July 22, 2011
Anyway, the kids were being pretty good, Ollie was insistent on looking at the cars (in the baby stuff aisle - why do they do that?) which is where I bumped into a lady I'd never met before who had no less than four beautiful little boys. One was at school but the other three were with her, and I was amazed at how she seemed to be taking everything in her stride with four kids under the age of 6. We got to talking, mainly about the fun of being mum to boys and the similarities between our little kids, especially as her children are 'half-castes' just like mine.
The lady asked me if we wanted any more children and without thinking about it I answered, yes, we would love another baby, but it's so difficult being as far away from family support as we are to know how we would cope. And then she proceeded to tell me how she is on her own after recently separating from her husband, at which point I felt like hugging her. This amazing, confident (and tired) mother was relying on the help of her own mum, who she said was a huge support and let's face it, anyone that has children and is lucky enough to be in a loving relationship must think about how bloody hard it would be if you were a single parent with only one child, never mind four.
But she was doing ok. Just being positive seemed to be a bonus. And she wasn't taking any crap from the kids, neither. I'm sure she has her tough days more often than she has her good days, but she was an inspiration, that's for sure and I can't stop thinking of her, this super mum. She reminded me of the other day, when someone called me 'super mum' because of a particularly efficient morning I'd had. I'm definitely no super mum. My own mum, who married and made a life with a man she'd only ever seen a photograph of and with whom she has little in common except for her values and faith, who's English was entirely self taught after moving to England at 18, who is devout and faithful, who has always put her children and husband before any personal ambition, who raised her three strong-willed, independent, wayward daughters in a society she wasn't familiar with, who has stood by her husband's side to work relentlessly with him in the family business to pay a mortgage and school fees for the last 30 years, who lives humbly, with thrift but with absolute generosity, and who has embraced her daughters as who they are with dignity and pride in a culture that hasn't always been accepting of the choices we've made, my own mother, who is a loving, proud and hard working and will always be that way, now she's super mum. Super mum.
We all have our moments of being good at what we do. I am not a super mum but I do have super mum moments, essential for motivating me when I have bad days, and my own moments of greatness come from having my mother in my life and the things she has taught me about resilience and what it means to be a good parent. And then there's the inspiration from seeing mums like the lady in the supermarket. It startled me how quick I was to answer yes to her question of whether we would have more children because it's always been such a topic of indecision for us (what will be will be), mainly because we just don't know how we'd cope, but she definitely gave me food for thought and I guess the confidence to think we could do it. She also had a lot of bread in her trolley and I can't imagine how much she was spending on feeding four little men, or how much milk we would start consuming if we have another baby, but it would be amazing. Wouldn't it!