10 May 2024

Kids, thanks for making me a mum - now please give me some space this Mother's Day

| Claire Fenwicke
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woman with two children

While family outings are a lot of fun, I’d also love some time to myself this Mother’s Day. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This has been written with some tongue-in-cheek humour, but we wanted to also acknowledge those who find Mother’s Day difficult – those who have lost mums, those who have difficult relationships with their mothers or children, those who are trying to become mums and those who cannot become mums.

I love Mother’s Day, the pasta necklaces, sticky breakfast in bed and ‘love cards’ (as my daughter calls them).

So, my darlings, thank you for making me a mother – now GTF out of my house and let me pretend I’m not one for a little bit.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about being a parent: it’s something I absolutely adore and at the same time something that I feel has both added to and taken away from my identity.

When I was first on maternity leave I was painfully aware that all I could talk about were my children. I had nothing else filling up my days, wasn’t (really) engaging in the outside world and felt like I was, quite frankly, boring.

Going back to work, I reclaimed a part of myself but it had been changed. Yes I was a fellow worker, but a fellow worker-with-children. I had to take a lot more sick and caring days, I needed to leave early or arrive late – my work identity was entangled with my parenting identity.

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Now that my kids are almost four (and I’m pregnant again), I’ve been reflecting on who I am outside of motherhood and my job.

Unfortunately, I feel like there’s not a lot.

I used to play sport, take part in amateur theatre, attend movies and shows, go on hikes and camping, read and read and read.

I do none of that anymore.

Points are made on social media that male partners (in heterosexual relationships) tend to have hobbies and interests that take them away from the house – hours of golf, cricket, fishing, even yard work is something they can do on their own.

Women tend to have hobbies in the home that can easily be put aside to continue home and caring duties – knitting, painting, baking, writing, gardening.

This Mother’s Day, I want to try and spend time rediscovering what I actually like doing and how that could fit with where my life is now.

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I’m sure if you look around the streets on Mother’s Day, you’ll notice a lot of partners (usually fathers) with droves of kids and no mother in sight.

While my husband loves doing something with the family on Father’s Day – after all they’re the reason he’s a father – lots of mums seem to be wanting a break.

Is it so bad that we take some time out and reflect on both who we are now and what we’d like to change?

I’d like to challenge all mums this Mother’s Day to ask themselves those questions, and see if they’d like to reclaim some of the person they once were.

Ask someone to get the kids out of the house (for an extended period of time), don’t do any housework, and take the time out not just for a hot cup of tea and a book, but to look at how you’d like to reclaim a part of yourself outside of motherhood.

And if you’ve opened a pair of fluffy slippers or a face mask for Mother’s Day, all the better.

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.

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