Not so perfect Mother’s Day

Photo by Joshua Golde

Are you a Mum? Then step up to the podium and receive your award. Kid and career juggling takes the agility and expertise of a gymnast trying to balance on a beam. For decades you’ve dashed from your full time job to orthodontic check-up to sports day to parent-teacher night like some kind of maternal decathlon. Yet nobody ever gives you a bronze, let alone a gold trophy.

But today you get to take a bow. And the gift I’m giving you? Permission not be perfect. Now that my kids are grown, I look back with bewilderment about why I ever bought into the Disney-fied, nail-me-to-the-cross Perfect Mother martyr mode?

Even in the labour ward I was striving to prove my impeccable credentials. Drugs? No way. I was going to give my baby the best start in life…But after 36 hours of intense agony during which I stretched my birth canal the customary ten kilometres, where was my trumpet fanfare and tiara? Nobody was even vaguely impressed. I now think of ‘natural childbirth’ the way I think of natural appendectomy. I mean, we’ve done drugs all our lives – why stop then?

Despite this painful Earth Mother demystification, I then found myself striving for Domestic Goddess status. Every spare nanosecond was spent spraying tiny pinecones silver for homemade potpourri and never ever letting the sun set on an empty slow cooker in a spotless kitchen. During the toddler to teen years, my life revolved around rushing out of meetings early to make balanced nutritional meals involving quinoa.

And did my progeny appreciate my Herculean efforts? Not in the slightest. From thirteen on they became adept at Advanced Sarcasm and Olympic level eye rolling. I became so determined not to have any more children, I actually put a condom on my vibrator. My advice for mums trying to wrangle unruly teens? Next time they hit you and shout “I wish you’d just die!” take a big gulp of wine, drag on a cigarette and reply, “I’m doing my best darling.”

With hindsight I’m bamboozled by my determination to create the Von Trapp, Julie Andrews-esque, ‘happy family’ mirage. I mean, haven’t you ever wondered what happened to Mrs Von Trapp? She no doubt died of exhaustion brought on by birthing all those incessantly yodelling, lederhosen-clad kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children. If it meant protecting our progeny, we mums would contract a slow, flesh eating bacteria that resulted in all our limbs falling off. Hell, we’d drink a coronavirus cocktail. But there’s no need to become the patron saint of put-upon Mothers. Truth is, if you’ve steered your offspring safely into adulthood without them developing an ice addiction, climate-change-denying tendencies or Trump sympathies you deserve a mothering medal. Forget the token bath salts and wilting carnations. What you merit this Mother’s Day is a gift voucher to put yourself first for a change.

So, take a break from coddling, caressing and kissing bumps better. Cut the psychological umbilical cord that keeps you tethered to the stove by your apron and heart strings and book a post plague cruise with your girlfriends. Take up tango. Laze in a bubble bath. And if your offspring complain of neglect, simply point out what you’ve given up for them – uninterrupted sleep, promotions, privacy, that coveted pink sports car, the ability to trampoline – hell , you probably have nipples down to your knees because of those kids! And if anyone criticises you for no longer impersonating Doris Day, tell them to nip down to Bunnings, buy some wood and some nails, then build a bridge and get over it. Now that would make a perfect DIY mother’s day gift.

Along with my new novel, ‘HRT – Husband Replacement Therapy”, which is currently (drum roll….) number one in Aussie Adult Fiction. Hooray! And well, who doesn’t want to replace her hubby after 7 week so of Lockdown? And for any blokes reading this, if you give your beloved a copy at least she’ll know that even though you’e developed domestic blindness, not all your senses are impaired, because at least you haven’t lost your sense of humour!

Happy Mother’s Day, in fact why don’t we make it Mother’s Month?! Love Kathy x

Buy your copy of HRT: Husband Replacement Therapy now!




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