I’m always moaning like a cranky old lady about how I have to get up off my chair and look after my child, but really, being a mother is the business. Out of all the jobs I’ve had – cashier at Gateway supermarket earning £1.33 an hour, washerer upper at a local pub, record shop delinquent, grimacing barista, freelance word wrangler – being a mother is the most rewarding.
Well, OK, most of the jobs I’ve had were quite rubbish, but it’s true. And I’m not even drunk! (Well, only a little bit.) Here’s why mothers rule, and why we should give ourselves a massive pat on the back…
1. You are officially hard as nails
Remember when you used to be squeamish at the sight of blood? Remember when you couldn’t imagine being responsible for someone else? Now you’ve squeezed the equivalent of a medium-sized speedboat out of your chuff, nothing will ever phase you again. You stride like a colossus through the supermarket, with a kid on your hip, taking care of business. You can mop up any disgusting liquids and smegma that comes your way, deal with your child’s fears and tantrums, and still whip up something edible for dinner. You are a BOSS.
2. You have massive boobs
Oh yeah. Were talkin’ MEGA NORKS. Well, until you stop breastfeeding and they turn into two deflated whoopie cushions.
3. Somebody love you
Maybe you have terrible shortcomings, a nose like a mottled carrot and a criminal record, but it doesn’t matter - your kid loves you. Really loves you. That kid looks at you with the clear, innocent, loving eyes of a cherub, and accepts you without judgment or conditions. (Well, until they learn to talk). Best feeling in the world. *blub*
4. You're resourceful
Before children, I wouldn’t have known what to do in a crisis. But now, I can figure out a way round most things. If you don’t have any tissues, use your sleeve. If your kid is bored, make a hat out of a leaflet (or rustle up an origami donkey, or put it over your face and pretend to be asleep). If there’s no food in the house, I don’t whine and go to a restaurant. Instead I do some quick calculations and rustle up a nutritious plate of toast crumbs with freezer ice. As a mother, you work with what you’ve got, and you usually end up impressing yourself with your Girl Guide-style resourcefulness.
5. You embrace adventure
Before children, you might have skydived out of a plane or backpacked through the Andes. But NONE of that is as courageous as going on a train or plane journey with a 2 year old. Talk about a white knuckle ride.
6. You're great at your job
Motherhood focuses the mind and helps you figure out what’s important, which is great skill to have in the workplace. You also don’t take no crap from nobody, which is good because people will be too scared to tell you that you’ve got a huge stain on your left boob. So whether you’re dealing with Maureen in accounts and her bunions, or working with an important client, you’re more likely to get stuff done. Also, going to work is a lovely rest from the insanity at home.
7. You have civic pride
Before children, you might have tutted at street crime, littering or dog poo, but you probably didn’t feel compelled to do anything about it. Now it makes you INCANDESCENT WITH RAGE. When you have kids, you start looking outwards and thinking about what you can do to improve your community. That’s because it’s your job to teach them to be good people and it’s hard when the world is full of so many absolute knob-ends dropping Subway wrappers into the flower beds. So you get angry, and you petition, and you have the balls to tell people off for being rude, because you are hard as nails (see number 1).
8. You're more organised
If you have to get sprogs up and dressed for nursery in the morning, you need military precision. You have to remember to make sure pants are clean, lunches are packed, shoes are on, teeth are brushed and that you arrive in one piece at 9am sharp. Oh yes, and on top of that you have to go to work and operate as a fully functioning human being for 8 hours before it starts all over again. Never in the field of human conflict has so much been done by one Mum.
9. You're a social whirlwind
All those mother and baby groups, awkward encounters during story time in the library, and accumulated hours at the school gates have left you able to make small talk with anyone. Now you’re a mum, you meet and greet more people in a day than The Queen after 40 cups of Typhoo.
10. You're still you
You might spend all your time wiping up after little critters and being used as their personal sounding board/punchbag/bouncy castle, but you’re still a complex, clever, funny individual with experience, opinions and ideas. HURRAY FOR YOU. Now have a glass of wine and let someone else do the tidying up for a change…