Polly Gillespie reminisces on the wild ride of motherhood – and says here’s to you!

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1 January 1970

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Polly Gillespie says “Happy mother’s daze, everyone! Good on you, Mum”. She salutes all the mothers who work so hard.

Mother’s Day. A time we tell our mums, or rather show our mums, how much we recognise their selfless sacrifice and undying loyalty and love.

We honour the mothers who stayed at home, who worked, who struggled on their own. We tip our hats, filled to the brim with respect, to the mothers who brought up other people’s children, and those who died too soon. We show special love to the women who tried so desperately to have babies, but lost so many along the way. We love and honour all of these mothers.

I want to pat myself on the back with one hand in an oven glove, and the other with a wipie covered in the muck from a child’s sticky little face.

Through most of my years as a mother I’ve noticed that there’s been no occasion where I could ever expect to wear a crisp white shirt for one whole day. The very idea of wearing white jeans makes me grimace. I never dared to even fancy buying a pair. I know they sell them. God knows there must be a trick to it, but I can guarantee the trick doesn’t involve cooking, cleaning, children, pets or leaving the house without Glad Wrap around each trouser leg.

So here we go. Here’s to the mothers who’ve rarely worn anything white without finding themselves in a bathroom trying to sponge off spilled something-or-other with a paper towel, hand soap and a precarious limbo manoeuvre under a hand dryer.

Here’s to the mothers who’ve done the guilt dance at the supermarket, leaving several children in the car while dashing in for a couple of items. The dance that involves leaving the eight-year-old in charge, starting to run, then stopping, feeling guilty, running back to the car after deciding it was highly illegal and neglectful, then once at the car realising that removing the whole shambolic brood was going to be impossible, then running again, only to turn again, swear, get back in the car and say, “Damn it, I’ll get the milk later.”

Here’s to the mums who have driven kids to swimming lessons and sat breathing in clouds of warm chlorine for an hour while trying to conduct business calls and simultaneously being splashed by overzealous young learner swimmers.

Here’s to the mums who have had so little sleep that the only option was to lock themselves in the ensuite, hide in the pantry or sit on the back step with a coffee just to have a tiny weep.

Here’s to the mums who have had to stay strong when relationships have fallen apart.

Here’s to the mums who have had to stay strong when relationships have fallen apart. Who may have wanted to tell the kids their father was a no-good prick, but instead said, “Oh, Daddy will be so looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!” whilst praying to God he’d show up this time.

Here’s to the mums who cooked great dinners with little money, and when there wasn’t enough, simply went without, declaring, “I’m just not hungry. I ate earlier,” as their tummies rumbled.

Here’s to the mums who sat through endless assemblies where, despite their children being perfect, they knew no prizes were coming for their kids, but they watched every other student in Mr Brown’s class walk away with their arms full of trophies.

Here’s to all of us who tried our best, and still do, and often come up short. Who lie in bed and worry about our kids even when they’re young adults. Who hope they’ll get even a card, but know the days of tea and toast on that Sunday morning won’t arrive, as the teens won’t be out of bed till noon.

We love our children, and no pair of perfect white jeans or a spotless cream-coloured couch would ever make up for the emotional and often frantic ride it is. Good on you, Mum. It’s not easy, but we knew it never would be, right?

I see you, I feel you, and Lord knows I laugh and cry with you.

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