In so many ways hindsight is a wonderful thing. She can help us to re-assess and make changes. Good adjustments that help us do things better in the future, but from where I sit today, looking at my grown up children, hindsight is not my friend. She can fill my heart with regret. I can quickly go down the road of the could’ve, the should’ve, the would’ve but didn’t. She can make my heart sink and take me to a place where I don’t want to be.
It all started with a banana in my handbag. A squishy, “ready for banana bread” kinda banana. Packed as an emergency snack and then forgotten. To add insult to injury, I also found two stinky socks, deep in the recesses of said handbag. This all led to a mini mum meltdown. I felt like throwing myself on the floor, screaming. Was even my handbag not mine anymore? Was there anything left that I hadn’t given up, sacrificed or left on the back burner just because I decided to have children?
I watch my boy at play: one clumsy little foot flies out in the vicinity of a falling football. He giggles wildly at the gap between intention and reality, the ball propelled not by feet as was the aim, but by wayward arms with flailing legs lagging behind. When life is good, it is grand – and the whole world is a playground. He is not embarrassed. Mistakes are simply serendipitous pathways to hilarious alternative games, equally as valid as the original. Oh, the sweetness of trying again and again without success!
I have enjoyed the privilege of becoming an aunt again twice in the past few months. A sweet little baby boy and baby girl have filled their lungs with air and made their voices known to the world. And our family is rejoicing.
As I gaze on these little lives, I want to take my role as aunt seriously. I want to be intentional about the time I have with them and about the privilege God has gifted me. So I search the scriptures and try to find examples of how non-mothers effected the lives of little ones.
I turn on my phone and I read about Charlottesville, about atrocities around the world… I feel helpless. What can this person that I am do to ignite change and inspire love? What difference can I make to the world? I’ve not got substantial amounts of money to donate, or time to give or even much of a sphere of influence. I read, I cry and I pray but as a person of faith I believe I am also called to action. As a builder of community and kingdom, I believe that whatever it is I can do, I need to do. Thus, I need to take stock of what I can do, and at first, it doesn’t seem like much. As Arthur Ashe’s well known quote is drummed into my memory, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”, I go ahead and make a list.
Mum guilt is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced.
When I use the term ‘mum guilt’, I don’t mean the idea of being shamed by another mum. That’s simply ‘mum-shaming’ and I refuse to even touch on that today because I can’t believe it exists. (We’re literally a giant collection of women all doing the same, hard, life-changing job. Can we just stop with the keyboard bashing and the quick tongues? Okay, noooow I’m not going to touch it on it.)
**Trigger Warning: This post contains content on miscarriage and infant loss, which some readers may find distressing. Please be aware of your triggers and don’t read on if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.**
“You must be sooo over it by now!”
My protruding belly is the subject of all mindless supermarket and bump-into chit-chats.
“Oh you know, this is the easiest part!” Truly. It is. If you’re a mom, you get my drift.
Right now baby does not need to be changed, carried, fed, changed, dressed, undressed, changed, bathed, changed, rocked to sleep while I lose my mind.
I don’t have to figure out why she is crying, wear dodgy nursing bras or wake up for feeds and function on half a brain the rest of the day.
There are few things in life that are as precious to a child as their Dad. The appeal is effortless – one tickle fight and they’re in for life. When I was a kid, all my Dad had to do to make my day was get home from work and play duplo with me and my sisters, or tell us a story that started with “When I was a little boy.” When we got our first jobs, Dad was the one who helped us get tax file numbers and open superannuation accounts. When we got our learners permits, Dad was the one who took us car shopping and arranged our insurance. For as long as we lived under his roof, we were looked after.