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A mother's love means she's forever torn by worry and guilt

I'LL admit it. I've had moments when I've locked myself in the bathroom with a can of coke and a magazine.

I don't care if he tries to break the door down, I've told myself, sticking ear plugs in my ears. I'm taking at least 10 minutes out for myself and that's that.

I remember phoning my mother one Friday evening and begging her to take my son for the night so I could get some sleep.

I recall another time putting my baby to bed fully clothed as I simply didn't have the energy to change him into his pyjamas.

And will I ever forget the time I ran out of nappies in the middle of the night and had to improvise with old towels and sticky tape?

The first time I sent my son to the creche was a happy day. Instead of being tearful, like lots of people warned I would be, I almost skipped down the road with joy.

Freedom at long last! I couldn't get over the excitement of being able to go to a coffee shop without a buggy.

I had no idea just how hard being a mother was going to be, never mind a single mother.

I didn't anticipate the loneliness and sense of isolation of being home alone with a baby who could only communicate by crying.

Normally, a very sociable woman, I found myself yearning for adult company, and yet I felt guilty for going out.

But would I do it all over again? Of course!

It's Mother's Day next weekend. Gary's now five and he says he wants to draw me a card.

He says it's a surprise and I'm not allowed to look until it's ready. He already started celebrating Mother's Day last week by beheading some of my prized daffodils that brighten up the front garden.

I, too, began celebrating Mother's Day last week. I took my mum away on a little road trip to Limerick and we stopped at the beautiful Emo Court, Co Laois, for afternoon tea on the way.

Then we went for a long walk in the grounds where local families fed bread to swans on the lake.

TORN

One little boy reminded me of my son. I started missing him terribly all of a sudden and couldn't wait to get home and give him a hug.

You see, mums are constantly torn. You need time to yourself and then feel guilty about being away from your kids.

Gary goes to a creche at 7.30 every morning, an hour and a half before school starts, and when I get home and make his bed, I often wish I hadn't dropped him off so early.

As mums, we constantly worry. We wear our hearts on our sleeves. We would go hungry to feed our kids and give the shirts off our back.

I remember when I was a teenager my mother would stay up to the early hours, waiting for my key to turn in the door after a night out.

Only then could she finally go to sleep. I found it extremely irritating at the time. When I first moved out of home she would phone every single morning.

I could never understand it then. I sure do now.

www.marisamackle.ie


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