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Monday Moment: Mumma said…

Emma Grey

Mumma said there’d be days like this…

On Mother’s Day, I spent three hours in Accident & Emergency with my 14-year-old, having x-rays on a suspected broken arm. From there, we went to the warehouse to pick up 3,000 pamphlets that she was due to fold and deliver that afternoon, which of course she couldn’t due to her injury and the rain, so we’ll sort that out over the next few days.

We came home, and my other daughter was about 12 hours into a 14-hour specialist maths assignment — the likes of which I’ve never encountered in my entire education. She hadn’t left her bedroom all weekend, other than when I dragged her to Pitch Perfect 2 as an escape. Then my four-year-old said ‘Mummy – would you like to wrap up your present?’

He meant the pair of Wonder Woman pyjamas I’d bought from K-mart the day before. The gift I’d actually requested for Mother’s Day was something he couldn’t see—a donation to the Send Hope appeal (for emergency obstetric support in Vanuatu).

He then had some sort of tantrum over the exercise bike which, truth be told, began at my sister’s place during afternoon tea with mum, where he ripped a door off its hinges and was basically rude, cranky and badly mannered the entire time.

Needless to say, my day resembled the opposite of the expectation, particularly if I went by the myriad images in the piles of pamphlets that have been clogging our house all week, depicting smiling mums—perfect hair, sparkling eyes, delightful children…

On the surface of it, my experience was not glossy-brochure beautiful. You really had to dig around in it, searching for the good stuff. And I found some…

  • Gorgeous conversations with my daughter while waiting in casualty
  • The plastic necklace my son made at childcare
  • Out-loud laughing during Pitch Perfect — maths assignment temporarily forgotten (thank you Rebel Wilson!)
  • My sister’s coconut choc mud cake
  • The way my brother-in-law gave some much-needed advice to my 16 year-old about Year 11 and 12
  • Reminiscing at old photos
  • The delicious dinner my husband made

It would have been so easy to descend into self-pity and write the day off and feel de-valued: (“It’s MOTHER’S DAY! A day for ME!”), except that I have friends who were avoiding their Facebook feeds because seeing images of happy mums was too painful. I have other friends for whom this Mother’s Day was the first without their mums, or possibly the last with their families intact.

At the end of the day, I’m grateful to have children to nurture when they’re sick or sore or stressed out by complex calculus. I’d love not to have to deal with poor behaviour from a pre-schooler, but understand it’s part of the gig. I’m immensely glad to still have a mum, particularly when she’s turning 83 later this month, and despite the challenges brought by her being that age.

But I still think I’ll book in for a massage soon… 😉

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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