Who’s the mummy?

Life used to be simple. Clear cut. Black and white.

Roles were defined and refined. We all knew were we stood. My mum was my mum. I was her daughter. Then I became a mum and I had daughters. So far, so simple.

Now… the roles are blurred, the lines in the sand rolled over by the waves of catastrophe and stress. Now, my mum no longer looks after me. I look after her. I brush her hair and put on her makeup. I clean her house. And my daughters? Well, I do look after them too – although they do their fair share of brushing my hair and applying makeup – some days I look like The Joker. Although I’m not laughing much. The angst of my mum’s demise, and the sleep-deprived stress of a new baby have combined to make me ‘grumpy mummy’ as now defined by Daisy. “I’m not grumpy all the time”, I insist, but she gives me that look that only children can give. The look that says, “yes, but it’s the grumpy times that count.”

And to rub it in, she brought me down to earth yesterday. As only children can. I was in my usual ‘get-out-the-house-with-two-children-and-a-baby-dressed-fed-and-somewhat-intact-by-half-eight-in-the-morning’ mode when the final hurdle of getting laced runners on Daisy’s feet (why oh why did I not buy velcro???) was a hurdle too far. I lost the plot and threw a tantrum. It was quite impressive too. At one point the runners where hurled across the room.

As I strapped everyone into the car I took a deep breath and sheepishly apologised for my outburst. “It’s just hard,” I explained, “Getting everyone out in the mornings with no help from you.” Daisy looked at me – not unlike my mother used to, it has to be said, when she was making an annoyingly accurate point – and said, rather aloofly.
“Yes mum, but we are little people, and you are the big person.”
Ouch.
Ouch, but true. I am the big person, and no matter where the lines are, or what the roles are or even if I have no idea where I stand anymore, I should remember that at least. Parented by my child. Sounds just about right at the moment.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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4 Responses to Who’s the mummy?

  1. Such a tricky time. I too have had moments like that and shown true toddler like behaviour to my children. Oh the delights of being human! Sounds like you can see the funny side – which is pretty much the only way to go.

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  2. What a tough time we are having. I have been known to throw the odd tantrum, I think it's quite normal when you're under huge stress. It's good for them to know life isn't always easy and they'll see you bounce back which shows them stresses are manageable, because they'll experience them in life too. My daughter (aged 7) has been known to tell me to calm down and to have an early night. It is nice to see her maternal side developing even if it means the roles have become reversed.

    I gave a talk at UNICEF UK today. I hope you don't mind but I mentioned your blog. I was telling them about the incredible talent and experience out there in the 'mummy blogging' world and thought of you. xx

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  3. cath c says:

    i do hope you heard it for what it is worth, which was a bit of gold…it seems so. hug them. especially that daisy. maybe go for a cup of tea with her if you can. i'm sure you are overwhelmed, but maybe just a quiet moment of you and your eldest girl would be just what you both need – a bit of undivided attention.

    i know when i am frazzed, my oldest and i can really 'chill' together without the littler ones around. of course, he's heading toward 16, but been a bit of an adult all along. maybe a bit like daisy. hugs to you for the holidays.

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  4. Foodie Mummy says:

    I can't count the times when Marie gave me some golden nuggets of wisdom just like Daisy. I too am known to throw the odd tantrum especially when I get overwhelmed and things don't go my way. It's jsut life!

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