"What Do You Think Of Being A Mum?"

Mother’s Day in Norway is celebrated in February. In the UK it’s the fourth Sunday in lent. In Mongolia, it’s in June, and in Russia it’s in November. Indonesian mothers have to wait until December. Mother’s Day in Qatar this year fell on a Thursday in March, I seem to remember something coming home from school from one of the little travellers, but Thursday is the end of our week and in the midst of lunch boxes being emptied from backpacks and the arrival of the weekend – we may have missed it.

Mother’s Day in Australia is tomorrow, a Sunday. For Aussie mothers in Qatar this means a school day, a work day, an everyday day. Which is why I woke up this morning and was told by the third little traveller “Stay right there, Dad’s at the shops, we’re working on something. It’s a MDBS.” My Mothers Day Breakfast Surprise had just became a Mothers Day Breakfast.

I stayed upstairs for as long as humanly possible and when the fourth little traveller arrived with a latte from the store I figured it was safe to come down.

Not yet! You’re not meant to be here yet!

A girlfriend from the States posted a picture of her Mother’s Day breakfast in bed, it looked delicious. She had fresh fruits and yoghurt with a cup of tea. My girlfriend looks fabulous in a bikini.

My breakfast arrived.

You know the saying “you are what you eat”. Imagine that sausage squashed into a bikini.

There was more.

Breakfast conversation turned to holiday destinations, favourite food memories, and how we were going to get the enormous knot out of the second little traveller’s hair. When we were finished and everyone was packing the dishwasher, it was just the third little traveller and I. The guy with all the questions.

“How long have you been a Mum for?”

“Nearly thirteen years” I said with dismay.

“What do you think of being a Mum? Are you amazed you’ve got so many kids? Did you think you’d have this many kids?”

I told him I loved it. I told him I loved being his mother because he was beautiful and funny and kind. That’s what mothers say, particularly when they’re looking into the eyes of their child and their child has made them breakfast.

I didn’t tell him that some days being a mother sucks, that some days I’d like to be an Aunt or a Grandmother or just a really good family friend. I didn’t say that when we had four children I hadn’t considered the need for two taxis, and how many Christmas presents would have to fit in the back of the hire car to get to Granny’s house. I didn’t say that on a personal level parts of my body were unrecognizable, and that there had been days where I was so tired I couldn’t remember my own birth date. I didn’t tell him that my own children have asked perhaps the most funny yet cruelest questions.

Why don’t your boobs stay up like Barbie’s?
Why do your arms wobble?
Look at how I can make your arms wobble.
Your teeth don’t look white to me, they look more, hmmm, yellow?
How come you have wrinkles?

I didn’t tell him that when I’m mid sentence and he accidentally jumps on my foot and forgets to say sorry, or throws his backpack in my general direction without stopping to say hi, or just blatantly interrupts to demand my attention – that I don’t really dig being a mother. That when they turn their nose up at dinner or complain about the latest trip to the beach, or the day that was “boring”, that they suck the last iota of joy out of my motherly existence.

I didn’t say any of that, because of all the things I’ve been given – motherhood is my guiltiest pleasure. While some of us received it as a surprise gift, others lined up at the sales hoping to grab a bargain – some missed out completely. Again and again, until they gave up trying.

We can ask for support, write painful anecdotes and share war wounds, but we all know the same thing. The moment of motherhood is the internal gasp, the switch that is flicked that immediately changes everything.

“What do you think of being a Mum?”

I think it’s nothing like I imagined, and better than anything I’d perceived.

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