What is a real mum? The internet can’t agree. The dictionaries are stumped. I have no idea what being a ‘real mum’ means and I certainly have no idea if I’m one.
Is it a permanent title bestowed upon you when your infant arrives in the world, something that happens to you in a flash? Or is it something more complicated that you grown into, earn even?
I suspect that all the ‘real mums’ are somewhere secret and fabulous with all the ‘real women’. Here’s a little insight into my internal monologue as I struggle to answer the question, ‘Am I a real mum yet?’
This is… This is… unexpected?
Great, terrifying, wonderful, a disaster, incredible, bewildering, vomit inducing, amazing, fantastic, an opportunity, the end?
Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes. Oh my goodness this is real. I mean it’s really real. Someone is in there. A very small someone who has changed everything forever.
I still feel the weight of responsibility but I also feel excited. There is so much on the horizon for us little friend. I’ve started a blog all about you, a mummy blog – does that make me a real mum?
I’ve told my family our news, I’ve told my colleagues. I’m having a dry Christmas and buying you lots of lovely presents. Distracting myself with preparations makes ‘the fear’ easier. I still think you’ll be a boy – silly me!
We went to a gig this month, partly to reassure ourselves that everything isn’t about to change I think. Do parents still get to go to gigs? Will we still be ‘us’ when we’re 3 and not 2?
We meet again tiny alien. You’re starting to make your presence known with lots of kicks and wriggles. Your Dad has spent a lot of time pouring over car seat reviews and touching my tummy when he thinks I’m asleep.
We’ve picked a pram & bought a lot of baby clothes – we’re on top of this. We’re shunning antenatal classes. We’ve said they’ll only make us worry about nothing but maybe it’s self-preservation.
There’s tonnes of time left. No need to panic.
Oops. An unscheduled arrival.
There was a rush of love, fear, responsibility. You’re so small, so fragile and unprepared. Are we still projecting? No, you really are too small. You’re not ready… We’ll make it work. You can do it. We can do it.
It’s all about the firsts. Your first car ride, bath, injection, day out. We’re overwhelmed but we’re doing it. All three of us are really doing it. Am I a real mum yet?
We’ve taken you on your first flight, you’ve had your first accidental bump on the head but we’re getting into the swing of things. I tried out a mums & tots but I don’t think I’ll go back. The other women all seem to know what they’re doing. They’re so at ease with each other and their babies, I feel like an imposter. I don’t know why they make me uncomfortable but I’m happier being on my own with you. Besides, you can smile now. You smile at me all day long.
You’re a sitting up, babbling big lump of a baby now. I’m becoming a professional bag packing, nappy changing, massage giving mum. You are a real baby so I must be a real mum…right?
We’ve moved to a new house in an old place. I have to start from scratch and try to meet some other mums. I can’t just stay at home with you all the time, you need stimulation. I’m going to try out some baby clubs but I’m so worried that it will be like before. What if I don’t fit in? All the other mums have been going to these for longer and they know each other already.
Sometimes I still feel like an imposter, like we’re playing at being a family. Don’t get me wrong we’re happy and we love you immensely! It’s not you baby, it’s me.
That being said going to baby club has paid off! I’ve met someone who works in our local Sure Start and she invited us along. We met loads of lovely parents and babies on our first day and we’re going 3 classes a week there. Hooray for mum friends!
Operation don’t-be-a-loser-mum is still going well. I’ve found a few like-minded parents locally and we’re still having a great time going to classes at the Sure Start centre. You’re becoming more of a little person everyday and you’re absolutely the most wonderful little friend I could ever wish for.
It’s funny, I think I’m finally growing into this and you, well you were ready from day 1.