Read a short piece by Charlotte Butterfield, the author of You Get That From Me which celebrates being a woman and a mother ahead of celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday 19th March.
I’ve got friends who are adopted, who foster children, who have had fertility treatment, who got pregnant on their first try, who have conceived through donors, who have all had miraculous journeys to motherhood, but one thing unites them: the heart’s ability to stretch to accommodate yet more people, whether they share your blood or not, and this is nothing short of magical.
Women have always been at the centre of all my novels. Strong, fun, loveable, flawed, brilliant women. Growing up I had two sisters, three grandmothers, a mum and four aunties – one of whom I called, ‘my second mum,’ because she and her sister (my mum), had made a pact when I was born that they’d share me until she could have her own. This enveloping of oestrogen throughout my life has made me appreciate quite how wonderful and resilient women are.
As I’ve become a mother myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the deft juggling that comes with the job; the placing of yourself far down the priority list, the job description that changes a thousand times a day from cook, to counsellor, from cleaner to life coach. And as I’ve watched my three grow from toddlers to teens the role keeps changing (often minute to minute) and the perks are different but the pleasure at seeing them evolve remains the same. The elation at witnessing their first steps was akin to tasting the first meal they cooked for me and their dad (although I could have done without the overflowing sink at the end of it), and the burst of pride in a coffee shop recently when my fifteen year old daughter offered to pay for my latte, definitely rivalled hearing her say her first words.
Giving birth is the easy part, raising humans who you want to spend time with at the end of it is where the real work comes in. I overheard my daughter describe me the other day to her friend on the phone, and what she said made my heart soar. She said, and you’re not going to believe this, she said, ‘As mums go, mine’s alright actually.’
I’m still beaming about that now.