What Defines a Mum…?

My Mum & I

Today I am really missing my dear mum… I think of her most days but today in particular, it would be great to pick up the phone and call her.  Sadly she died 6 years ago this coming September. When she died I was living in Singapore. I would cry on the school run most mornings for months afterwards, and my dear little Molly would say, “Is Nanny in heaven?”  I would reply, ‘Yes’, and she would say, “Oh that’s great because she loved Jesus!” This would get repeated on an almost daily basis by Molly who knew I was sad about her…

Yesterday I found a picture of Mary holding baby Jesus in a frame and on the back it said “Dear Molly, Jesus Loves You” – Love Nanny 2009. Molly cried when I told her… she said it was for two reasons, the first that she missed Nanny and the second that she now had the picture which she loved and would remind her of Nanny.

To me my mum was just the best. She had love for all her seven children, her brothers and sisters and their families, her neighbours. My mum opened her door and welcomed so many near and far, offering good genuine Irish hospitality. She was beautiful inside and out but was humble with it. She had a beautiful singing voice and would often be singing around the house doing her chores and she also loved talking to her plants, she had a colorful garden and spent many hours tending to it.

My Role As A Mother

It made me think about my own role as a mother. Sometimes I am in disbelief that I am a mum at all… I look at my kids and think “how did that happen?”.  I went through my twenties not wanting kids, I used to say, “I don’t want to bring them into a world like this!” Funny because the world then seemed more stable than the one we are living in now, or are we more informed these days…

I feel that sometimes the responsibility is quite overwhelming. I am a role model, so have to curb my swearing (the kids normally tell me off and dob me to their Dad). Plus I have to give sensible advice, yet I don’t always think sensibly, so it’s do as I say and not as I do!

Being Honest

My son George has always been a bit clingy in new situations – in year 1 I would have to drop him at the car drop off point at his school in Singapore, he would cry everyday for the first few months; once as I was about to drive off her threw himself on the bonnet of the car and shouted for me not to go!

Later that day, when I picked him up, I said, “Honey, you are so happy when you come out of school, so why are you so sad to go into school in the morning?” He replied, “I forget about you when I’m at school”, I just love his honesty.

So why do I feel guilty for being totally honest and admitting that sometimes I need to forget I’m a mum and I’m just me Linda, free spirit and my new fav phrase I stole from my friend Dave recently, “recycled teenager”!

I think over the years many mothers may have felt like this, but nobody talked about it or we are just more open these days, in this “talk about your feelings” culture we live in. Being mum is the hardest job and at the same time most rewarding job, but it doesn’t define me… perhaps I struggle with this because I don’t go out to an office to work anymore and left my career before moving to Asia.

No Such Thing as a Perfect Mum

Although my mum seemed selfless to me and always the constant, when I think about it she had many interests, dancing, yoga, holidays, weekends away, gardening, her catholic faith, the church, spending time with her sisters and friends.

How did she do it all? Perhaps she had more time as I was the youngest so didn’t see her struggling with lots of little ones, as my older siblings would have done.  I just remember her being incredibly independent, yet always being there, the constant…

So I don’t believe there is a perfect mum. I do, however look around me and see that some mums are more hands on than perhaps I am.  Is it right or is it wrong?  I just hope that I can continue to be present and spend more quality time with Molly and George.

Everyone says how quickly the time goes and they’ll be grown up before I know it. So I invented a game yesterday called Trampoline Yoga, the kids absolutely loved it. They both jumped on and sat crossed legged in meditative pose chanting ‘Om’! We did a series of stretches and poses.

Now what you need to know is that I am by no means a yogi and I pretty much made most of it up, but they were engaged and loved it… afterwards they both asked if we could do it everyday! ‘Well as long as its not raining’, I replied!  It was simple and I just had to take time away from what I was doing, to make time for them.  It was not hard, but it’s all too easy to let technical devices do the ‘parenting’ these days…

My 5 Mum Present Tips:

  1. Make allocated time to do stuff with the kids, individually and together (obviously depending on how many you have)!
  2. Let them choose or make something up nothing has to be set in stone… I’ve learnt they just want to spend time with you!
  3. Put down your own device and listen. Perhaps at the dinner table or on the way home from school, simply engage with them.
  4. Stop feeling guilty and comparing (probably a working progress for many of us)!
  5. Tell them you love them, laugh with them and encourage them…