Sometimes I think I am perfectly ok with progressing through my Mothering journey as a Motherless Mother. Other days, like yesterday, & the day before, & the day before that, … I’m not.
I got mastitis again. My temps reached 40.5 degrees. I was shaking, & then dripping with sweat, & then shaking again. And it got to the point where I decided that the only way I could pull off the whole Mothering-with-mastitis caper was to just get down on the floor on my hands & knees, & crawl around in order to get to & from everything that I needed.
And it’s not that I’m usually a woe-is-me kinda girl, it’s just that I couldn’t help but think to myself, “why the FLIP am I crawling around my house with my two children. And my mastitis?!”. Do you wanna know why I was doing that? … because I’m a Motherless Mother, that’s why. And that’s not me stepping into woe-is-me territory, it’s just me stating the facts. I can assure you, it’s these kind of extreme situations that are the only situations where I would just about give anythingto have a Mum. Like, one of those good kind of Mums. The ones that some of my best friends have, who just drop everything when sh*t hits the fan. Like, … mastitis sh*t. And all other forms of parenting life sh*t.
Y’know? Like, there are good kind of Mum types out there who just don’t let their daughters crawl around their houses on their hands & knees with their raging fevers, & their Mastitis’. And look, I’ll be honest, … I had a bit of a cry yesterday (mastitis will do that to a woman), because every now & again I am just so acutely aware that I lucked the flip out when it came to Mums.
There was one point in my day where Frankie was sleeping, & Max was playing with play doh on the coffee table, so I crawled onto the couch & pulled a blanket over me, … & I closed my eyes. As soon as I closed my eyes, Max lost his three year old sh*t; “you can’t sleep during the day Mummy! You’re not allowed! You have to play with me!”. And look, he’s three, what could I even expect really? But I just wanted to cry. I felt exhausted, & sick, & unsupported, & unloved. And I know my son is just three years old, but I wished he could have just accepted that Mummy was sick. Really sick. And he would just have to do his own Play Doh thang for a measly twenty minutes or so.
I know, I know. Unrealistic expectations.
It’s not all doom & gloom. My husband has, as always, become my village. And my Mother’s group were incredible. But there’s something about being sick that makes you feel all child-like again, & so when you’re sick & you’re a Mother yourself? You just want Mama help. Good Mother help. Like, … pull-you-in-for-a-hug-until-you-cry-snotty-tears type Mother help. Your own Mum. Someone who gives a fu*k. About you. And your children. And who doesn’t want to see you crawling around the house with your fevers, whilst raising your children.
That kind of Mother. The kind of Mother I didn’t get. The kind that, no matter how hard I try to make friends who feel like family, are never going to replace that one I didn’t get. It’s just this … void, which will never be filled.
And it flipping hurts. More than I’ll ever be able to put into words, despite the countless ways I’ve tried to.
There was this moment yesterday, where I just knew this could never be my children. I would be so hurt to think of Frankie crawling around her house by herself with her mastitis, & her children. Christ, I would be equallyhurt if that was my daughter-in-law (Max’s wife). I just, … I had this moment where I realised I needed to have a ‘me day’ soon to sort things out like pap smears, & skin checks, & mammograms. Because the thought of my own children doing parenting as tough as Dave & I sometimes have to? Well, I’ve got to be honest, it flipping kills me.
I want my children to know I’m only a phone call away. And I want them to know I’d drop everything to help them. I want to be able to remember that the early parenting years are tough, & they will probably feel the need to call on me regularly. I want them to know I will always welcome them calling on me, & there will never be any associated guilt trips. I want them to be able to consider returning to work without worrying about day care waitlists, because I will be their day care option (if they want me to be). I want them to know that I can work in shifts to hold their reflux-y baby, should their babies be reflux-y. And I want them to know I can be on pram patrol should they need to try on clothes at the shops, or trolley patrol should they need to get a supermarket shop done with children. I can bounce their babies on my knee while they get their hair cut. And I can push them out the door for child free date nights, because I’ll tell them they need child free time. And they’ll be out on their dates, & they’ll think to themselves, ‘thank God we came. We really needed this!’.
I just don’t want them to know Motherless Mothering. Because it’s the one painful aspect of my Mothering journey. It’s a sad, & sometimes nauseating, & often stomach sinking, heart wrenching kind of … disappointment, really.
And I don’t want it for Max. And I certainly don’t want it for Frankie.