26 Nov Gratitude Day: Don’t mess with the Mums.
First: Watch this advert.
At about 45 seconds in a woman stands at the centre of an amphitheatre holding a baby and says;
“I love being a Mum, but does anyone else ever feel overwhelmed.”
Then, a joyous thing happens – every woman in the place stands with her in agreement.
I have friends who have done this for me. Who have stood with me throughout the decade I have decided to call, ‘The Exhausted Years’. A time where ‘wiping’ became a key-skill. When we learnt to survive on little sleep, and put small-peoples’ needs above our own.
There are many reasons why I am grateful for these women, here are a few:
1. The togetherness. Being a Mum can actually be pretty lonely. Doing it together makes it less so.
2. The honesty. For a while we were too concerned with looking like we had it all together to be real and show where we were not coping. Eventually we couldn’t hide it anymore and dropped the act. That was a relief.
3. The ‘not leaving when it got tough’. We have weathered storms together. And there have been some big ones. Parents have died, children been very ill, babies lost and hope extinguished in so many ways. We have stuck together. In the not-knowing-or-understanding dark days, we learnt to grieve together.
4. The celebrations. We have holidayed and partied and drank too much (although less so now the children outnumber us.). We have built a stock-pile of memories.
4. The sharing. We have shared the highs and lows, but we have also done the unremarkable stuff together too. The in-between bits, that aren’t glamorous or exciting. I cannot count the amount of ‘kids’ teas’ I have had at their houses, the number of trips to the park, or Mum’s and Toddler’s Groups, the hours of, often child-related advice I have had. It all adds up. We have shared our time, our homes and our stuff.
5. The intentionality. Building a community definitely doesn’t ‘just happen’.
6. The intimacy. We have allowed ourselves to be close enough to get hurt. Inevitably, over the years, we have offended each other, and caused each other pain. We are human – and tired. We have learnt to forgive each other.
7. The service. We have served each other. Every time a baby is born two weeks of hot meals has been provided. It is now legendary. We have thrown baby-showers and served at weddings. We have planned surprise parties and hosted childrens’ birthday parties (sometimes not even our own childrens’ parties either – now that is love!). We have bought presents and baby-sat, and swopped toys, and handed down clothes.
8. The acceptance. We have accepted each other, as my Mum would say, “warts and all”.
Thanks for accepting me.
Thank you for not minding when i called at stupid-o-clock to find out if you knew how to work a breast pump, and for, at least saying, that you didn’t mind when my eldest threw up on your sofa. Thanks for letting me come to the IVF appointments with you when your other half was away, it was an honour. Thank you for coming to my parties, and helping me move house about a million times. Thanks for dropping everything to sit with me whilst I tried to get my new born to sleep at lunchtime. Thank you for including me so that it was a given that I would come to your Mum’s funeral, and we would sit and cry together. Thanks for not judging me as I tried to explain that I was incredibly anxious and taking antidepressants. Thank you for the hamper you left for us when Matt’s Dad died. Thank you for coming to Budapest with me – to walk and talk for two days, I loved it. Thanks for G and T on Tuesdays at 5pm.Thanks for the meals and the cake and the pots of tea. Thanks for the holidays and days at the beach, and for laughing about all the ridiculous things with me.
I don’t know where I would be with out you. Love you x