Mum’s not the word

Sometimes I feel invisible. Or, if not invisible, at least that people have categorised me as something generic and made assumptions about who I am so that they are not actually seeing me.

 I find this at its worst when people other than my children call me Mum. People who know my name, who have known me since before I had children, who chose to call me Mum because my children are around. I love Quibble and Squeak calling me Mum – it shows that I have a special place in their life – but there is no reason for anyone else to.  It strips me of my name, my individuality and my identity.

 I know I am a Mum. It is the most important job I have, because even when I’m at work, I’d drop everything for my children if they needed me. It is both frustrating and wonderful (although I like to think there is more of the latter) and it does mean that there are times I have to put myself last or make little sacrifices, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be anything else.

 There seems to be an idea that once you have become a mother, you have to put your children above all else; be a mum first and rarely anything else second. Watching films and TV, I see dads getting to be action heroes, politicians and lifesaving doctors, while mums get to be, well, mums. Or bad mums if they do something else (their juggling always seems to fail). Where are the women my age being more than solely a mum? Where are the people like me?

 This is the reason why love the challenges at work. Why I have booked tickets to Mumsnet Blogfest. Why I was so excited to spend last weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon at the RSC. So that I get to keep being me. So that I get to do things and have conversations that are not just about babies, children and housework. It’s also the reason why I blog: I get to write about the things that interest me; the important things in my life. And yes, that may involve my children. After all, being a mum is part of being me. Just not the only part.

Happy childhood memories being made

Hold on, here it comes…

So I suppose the first post should explain to you who I am and what I’m going to blog about.

It’s not going to.

Partly, because although I have a job, a husband and kids, I like to think I’m more than just that. Partly, because I’m not especially qualified to have a blog – my life is probably a lot like a lot of other people’s lives. But mostly, because I’m not sure exactly what my posts are going to be about.

Every single day has a handful of moments in which something both insignificant and remarkable happens. Moments that make me smile, that I need to hold on to because in five minutes time I could be trying to persuade my son to go to the toilet or my daughter to go down for a nap, either of which is likely to include several bouts of crying (from any or all of us). Moments that could pass me by as I rush to get to work and try to do a good job there before rushing home again to try to do a good job here too. Moments I won’t get again.

This, then, is my way of holding on to those moments. More than that, this is how I’m going to celebrate and share them. And in doing so, I hope I will remember that this is the life I chose. The life I’m living. Just as long as I take a moment to notice it.