Identity Through The Eyes Of A Child
“Where’s Mum?” she asks her dad.
“My wife? She’s back now, just there”, he says cheekily.
“No, it’s Mum!”, she shrieks, seeing me down the hallway.
“Oh, you mean Grandma’s daughter?”
“No, it’s Mum!”
“Aunty Ro’s sister?”
“No Dad, it’s just my Muummmmm!”
She runs to me, squealing with delight, and wraps those pudgy little arms of hers tightly around my neck.
This is how my child sees me – in relationship with her alone, “Just My Mum”.
It’s full on, being a child’s “Just My Mum”.
They’re so loud, so impatient and so needy, day and night, for so long.
We’re so societally undersupported, undervalued, overworked and overwhelmed.
While I try to remind myself that yes, I do actually exist outside my motherhood, she can’t see that yet.
“Why did you want to be alone, or with anyone but me?”, her look enquires as I leave, and again when I return.
I wish she could see what the other relationships and interests and facets of my life do for me.
One day she will, but that day is not today.
It’s not her job to see them right now, or to understand them either.
It’s my job to remember I was a human in relationships with other humans before she existed, not hers.
It’s my job to remember that doing the things I love in and out of her company makes me a more present mother, not a more absent one.
It’s my job to hold myself as she holds me now, with infinite love, even in the times I know I could have done better.
I breathe her in, and squeeze her back.
Her arms release, and the squishy face studies mine for a moment before hugging herself.
“I love me”, she announces, before running off.
“Come with meeee” she yells over her shoulder.
I linger in the place where her heart pressed against mine, the heart that loves herself so completely, infinitely, unconditionally.
My mission is to help her lock in that self-love forever.
I can’t succeed unless I love me too.
And to love me, I need to be all parts of me, not “Just My Mum”.
A deep breath comes in, then out.
“Okay Babe, I’m coming”.
Let's do this my Little Love.
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