How do we learn to be Mothers? Observation of those around us, our own experiences, instinct, a multitude of manuals and TV shows? Almost any woman can be a Mum, biologically or not. But with a few obvious exceptions we all set out to be a GOOD Mother.
My darling baby son, Wriggly Giggler, is seven months old, he is gorgeous and chubby, contented and dare I say, fairly easy (until he’s not!) But I have recently struggled with being the Mother I hoped to be.
I’ve been a pseudo Mum for most of my life; I grew up with a loving but fairly hopeless Mother (although she’d die if she knew I described her as such.) She was an unhappy child then wife and felt undermined and overwhelmed as a Mother. As the eldest of her daughters I was more of a Mother to her than she was to me. I often joked that I was a teenage Mum to a child in her 40’s. My youngest sister sought me out for nurture; climbing into my bed during a storm or if she had a bad dream. My Grandmothers both lived a great distance away so we were only occasional visitors.
My working life has been a series of maternal roles; working in children’s homes, hostels and support services. My duties were to positively regard those who were often seemingly unlovable and profoundly damaged, usually by the most appalling parents. To support them, empower & encourage them and foster independence & self confidence. Without wishing to sound pompous, I was pretty blummin’ good at it! I wasn’t so successful in my first marriage. My first husband, Mr Toxic, was messed up and so our relationship invisibly became unhealthy, he was a dependent man-child who I foolishly cared for until it inevitably broke down.
When I met my super second Hubby five years ago I began the journey of becoming a loving Step Mother to Angel Boy, he’s utterly wonderful and will be seven soon. I enjoy a fabulous relationship with him despite the bitter and often vindictive efforts of his Mother who will be known here as Voldemort! I love him deeply and he loves me, it has been a rocky path at times but also the most joyful honour. I take great pride in knowing I’ll be the one he comes to when he’s an anguished teenager. He is the most incredible, loving big Brother.
Becoming a natural Mother was something I was never sure would happen. Because of my up-bringing, my career choices and being in a toxic relationship for years, I told myself I didn’t need to bring a new life into the world to fulfil that role. I think that was largely a self defence as I also had PCOS and in over a decade with Mr Toxic we were never blessed. Just as well really as I would have found it hard to prevent my child from having a relationship with its Father but, once I’d come to my senses, I knew couldn’t have him in my life in any capacity.
It was only in my mid-thirties after a lot of soul searching and getting my life back on track that I became sure that having my own family was what I wanted to do. A whole family; a partner and children. So the task was to find that man! I won’t give you all the salacious details but I had ALOT of fun online and speed-dating! I met some lovely fellas and ultimately The One. He’s shy & sweet, strong & kind and loves me to the moon and back. He is the yin to my yang, the tonic to my gin, the ping to my err… pong?!? It’s such a cliché, but honestly true, that we fell in love the moment we saw each other. We didn’t start trying for a family until we were both really sure we were ready although my biological clock wasn’t ticking so much as striking like the intro to News at Ten – Bong! After years of fertility issues I fell pregnant within weeks of getting started. It was meant to be! I was amazed! The One was very proud of himself!