help with execution, it’s often mum who does the thinking and planning for the family – could you call her the ‘brains’ of the family then? For example, for a recent holiday I started making my numerous lists a week out. Clothes, bedding, toiletries, teddies, first aid, snacks, nappies, wipes – not just for me, but for all of us. My suitcase was shared with my two girls and as I drew closer to my 20kg limit I removed some of my things to make way for the things that they need. I had snacks for the plane trip over, for the holiday itself and a stash for the return trip. I had lollipops in case their ears hurt and sticker books to keep them occupied. This is what being a mum is all about.
And this is the part that I never appreciated with my own mum. She continues to do it to this day, even though her kids are grown adults. She’s always there for us and continually puts our needs before her own. She loves caring for us and she does an amazing job of it.
So in the lead up to Mother’s Day, I’d like to give a big high five to all the mums out there for for being the glue! Thank you to the mums who are now nannas for the years of love, support and comfort you have given us and continue to give us and our children. To those mums who have lost their own mum too soon, hopefully there are many precious memories to recall on this special day tinged with a little sadness. And to the men out there, while it’s technically called Mother’s Day, it could also be dubbed Wife Appreciation Day. Maybe just an teeny acknowledgement of these additional things that the mother of your children does would go a long way.
And finally to my mum. Thank you for everything that you do. I love you with all of my heart.