I never really imagined being a Mother. As a girl growing up, I can’t remember ever having had that thought in my mind. It wasn’t on my radar.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with MS in 1994 that I had to ask the question, ‘What about kids?’ Thankfully, my fears were allayed when I was told there was no reason why I couldn’t or shouldn’t have children.
So, fast forward 25 years and here I am with two wonderful boys, 15 and 13 and Mother’s Day 2019 is just around the corner. Shelves with gift suggestions are neatly styled and stocked with goodies for ‘that special day’. Grand displays of floral-designed cards suggest I am a ‘Wonderful Mum’, ‘A Mum in a Million’ or, could I actually be ‘THE World’s Best Mum EVER’?
Well, on the one side, I’m not really ‘a card person’. And I am hugely cynical about the massive marketing and emotional blackmail involved in all these ‘significant’ dates in the calendar. But once a year, it is good for families to take stock of all the things that their Mums do. And Mums do do a lot. Having said that, I don’t think Mums keep a record, a tally of their daily chores because that’s what we signed up to. That was the deal.
Occasionally I acknowledge the fact that having MS has made my job as a mum more challenging. Mums with MS still have to do everything that other Mum’s without MS do. We still have to do shopping, washing, cooking, and homework, tend to wounds, allay fears and wipe away tears. Be up to speed on training schedules, matches and play dates. Keep a house. Not to mention know where the other football sock or gum shield or left shoe is! It’s exhausting on top of exhaustion. Thinking about it now, no wonder I have brain fog!
And as a Mum with MS I can’t help but judge myself for my failings. I get frustrated at the fact that my kids sometimes miss out on things because I can’t do them or take them so there can be a huge reliance on partners, friends and family to fill in the gaps. I am lucky to have that support around me. My kids have grown up with these limitations but I hope they know that as their Mum I have always tried to do my best for them.
So, on that note, I will accept the flowery card for the afternoons I tried to play ball in the garden with my son and fell over in the flowerbeds.
I will accept the breakfast in bed for the nights I tended to my sick child when the fatigue was like a corn mill bearing down on top of me.
And I will gladly sit back and read the Sunday paper for the mornings I stared up the staircase with a laundry basket in my hand feeling like I was about to attempt Everest.
But I also acknowledge the greatest gift of all for me on Sunday 31st March is that I am blessed to be a Mum.