Just a Mum?

On Saturday my big kids are coming home for the Christmas holidays.

I will be able to fuss over them, feed them, nag them.

And I will feel whole again.

And no, I’m not a sad old bat for attaching such a sense of self to my children: they’re what I’ve done for almost 17 years. Children are all consuming. They permeate your very consciousness so that even when they aren’t there, they are. You never stop thinking about them. Worrying about them. Wondering how they are, who they’re with, what they’re doing and whether or not they’re brushing their teeth.

As much as I call myself a writer to pretend I do something useful (when usually, actually, it’s not at all) raising three children to be the best people I can is much more so.

Once, embarrassed by my world of nappies and feeding routines and whether or not I was getting enough sleep, I referred to myself, when asked, as ”just a mum”.

Just a mum?

No ”just” about the job.

I mightn’t always do it very well – truth be known often my mothering is fairly slipshod – but it’s an important job. If only to the three people I’m trying to mould into half decent grown ups.

So. Come Saturday it’s back to the day job, the real job, the one that counts.

The one – granted – I don’t get paid for.

But then writing is hardly lucrative either.

10 Responses to “Just a Mum?”

  1. whitworth Says:

    Dear “Mum”,

    I hope your children will someday understand and appreciate how much you love them…perhaps they already do! I’m 30 now (no kids of my own yet), and I tell my parents as often as I can how grateful I am for all they are and all they’ve done for me. Your post warmed my heart, and I hope I feel that way about being a mother someday!

    Merry Christmas!

  2. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you. I ought to tell my own mum as much more often too. So thanks for reminding me. Merry Christmas to you too.

  3. Potty Mummy Says:

    It takes time, doesn’t it, to get over the fact that you are a mum first and foremost and that everything else comes second? And it’s not helped by the fact that those who don’t yet have kids (i.e. me, 5 years ago) often have no concept of how all-consuming and difficult it can be. It certainly took me a while to deal with it, but your post summed it up perfectly.

  4. Stay at home dad Says:

    How well put. It sums me up perfectly too. If there are two occupations as frustrating/rewarding as childcare and writing I don’t know what they are!

  5. Kathleen Says:

    I have one child, he is 22 yoa and is coming home from his University this weekend. I’m giddy and am running around gearing up with baking and cleaning and presents for his visit. I don’t care how old they get its always the same. Have a good time with your children and Merry Christmas.

  6. guineapigmum Says:

    I’ve never understood people being glad when the holidays end and the children go back to school. And mine aren’t even away at boarding school.

  7. reluctantmemsahib Says:


    PM: yes, it does – take time – and then you ever wondered if there was ever anything before it: what you did all day before children? what absorbed you so entirely in the same way.

    SAHD: Thank you: yup: writing and childcare: maddening and enriching in equal measure.

    Kathleen: Thank you. And very happy christmas to you and yours too.

    GPM: no, nor me. When mine are at school – and I’m lucky to have Hat here then – but we all mope about a bit waiting for the house to fill up again.

  8. apoetonamotorcycle Says:

    Being a good parent is the most important position of influence in the world Memsahib. Souls last longer than, too often over-rated, fancy careers, and what you do as a Mum, whether good or bad, will echo into eternity. Investing yourself into your children often means walking by faith rather than sight! Keep the faith.

    Enjoy your brood, I’m sure they love you clucking over them when they’re back at the nest.

  9. Acumom Says:

    Dear Reluctant, I too have three children and have been a mum for 18 years. For the first couple of years I used to think that I was still the same me but with a baby. Now a few years on with the said three kids and having listened to Joseph Campbell’s fantastic Power of Myth I realize I am simply a husk after having children. But I am a happy husk. Myth and anthropology tell us that once you have children you cease to matter (in the same way). Our generation (40s) seem to think that we are still the ones in the limelight – how misguided we are.

  10. This Incongruous Life | Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] gap gouged of children leaving home even though you had insisted all along that you were a stayathomemum. As if the insistence might keep them loyally at your […]

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