Musings on Mothering

As some of you may know, underneath my heart-of-stone, gin-swilling exterior, I have decidedly hippyish, earth-mother type tendencies. I hardly ever make Belle have a bath and I breastfed her until she was two and a half! I know, shocking isn’t it? An ongoing supply of free nutrition that helps protect against infection, obesity and can raise your IQ? Whatever will nature think up next.

"Musings on Motherhood"I’m currently reading ‘Musing on Motherhood – About Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding: An Anthology of Art, Poetry and Prose’ – edited by Teika Bellamy – and it is absolutely fabulous. As it says on the tin, it’s a collection of writing and art from real mothers, talking about what it’s really like to be a mother – not just the practicalities of never being able to go to the toilet alone, but the emotions and feelings that swell up in you at the most unexpected of times and the amazing bond you form with your baby, even though they’re basically just a helpless ball of mess and screams.

Some of the poetry I had to sort of pretend to read, but that’s just because I’m a bit thick and don’t really understand poetry. Any mum though I’m sure could relate to this one by Marija Smits:

The Cold Cup of Tea

An already-cold cup of builder’s strength tea
Is sat by the sink, and saying to me:
‘I’m delicious, delightful, so drink me up do!’
But I’m knee-deep in nappies, and children, and poo;
So call me again when I’ve sorted this mess
And have time to relax, and unwind and de-stress…

*

Later, much later, when the kids are asleep,
In my nightie and slippers I quietly creep
To the kitchen, and there is that cold cup of tea,
Still delicious, still delightful, and still waiting for me…

….

What I love about Musings on Motherhood is that it gives you the opportunity to take a bit of time out from actually being a mother, and think about what it means – what is it that defines us as mothers, what are the shared experiences and emotions we all go through?

For me, it’s hard to pin down exactly what being a mother is all about. I became pregnant for the first time when I was 16, so hadn’t even really started to figure out what it meant to be a person, let alone a mother. My identity as a parent is so integral to who I am as an adult woman then, that I can’t even begin to separate out what it means. I have never been a grown-up and not been a mother, it is just who I am.

What does being a mother mean to you?

m4s0n501

11 comments on “Musings on Mothering

  1. Di says:

    Being a Mummy means everything to me.
    I now have three children (nicely spaced between 10 1/2 years and 18 months), am 46, and feel as if I am just getting into my stride!
    Why didn’t I get started sooner and have ten?!!

  2. fun, laughter, love, pride, trauma, anger, and memories both good and bad

  3. Gemma says:

    I’m 21 and have two under two, being a mummy is a massive part of who I am, I don’t remember who I was without them but I love who they have made me, it’s hard work as not a lot of people my age are in the same situation but I chose it and its the best thing that ever happened to me.

    • admin says:

      Good for you Gemma! I’m sure most mums would recognise that feeling of not remembering who you were before your children were born!

  4. […] (hurrah!) and two online recognitions of my poetry; one from Baby Wisdom, and one from the blogger Slummy single mummy (as part of her brilliant review of Musings on […]

  5. Teika says:

    Many thanks for taking the time to read the book. Love the review!

    What does motherhood mean to me? Gosh… so much. Dirty nappies, cold cups of tea, boundless love and lots of cuddles. Also, lots of breastfeeding, much inspiration from the craziness of everyday family life, and plenty of picking up of dirty socks!

  6. Guilty Mum says:

    I am emotional today so please forgive me. I love this review and I will be buying this book. It is just what I need to reconnect with all that I love about motherhood and to put aside the huge work stress and guilt I feel as I start maternity leave in 6 weeks.

    Becoming a mother has made me become the person I have always wanted to be. I am calmer, more loving more understanding and above all balanced than ever before. A make less bad decisions and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that I have been blessed with by nature. I am so happy to be a mother! x

  7. Lovely post – and fascinating comments too! Motherhood has been an extraordinary journey for me – and I think it’s a journey for all women to find other parts of themselves they didn’t know existed! As a once non-maternal, never-held-a-baby, busy, horse-loving girl I went to a fiercely devoted, children championing, home educating parent in a way that even surprised me! Now my two beauties are grown and flown to Uni and beyond and, as we have such a deep and delicious bond, I know that once a mother always a mother – even if not doing mothering things any more. The ironic thing is that after writing about education, I’m now writing about that very essence that makes mums mums! And champions they are too! Nice to connect. x

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