In honour of Galentine’s Day, a day to celebrate and appreciate all the women who inspire you, I’m going to tell you about my mum. I think there needs to be a lot more days like today, women supporting women is something I am totally on board with and it needs to happen more.
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”.
I don’t have a whole bunch of female friends, just one or two who I know I can always rely on if I need them. And that’s how I like it. I’m bad enough at sticking to plans with a couple of friends, if I had a whole group I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with meeting up with them all!
My mum though is definitely my bestest girlfriend. I think I didn’t realise how bloody strong she was until I became a mum myself. Going through pregnancy is hard enough but then you’ve got birth, recovery, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, weaning, baby proofing and worrying…the endless worrying. And even after you’ve gotten through the newborn worries, there’s baby worries, toddler worries and I know for a fact that I’ll carry on worrying about my boys (and any other children we have) until the day I have. That’s just one of the burdens of being a parent.
I’m lucky that I’ve got a supporting partner in Gareth. If I’ve had a bad day, I just count down the ours until he’s home and I can offload onto him. Whether it’s verbally or just handing over the reins while I do dinner, I get a small break to compose myself and gather enough strength to get through dinner and bedtime. I don’t know how I’d get through it if I was a single parent.
But my mum was.
For as long as I can remember, she’s been a single parent. And that’s through no fault of her own. I don’t remember much before the age of about 7 but even then, I knew I admired her. Her strength was unbelievable. I watched her give everything to every relationship, only to be shot down or belittled by every man. Saying that though, it’s not just been romantic relationships where she’s been treated badly, family relationships have turned sour and people keep trying to bring her down on a daily basis. But somehow through it all, she’s still smiling.
Not only has she been an amazing mother to me and my siblings, she’s now a nana to my boys and I couldn’t ask for anyone better. When Henry was born, we lived at home for 4 months before we got our own place so the relationship she has with him grew from the day I brought him home from hospital. But with Archie, it’s been different. She’ll see us once a week, maybe two if we’re lucky. Archie was a clingy baby anyway, he wouldn’t go to anyone but me. All my mum needed to do was look at him and he’d cry. And even though I could see it hurt her, she’d smile and say “I’ll get those cuddles one day”. And lo and behold, at 17 months, Archie started to interact with her. He’d show her his toys, bring her his drink so she could feed it to him and she got her first calm cuddle. I could see how much it meant to her.
That’s why she’s my absolute inspiration, in life and as a mother. Nothing brings her down and if something manages to crack her strong exterior, she doesn’t let it show. She’s the strongest woman I know and I’m so lucky to have her as my mum and best friend.