Before I became a Mammy, I never really understood what being a Mammy meant. Honestly, how can we? We grow up watching our own Mammy’s making it look so easy and I guess we just think it all clicks into place the minute we give birth.
7 months on (who am I kidding?) – 10 years on and I just don’t think that is how it works.
Yes, some of it is natural, but a whole lot more of it is trial and error and I wish someone had told me that from the beginning. Maybe I would have cried less tears and felt a lot less guilt.
One thing we don’t have to learn as Mammy’s is how to love… That is one gift that is just instilled into us. A love that is impossible to explain!
I will never forget the time I was playing netball at a school tournament, I was around 10 years old at the time. It was cold and really early hours of the morning, my own Mam had worked a night shift and still managed to come home, get me organized and put on a ‘you got this face!’ Baring in mind that she had not been to sleep and it was pouring down with rain and so cold. That kind of cold that your face feel’s like it has been burnt.
I’m sure she never gave it a second thought and has maybe even forgotten, but the memory has stuck with me 24 years on. Looking back she could have easily gone for a snooze in the car or left me with one of the other Mam’s and gone home to sleep. I imagine she probably had to go back to work that evening but nothing was going to stop her from being there. Nothing was going to keep her from cheering me on.
Did she always do everything right? No, of course not. We all get it wrong and I’m sure there were dance recitals, parent meetings and parties that she would have missed out on. The point is that when I think back on my childhood, the moments I remember are ones like this. I remember her being there, cheering us on no matter what it was. Do we have photos of these moments? Not really. Any photos she did take, we were all missing heads and limbs anyway – Far from Insta Perfect!
The moments were what was important. The moments are the memories that stuck.
Pinterest birthday parties and all of the things we think make us good Mammy’s? They don’t amount to much in the long run. Gorgeous for photos – Yes.
Ultimately, it is us Mammy’s doing it for ‘The Gram’ or competing with our Mammy pals. I guarantee our little ones would much prefer a Mammy who is less worried about things being perfect. All they want is a Mammy in the moment.
It’s the hugs. It is knowing when to save the day and when to let them do things in their own time and in their own way. It is the one on one chats, or just taking the time to really listen. It is showing up when it really matters and sometimes even when it really doesn’t. It is believing in them and loving them even when they get it all wrong.
When they are parents themselves those are the things they will remember. Those are the things that will matter. They need to know that we didn’t have to learn how to do them. We just did them because that’s what Mammy’s do.
The next time you beat yourself up because you yelled, made a mistake or forgot something… Stop! Then go do something with them that is unforgettable.
Free unforgettable moments like giving them a hug or take time out and listen to them talk about something they love, whether you are interested or not.
Just be there.
In that moment.
Nobody can get everything right all the time and we certainly shouldn’t stress ourselves out by attempting to, but as long as we get a little of it right some of the time… that is what they will remember.