Thursday, 31 March 2011

Mum's The Word

Mum”, the first word so often heard in countless situations. In the playground, the home, and on the phone. Mum, an identity all of its own - a figure of fun and comfort. The one we turn to in distress, or make feed me requests. Cuts soothed, tears swept away. Clothes washed, ironed and mended. Kids and partners put first, their own lives upended. We owe a lot to our Mums or those who assume that position. It's a tough job, coming easy to some, but not others. Mothering a skill, not a role women were simply born to fulfill.

Instead of “keeping Mum”, I've chosen to speak out in honour of this coming Sunday. A daughter's perspective – their work unsung until now. The one day they're granted to be celebrated. I'm sure this isn't true for everyone. Most appreciating their mums, taking time to show it on unofficial days too. Mum, just one of the roles they play in 24 hours, wife, daughter, aunt and sister also. Passing on lessons they've learned, handed down the generations. Where would we be without our mums? The rock we all rely on.

Who you call “Mum” or think of in this way may differ. Mum may be a family friend, both parents rolled into one, or even a next door neighbour. The female qualities that matter. The mother-child bond not always the same for sons and daughters. The mother-daughter relationship a navigational course. Best friend, matriarch, or both? A figure simply to obey? My Mum and I share an Ab-Fab affair. Absolutely Fabulous, you might think taking the literal approach, but what I actually meant was the Jennifer Saunders sitcom. Who can forget Eddie and Saffie? That polar opposite pair. Both of us with similar traits of the characters in question. A period in my teens where I pondered, just who was the parent here? My “Eddie” now still fun, but toned down. Our bond matured with age.

The word “Mum” a mistaken guise. A presumption that to be one you have to have sons and daughters. Does “mothering” require children? I don't think this is true. Surely “to mother” means to protect, love and care. To offer support and guidance when sought. Blood relations not an essential requirement. Nurturing, the focal point and tailored to every avenue – from the human race, to animals, insects and plants. You don't have to physically give birth in order to mother. Even gardeners and authors learn to master this skill. Nourishing plants and birthing books their opportunity to nurture, giving life to something new. Yes, mums deserve a treat, a chance to be pampered and put up their feet, but it's not the only way. Mothering, a labour of love, which every one of us can employ.