This Sunday is Mother's Day in the UK - and the whole mum thing is something I've been thinking, and worrying, about a lot lately. Not just lately, actually - I think and worry about it pretty much non-stop. Which is very annoying - like having Guilt FM broadcast through my mind 95% of the time. And playing loud too.
For obvious reasons, being a mum isn't how I thought it would be. Or how I thought I would be. All my life I've been good with kids - fun, patient, natural. I liked them and they liked me. It was easy, and yet being a mum isn't at all. It's really, really hard and although I do still feel natural, I don't feel like I'm fun or patient. And I move constantly in my feelings about that - from beating myself up for not being happier, more patient and more fun to resenting the circumstances that have made it so difficult to be all those things. There are so many, many times when I'm not enjoying being a mum, and that just feels wrong and awful. It isn't how I'm meant to feel.
I wasn't expecting this landslide of guilt every day - especially with Maggie but also with Alice. I don't put Maggie in her standing frame every day like we're supposed to. I don't do anywhere near enough physio with her. The same goes for her body suit, her sleep system, her splints, her communication. I think I just want to be a normal mum, and those things aren't normal. But not doing them will wreck her physically over time - and for all the guilt 'normal' mums have for their children, they don't have to deal with that.
But I do. And moving in these disabled circles, so many other mums do too. The last time we were in hospital to change Maggie's tube a severely disabled 11 year old girl was just across the way. She'd been in hospital for four of the last six months and she was dying, her brain was shutting down bit by bit. As much as I have to imagine with Maggie, I couldn't imagine that - and I felt lucky. Going to Quidenham often makes me feel lucky too. It could be so much worse - and I am so grateful that Maggie is as bright and responsive and happy as she is. That she knows we love her so, so, so much - and that she can express her love for us.
I know I'm a good mum to Maggie and to Alice, but I'd like to be better. I'd like for it to be easier but I fear it's going to get harder instead. And sometimes I'm not sure how much harder I can handle. They're such beautiful, wonderful girls, my girls, and they deserve the mum I was going to be.