Growing up it was just the two of us. It wasn’t Gilmore Girls, it was life. I spent the first 9 years of my life in America, where I was born, before moving to the UK where I’ve stayed ever since. It wasn’t like TV, you couldn’t slot me in on Dawson’s Creek just like you can’t slot most people in to Made In Chelsea. I was born in California and lived in and around Hollywood.
I went to an endless stream of private schools and did every extra-curricular activity you could think of. I regularly went to work with my mum after school while she finished her shift and was even a dab hand at a photocopier and fax machine aged 6. We did everything together. While she cooked, my job was to sit at the breakfast bar and read to her. When we shopped, my job was to write down how much things cost add them up while we were going round so she knew how much it would be when we got to the till. We had two computers side by side at home and while she worked from home, I did school work or played Oregon Trail (excellent game). When I was ill, she looked after me and when she was ill, I looked after her.
It all sounds amazing, I mean it was amazing. My mother, in my eyes was a parent, a strong, independent person, who never faltered, never struggled, basically she just go on with it. My childhood was fun, she was my best friend and still is. Of course we came to blows as I grew up, like any normal teen and their parent does and I’ve watched my mum struggle. She struggled through, uprooting us to a different country, going to college and uni whilst working and raising me, dealing with the perils of school life (me being bullied etc) and teenage angst. She’s watched me move out, move cities, find love, get married and have a child all of my own.
When A was born, my mother was there, she helped me through labour, she watched him take his first breath and documented my husband as he “cut the cord.” She was there for all of it and it was a given that she would be. She’s found the transition of slotting in from Mum to Grandma a tough one (I think) with a whole new wave of emotions that she has never encountered. She makes sure that monthly we have time where she takes me out and the day is all about me and tells me constantly that I’m a good mum. Problem is, I don’t feel like one.
You see things all the time, blogs about the “reality of being a mum” which depicts a house full of toys that is never tidy, a washing basket that is never empty, makeup being a thing of the past and a social life? What”s that? Not being able to eat food unless its cold; same with tea and coffee. This depiction of “motherhood” as a prison where our tiny screeching human’s are the wardens and we are beholden to them is just simply not my life.
I joke about not knowing what it’s like to have a hot cup of tea since having A but as I write this, I’m having one. He will happy sit and watch me apply my makeup daily and marvels in watching the brushes glide over my skin and the mirror making my face appear and disappear. Doing a load or two of washing has become a regular part of my week but it really isn’t the turmoil that it seems. I eat 3 meals a day and have (give or take a few days here or there) since A was born. I go on a night out once a month which is probably more than I did before he was born and my social life is pretty the same. The only difference is now all of my friends have to find childcare (which I admit can be a struggle for everyone).
My husband was talking to me after a gripe from me that went along the lines of “you live here, you have to do stuff too” and his reply of “well there’s nothing to do” set my head spinning. However, what he meant was what he went on to explain. People praise him on his capability as a father and how good he is with A, however, in his words, “I don’t really do much.” He explained that when he gets home, the house is tidy, the fridge and cupboards and full, his lunch for the next day is either prepared or bought and A’s dinner is ready. We feed and bath A together and he gives him a bottle, reads him a story and puts him to bed. When he comes down dinner is on the table. A’s bag for nursery is packed, his clothes are already set out for the next day and the washing has been done, folded and put away. In my husband’s eyes, I am superwoman. He often feels lost, as if he should be doing more, but from his view, I do everything.
Why I say that my mother ruined “motherhood” for me, my mum did it all, she did everything, she raised me, she never waited for anyone to do anything for her because that person simply didn’t exist. She is the parental figure that I learned from and therefore she is who I emulate. I do what she did and that isn’t a problem for me, it isn’t a burden. So I’m sorry that when you come to my house, things are in their place, you have clean and tidy places to sit down, my fridge has “grown up food” (as my best friend described it once), we can have a cup of tea and it still be hot and I’ve got some makeup on. You can blame my mum for that one. She ruined the horrible depiction of “motherhood” that I see so regularly and made it wonderful for me.
Thanks mum. I love ya.