Not just a mummy

“I’m just a mummy”. Four words that can slip all too easily off the tongue. Four slightly apologetic words. Four words that diminish that all-important role of raising your child. Why is it that being a mummy is so often seen as such a negative thing? Being tutted at as you try to manoeuvre a buggy through a narrow aisle in a shop or getting frosty looks when eating out with small children because for some reason they haven’t learned that they should be seen and not heard – there are times when being a mummy can feel very much like you are a second-class citizen.

 

Becoming a mummy is an amazing experience. I still remember the euphoria I felt after giving birth to my first child.  The sense of wonder and awe that I had grown this beautiful little person, birthed her and was her mummy. It felt like the world’s greatest achievement. I was wasn’t just a mummy, I was a superwoman.

Not just a mummy - why I'm a supermummy and so are you - Little Hearts, Big Love

And yet somehow as the challenges of motherhood took their toll, that feeling of awesomeness slipped away and was replaced by a feeling of inadequacy. I wasn’t a superwoman anymore, I was just exhausted, getting through the days as best I could. I became “just a mummy”, doubting whether I was even doing a good enough job.

 

Inadequacy is a feeling many of us struggle with. Being a mummy is hard work – the most rewarding work in the world, but incredibly exhausting and challenging. The isolation of being a stay-at-home mum – “just a mummy” – with the implication that you are not making enough of a contribution to society; the guilt that comes with being a working mum – guilt for not always being able to be there for your children enough and guilt for letting the side down at work when a sick child means having to take a day off. Whether we stay at home or go to work though, we are all mothers, doing the best we can.

 

Motherhood is a joy and a privilege. It is overwhelming, exhausting and sometimes intensely painful. It is beautiful and terrifying, requiring strength, sacrifice and more love than you ever dreamed possible. Bringing up a little one is the most important job in the world. A job with demanding bosses, long hours and very little thanks, paid in love, hugs and sticky kisses. A job that requires us to be more than we thought we could be.

 

I am more than just a mummy. I am a cook, cleaner, teacher, referee, mediator, taxi driver, magician and children’s entertainer all rolled in to one. I keep track of the family calendar, juggling appointments, playdates and other important events in my head. I am constantly multi-tasking, making one pair of hands do the work of several. I can detect a full nappy at twenty paces, stop a toddler whine in its tracks with a single look (sometimes!) and stop tears with just a kiss.  In my children’s eyes I am the best thing since sliced bread, the one who can make everything better just by being there.  I am not perfect, nor do I need to be. As long as my children are fed and clothed, loved and happy, I’m doing a good job.

 

I’m not just a mummy. I’m a Supermummy and so are you.

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32 thoughts on “Not just a mummy

  1. Found myself nodding along to all of this – so easy to get caught up in the guilt and feeling inadequate, when there’s so much else going on / to juggle. Great post from one super mummy to another!

    1. Thank you Kate – always good to keep reminding ourselves we’re doing a good job and not to focus on mummy guilt

    1. Thanks Caroline – I find I have to stop myself saying those words sometimes – you’re right they do roll so easily off the tongue at times.

  2. Another brilliant post Louise! We’re all super mummy’s, doing our very best, often under seriously challenging circumstances… Never ever ‘just’ a mummy #brilliantblogposts

  3. Louise, I think you’ve summed up how many of us feel in our role as a mother. It’s easy to succumb to the feelings of inadequacy but we must keep reminding ourselves of the good job we all do! #PoCoLo

  4. It’s not easy, but I’m so proud of being a mom. You’re right, we should always remember this.

  5. I think that’s so very true. At the moment I’m ‘just’ a mummy because I’m on mat leave but there’s no just about it. It goes hand in had with the whole full time/part time mummy thing; no one is less than a full time mummy, it’s just that some people have jobs on top – you don’t stop being a mummy at the door of nursery!

  6. Oh I love this and totally agree.

    When you become a mum it is amazing but of course the books don’t tell you what the job description really is and as for the conditions and pay.

    I wouldn’t be anything other than a mummy to my two little boys and however tired I am at the end of the day nothing beats kissing their little foreheads and listening to their heavy breathing knowing they are all mine.

    Nat x

    1. Thank you – yes, I think that guilt is always there somwhere isn’t it? Lovely to link up again 🙂

  7. I can relate to everything you have said here…you’ve summed up motherhood perfectly. I have found myself referring to myself as ‘just a mum’.. it’s awful that we do this, we are all amazing and should never think any different. Great post 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks Wendy – it is so easy for those words to just slip out isn’t it? I still find myself doing it even after reminding myself of all the reasons why I am not just a mummy!

  8. What a lovely, positive post! When I was younger I used to find being a mummy a bit of a slog, but as I’ve got older and had the experiences I have – losing my eldest child being key – I now appreciate the moments I might have moaned about before. Only this morning my baby threw a ball at me and knocked his Weetabix bowl out of my hands – ahh! It’s like cement when it sets! But I laughed it off… and so did he 🙂
    A lovely blog that I found thanks to MummyTries x

    1. Thank you – I am so sorry that you lost your eldest child and can imagine that your experiences make you appreciate the moments. Weetabix landing on the floor is not fun but glad you managed to laugh it off x

  9. You know, I haven’t ever “just a mummy” (or “just a mom”) in the US. I have heard people say, “I don’t work”, which is equally frustrating and equates to what you’re saying. One thing I noticed out and about with my nephew in London is how much less accommodating things are there of children. Here in suburban Texas, USA, children are welcome nearly everywhere. Mothers are certainly under-appreciated, but perhaps not to the extent that is true in the UK.

    Thanks for pointing out what valuable work we’re doing. It matters!

    Thank you, too, for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday.

    1. Oh I can see how “I don’t work” is equally frustrating – it definitely amounts to the same kind of thing. Glad that children are welcomed nearly everywhere in suburban Texas – I get so frustrated when there is so little accomodation made for children in some places. Lovely to link up to #twinklytuesday again 🙂

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