Thursday, 2 August 2012

Do my kids need a mother?

Do my kids need a mother?
2 August 2012

Some days, I’m forced to ask myself a very tough question – “Do my kids actually really need a mother?”.  Am I not just surplus to requirements?  Occasionally I have a sort of surreal out-of-body experience.  Nah, not one of those astral-travelling type ones, it’s more of a “fly-on-the-wall” type of experience.  I’m assuming we’ve all had them.  If you stay quiet for long enough and listen, it’s truly amazing to hear what one’s kids say to each other.

They can come across all “caring” and “parental”, even “solicitous” towards each other.  But believe you me, it’s all a guise.  In reality, what they are doing is actively participating in an ancient custom and rite of passage called “yanking your brother or sister’s chain”.  And it’s all part of the natural fabric of family life.  I really feel for only children – as they never truly get to experience or partake in it.  It’s all about testing boundaries, making yourself heard, seeing how far you can go before you get walloped, making memories and gleefully annoying others.  If you’re lucky enough to come from a large family, you will be quite skilled in this gentle art form and of course, what safer place to stretch your wings, than in your family circle? 

The scary thing though, is literally “hearing your own voice” coming out of your children’s mouths.  This morning while the kids were having breakfast, Luke says to Amber “eat with your mouth closed”.  And then after breakfast, Cole says to Luke “brush your teeth, Luke” (which is actually quite rich coming from him).  Amber says to Cole “put your seatbelt on, Cole”.  Luke says to both of them “hurry up – you’re going to make us late”.  Amber says to Luke “jeez, Luke – don’t speak to me like that”.  Luke says to Cole “don’t forget your hockey stick”.  Amber says to Luke “pack your lunchbox in your school bag”.  Luke and Amber both say “Cole, calm down – concentrate”.  Cole says “Amber you forgot to hang your towel up”.  Amber says to Luke “help set the table”.  Cole says to Amber “it’s your turn to pour the water for all of us”.  Luke says to Amber “come and fetch your shoes – you left them in the bathroom”.  Luke says to Amber and Cole “help to carry the bags from the car”.  Amber says to Luke “it’s your turn to wash the dishes”.  Cole says “Amber please open the gate”.  Amber says to Cole “you forgot your tablet, quickly come and have it”.  Luke says to Cole “you left your reading book inside”.  Luke – “stop it!”.  Amber – “stop it!”.  Cole – “stop it!”.  It’s both amazing and exhausting just listening to them! 

So, I ask you this – what is my purpose?  If they're doing such an awesome job of parenting each other, am I still needed in this equation? 

And after given it some thought, these are the conclusions, that I have come to:  I get to drive them around.  I get to pay for loads of stuff.  I get to feed them.  I get to clothe them.  I get to supervise them.  I get to do homework and study for tests with them.  I get to scream alongside the sports field at matches.  I get to sit in the front row at concerts.  I get to listen through hours of instrument practicing.  I get to clap loudly at Choir, Singing, Piano and Poetry Eisteddfods.  I get awesome, unique, love-filled homemade cards for Mother’s Day.  I get the occasional meal lovingly prepared by them (a while ago Cole made me a “winning” sandwich.  It comprised of the dry crust from the bread (wrong side up), no margarine or butter, two limp lettuce leaves (unwashed) and five sad cherry tomatoes cut in half.  Yummy!!!).  I get to clean muddy shoes and dirty clothes.  I get to spend most of my waking hours in a car.  I get to sell raffle tickets.  I get to help at tuck shops on Saturday mornings when they’ve got sport on at school.  I get to make pancakes, flap jacks and waffles.  I get to arrange birthday parties.  I get to lie in bed and worry at night, that I’m not doing enough, caring enough, thoughtful enough, strict enough, lenient enough, fun enough, consistent enough and just plain all-round-better-enough.  I get to do kiddies dentist appointments and doctor’s visits – holding hands real tight.  I get to give medicine to sick children and play nurse.  I get to help at Cake Sales and send cupcakes to school.  I get to stand in the rain next to sports fields.  I get sunburnt next to the pool at swimming gala’s.  I get to be a timekeeper at sporting events.  I get to do make-up and hair at school and dancing concerts.  I get to be called "Mommy".  I get to play hockey and cricket in the back garden and shoot balls through a hoop.  I get to try and finally perfect my hula-hooping skills.  I get to share a bathroom, because somehow they always want to be in the one that I'm in.  I get loads of toothbrushes in the toothbrush holder.  I get to cover books.  I get to read stories.  I get to watch first love.  I get to watch disappointments.  I get to tell them that I'm cold and that they should put a sweater on.  I get to soothe.  I get to bolster ego’s.  I get to praise.  I get to burst with pride.  I get to laugh with joy.  I get my heart to melt.  I get to listen to music I really don’t like.  I get to have cartoon’s on the TV.  I get little clothes on the washing line.  I get to listen to orals.  I get to sign tests and homework.  I get to run bubblebaths.  I get to meet teachers.  I get to go to school meetings.  I get to pack school lunches.  I get to play “I spy with my little eye”.  I get to go on school outings.  I get called into the principal’s office – luckily only once, but it was once too often.  I get to have children’s friends in my life.  I get sleepovers – where they don’t actually sleep.  I get to make special meals.  I get to stand up for my kids.  I get to take down a bully as well as a bully’s mom.  I get to meet lots of other moms, going on the same journey as me.  I get to be married to a father.  I get to make my mom a granny.  I get thoughtful hand crafted gifts.  I get to go on swings, see-saw's and roundabouts.  I get to be broke.  I get to never wear white clothes.  I get glitter on everything.  I get lip balms that have been turned all the way to the top and half eaten off.  I get to play with them in blanket forts with torches.  I get to share.  I get to run around at the last minute, helping with school projects.  I get the best hugs in the world.  I get to make and monitor star charts.  I get to pointlessly count how long they can hold their breath under water in the pool.  I get to watch them do endless bomb drops into the pool.  I get to do lift clubs.  I get to nick some of their sweets when they’re not looking.  I get to play hopscotch, hide-and-seek, Monopoly (it should however be called Monotony - it simply takes forever), go-catch-a-fish, rummy, swingbat, snap, skipping ropes and jump on a trampoline.  I get to be excited with them over stuff that only they find exciting.  I get handpicked flowers.  I get artwork on my fridge.  I get mad dashing about looking for nail polish remover before school in the morning.  I get to learn how to tie shoe laces and do buttons and zips.  I get grubby hands on my couches and dirty feet in my bed.  I get to help catch a fish and teach how to fly a kite.  I get to try and bake birthday cakes.  I get to colour in.  I get to take loads of photo’s – not that my models are always willing, mind you.  I get to run along holding a bicycle for dear life while one of my kids are learning to ride their bike.  I get hand crafted gaudy beaded necklaces that I wear with pride.  I get to watch little shows that they put on for our entertainment.  I get to do cartwheels with them.  I get to do handstand competitions with them.  I get to watch kiddie’s movies with them.  I get to experience a hormonal and hairy teenager.  I get to do pets with them.  I get to eat Ice-Cream with them at the beach.  I get to make hot chocolate on cold winter’s days.  I get to have pyjama days – where no one gets dressed the whole day and we all just mooch around in our PJ’s.  I get to put plasters on cuts, bumps and bruises.  I get to search for Dummy's or Pacifier's at ungodly and godly hours of the day and night.  I get to have kids with communicable diseases like Chicken Pops (yes, I know it’s actually Chicken Pox, but that’s what they all called it).  I get to watch dress-ups.  I get to listen to best friends giggling.  I get to share my cell phone.  I get to share my computer.  I get (or more aptly don’t get) lost items of clothing.  I get toys everywhere.  I get to rush up to school because books or sporting gear got left behind at home.  I get to take splinters out of little fingers and feet.  I get to do school functions.  I get to look for lost balls in the garden.  I get love letters from my kids.  I get to look really thin (as in a stick figure thin) when they’re little and draw a picture of me – ever so flattering.  I get smudgy fingers on my spectacles.  I get scratches on cars and scribbles on walls.  I get wet towels on the floor.  I get awesome material for home movies.  I get lots of art work.  I get to cry.  I get to laugh.  And so the list goes on and on.

But, most of all, I get love.  I can’t imagine them finally growing up and not being at home anymore.  And I know, that I probably will end up even missing the daily bickering between the kids.  Hard to imagine now though.  If I look back on my own childhood, I remember my brother and sister and I also bickering and irritating each other all the time.  Yet, today we are all crazy about each other and spend as much time together as possible.  They’re such unique, fabulous, awesome people.  I tell my kids again and again, that they will eventually like each other.  I’m hoping and praying that this is indeed true and that they will have the same close bond with each other that I have with my brother and sister. 

And in the same way, that I am the lucky recipient of love from my kids, I give the love back to them a thousand fold.  No, a million fold.  Okay, who am I kidding – to infinity and beyond – that’s how much.  And for that, they very, very much need their mother.  Which hopefully means that I’m ‘gainfully’ employed as their mother forever – no pay required. 


  1. Wonderful Helene - not many mothers do for their children what you do for yours. They are very lucky - and I think they know it. And you really do seem to enjoy it!

  2. I have noticed that the kids are reaaaaal keen for Cole to have his tablet! You're not jiving!
    Your children are actually exceptionally polite to each other - wonder where they learnt that?

  3. Thank you for this delightful peek into your family life and making us all feel a bit more normal for asking the occasional odd question. You are wonderful mother and can teach us all a thing or two, raising 3 kids and still keeping your sense of humour :) Francesca is barely 19 months and I already start feeling obsolete - she loves her new-found independence...well actually demands it (apart from feeding and changing nappies of course )
    Send them our love and keep the tales coming!

  4. you are a star mommy!!!! they are lucky to have you and you inspire the rest of us to be better!