Unconditional love?

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Well, there are a couple of conditions, actually. Here is my little tribute to Mums everywhere, especially to my Aussie and American pals as you celebrate Mother’s Day.


Teenagers are clearly God’s punishment for having sex in the first place. Aged 13, I was taken hostage by my hormones and shape-shifted from A star student into Attila the Teen. My modus operandi became one of First-Degree sarcasm and Olympic level eye-rolling. I started dating surfie guys called Spider, Chook and Fang – Mum must have thought I’d found them in a petting zoo. Worse were the punk musicians – the sort of blokes who spent more on nostril piercing than armpit hygiene.

I talked back constantly, sneaked out, sulked, wagged school and developed a three grunt vocabulary of “na, dunno and errgh”.

So, did my poor, beleaguered mother start desperately looking for a loophole in my birth certificate? Did she put me up for adoption? Did she embrace the guppy approach to parenting – i.e., eating your young?… No, she just kept right on loving me.
The trouble is, kids are like camping tents – you have no idea how much assembly is required until it’s too late. (What the hell is a ‘rain fly ridge pole grommet’ and is that lightening storm and howling dingo getting closer?!)

But it’s not really until you have your own children that you fully understand the sacrifices your mum made for you.

The agonies of childbirth are a doddle compared to what comes next – the 24 hour catering (as a breast feeder you are now Meals On Heels) ; the sleep deprivation; the sex deprivation – because kids are a contraceptive aren’t they? Every time you go to make love, the baby wakes up or the toddler toddles in. Although I do have an excellent sex tip for new parents ; vaseline, on the doorknobs – it sounds painful but they can’t get in!

While I adore my children with a primal passion, I actually got morning sickness after they were born – a little something to do with the fatigue which comes from playing ‘Hide and Seek” with the Dummy’ at 4 a.m. ; learning that ‘toilet humour’ is not a Amy Schumer sketch on diaphragm insertion, but trying to train an incontinent toddler to poo in the potty; the cleaning up of projectile vomits at dawn; the running of trays up to bedrooms thirty times a day for nothing more serious than a stubbed toe; the unknotting of pee-stained shoe laces with your teeth; the sticking out of hands in restaurants so kids can spit out some offending vegetable. Taking the blame for the out-of-date school excursion permission slips scrunched at the bottom of backpacks, the endless battles with babies to eat “solids”, which they interpret as nails, needles and loose screws – the latter soon solely located between your addled ears…

One particularly exhausting day, I rang my mother to find out how she’d raised four daughters while holding down a full time job as a head mistress, without giving herself a D.I.Y. lobotomy?

“Love…” she replied simply. “Oh and blatant bribery, otherwise known as ‘rewards.’ Hey, we Mums may drive our teenagers crazy – but we also drive them everywhere…Or not, if homework’s not done!” she laughingly added.

So, this mother’s day, make sure you spoil your Mum rotten and thank her unconditionally for that unconditional love.

…Although to my own children I would say, there are a few conditions. Book your own driving lessons – no mother should have to go through the menopause and teach her kid to drive in the same year. And, if you ever lock me up in a Maximum Security Nursing Home, there’s not a ghost of a chance that I won’t come back to haunt you. Okay?… Now bring me my flowers, bath salts and breakky in bed, you ungrateful rascals!

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