As with all things, my reasons for wanting to be a mum were mixed. One that I might not have admitted before the boys arrived was the desire to feel loved, needed and special to somebody.
The constant demands of a 3 and 4 year old mean I feel needed most of the time. As for loved and special that can come and go! For the most part our boys are very cuddly and loving. One night Spiderboy told me “Mummy you’re beautiful, I want to marry you.” But there are also times when nothing I do is right, “I didn’t want you to get married/stand there/speak/touch that/move my drink/cut my toast” are fairly regular complaints.
The more we get to know our boys, the more of their hurt and pain we understand. And the more I realise that being a Mummy isn’t about being loved or special. It’s about making sure my boys are loved and special.
And so last week when Spiderboy ran out of the kitchen and screamed “I don’t love you anymore,” my first reaction was to want to remind him why he should love me – I wash his clothes, cook his tea, wipe his bottom. I wanted him to know that it upset me and it wasn’t kind. But for a moment I paused. And then my instincts kicked in and I did what I needed to do. I went to him gently and told him that I would always love him. I held him close until the fear and anger that had overwhelmed him began to subside. I wished that somehow all the pain inside him could somehow be inside me instead.
Because being Mummy to my two boys means that suddenly how I’m feeling doesn’t matter. I am needed, yes, and putting aside my own feelings each day to meet those needs is what makes me special to these extra special boys. And when they rage and scream and tell me that they don’t love me, I know that is only because they do that they feel safe enough to show me how they feel.
I suppose what I’m saying is that the biggest rewards of being a Mummy isn’t being cuddled or kissed and the way that makes me feel; it’s helping my boys slowly overcome their anxiety and pain and learn to manage their own Big Feelings. It’s knowing that they feel loved, safe and special.