Here's a Mother's Day challenge for you...

Mum-of-four Eimear Hutchinson reflects on motherhood, ahead of Mother’s Day this Sunday March 27 - and has a challenge for other mums...
Here's a Mother's Day challenge for you...

Eimear has a challenge for you, ahead of Mother’s Day - over a cup of tea or coffee have a think about the word that sums up motherhood for you. Picture: Stock

I LOVE Mother’s Day. I know, I know, maybe it’s cliched to buy into such a Hallmark holiday but I think we all love a day or two throughout the year that breaks from the norm.

If nothing else, we take the opportunity to celebrate mothers because, Lord knows, it’s a tricky role, we make sure that they know we appreciate them and that they are special. I suppose ordinarily that is something we should do every day of the year, but life is busy and the days fly by.

I also think, given the times that are in it, Mother’s Day strikes harder this year when we think about the many Ukrainian mothers who have to endure such horrors and how they have been thrust into a position where they have to shield their children from the atrocities caused by war.

We have all seen imagery emerge from Ukraine that will be embedded in our memories for a long time. Many of us are facing fears ourselves because of the crisis with the cost of fuel and food rising, just when we thought we might get a break from worry after Covid.

I love writing about the different stages of motherhood or parenting because, honestly, the whole experience is a journey I find fascinating. 

I like to stop and mull over the different phases; in some instances to laugh over them and in other instances to thank god a certain stage has passed.

We are certainly in the sweet spot of parenting, a crossroads where undoubtedly it is incredibly busy but the more complex emotions and hormones of the teenage years haven’t set in yet so there is still a lovely air of innocence in the house.

Comparing the stages is often fascinating. When the girls were younger and we were firmly embedded in the baby phase, it was busy and worrying but mentally so. I was constantly stressing about whether they were hot or cold, hungry or thirsty, tired or going through a milestone. I found that stage of parenting very isolating, you could survive away on your own at home, trudging through each day without the help of others. You might need help but not the sort you would find yourself calling on friends for – here, mind the baby while I have a shower or a cup of coffee in peace; you don’t do it unless you’re desperate.

You could go out and seek advice from friends but that is often more hassle than it is worth; when you’re tired lugging buggies, nappies, bottles and the constant attention a baby needs, it makes conversation with friends trying at the best of times.

Then they get older and it is still worrying and busy but more physically so. My parents came to look after the girls recently while we went away for a few days and previously the extent of direction I would have to give them was to write out the girls’ schedule for them to follow. Back then it mostly consisted of directions for feeding and sleeping - simple. The few days before I left this time though I had to sit down with an A4 sheet, each day was divided into sections for each child, I had to text so many friends to organise lifts to and from activities and lifts to parties. I had to organise gifts for said parties, and then there was the swimming gear, the soccer gear and the athletics gear.

So, physically, this stage is busier, running and racing to and from things, but the worry is less so because they can verbalise their feelings, wants and needs better than they could as babies. 

And this stage too, while busy, is not isolating, everyone rows in to help each other, and there is comradery in that which I find invigorating.

Now that we have established that motherhood is busy - I know, what a revelation! - I have a challenge for you, ahead of Mother’s Day, over a cup of tea or coffee have a think about the word that sums up motherhood for you.

It might be worry; it might be laughter, love or chaos. For me, grateful is the word that sums up being a mother. I am grateful for four healthy children, who are happy to run out the door to school but equally happy to come home. I am grateful we have a roof over our head that isn’t threatened by some outside force that no one can control. I am grateful for friends and family who support me in my journey through motherhood, who are there to have a glass of wine with and a chat, as much as they are there to help with the girls if I need it.

For all that, I am grateful.

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