According to a recent survey there are many tell-tale signs that identify you as a mother. These probably include the tired eyes, the handbag full of baby wipes, plasters and Lego, and the endless supply of snacks at the ready. The survey would suggest that we are a frumpy, weary and bedraggled looking bunch altogether. Well maybe we are, but personally I’d rather not be singled out as a mother on account of how stressed and exhausted and otherwise harried I appear to be but rather how I am interacting with my children and how much fun we are having together.
Being a mother is not just about drudgery, exhaustion and endless scheduling although this is a big part of it obviously. Rather it’s about the hundred or more heart-warming moments that occur every single day, it’s about the moments of outrageously ridiculous and hysterical laughter, and it’s about the moments of tenderness and the moments of fun. Only in these inexplicable moments can you really understand what it means.
Of course some moments are more ridiculous than others and indeed some others just define the essence of motherhood but here are some of my favourites.
Firstly, one of my absolute favourites is that when I come through the door at night after a long shift, tired, somewhat dishevelled and downright grumpy there is always at least one person whose heart bursts with delight at the sight of me and the sound of my voice. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but it is lovely to be greeted like I was long since lost.
Another great thing about being a mother is having a reasonable excuse for just about everything. If that night out gets too much you can leave early with mutterings about babysitters to bring home or teenagers to collect. Having children gives you a great reason to thoroughly enjoy a Harry Potter marathon or a Star Wars movie and see it all over again through the eyes of a child. There will always be Lego to build, pictures to colour and games to be played. No explanation or justification required.
Something else I love about being a mother is that children generally don’t really care what you look like. I could have a green facemask and a towel on my head and somebody will still think I’m the most beautiful person in their little world. Of course this only applies when they’re quite small. They get quite sensitive about things like this when they get to the stage of having friends over. Funny that. Even the school run can become a little awkward as they live in fear of being mortally embarrassed by us. The power to do that is quite intoxicating to be honest.
The beauty of motherhood is that little children turn into all seeing all knowing teenagers. This of course means there is never a problem with anything technological. The laptop is updated in an instant, the mobile unfrozen in a heartbeat and all WiFi issues are instantly nipped in the bud. Teenagers come in unbelievably handy really.
There’s something so lovely in just watching kids be kids, carefree and uninhibited and their pure joy when they discover how to do things on their own is infectious and inspiring. Their needs are simple and being able to fulfil them is a special honour if you think about it. Although in all that tenderness and emotion motherhood also brings things like the rather dubious talent of being able to ask for a nit comb in many different languages.
But of course on top of all that, there is one thing that makes the experience of motherhood absolutely complete. That is no matter the hour of the day or night, no matter the crisis or the occasion, no matter how rich or how poor, there will always be chocolate in the house. That’s guaranteed and makes it all worthwhile. Failing that, the other absolute best moment of motherhood is bedtime. And when they’re very little anyone who says otherwise is lying.