Image: Author's own
Mummy, it is a twee word isn't it? Often spoken by very small children or perhaps older, spoiled rich kids. It's not a name every woman desires to be called but many of us have found that at one time or another it is the name we hear most. Gone is Michelle, the name I was called for 30 years before having my first babe and in comes Mummy or Mum or Mama, or if I am really lucky it might be Muuuuuuum!
It's OK, I don't mind being called any of these names. They represent who I am to three people. Three of the most important people in my life. In that special name they have for me only they speak love, need and respect. Would I have it any other way? Definitely not.
I started to think about being a mum earlier today when I stumbled across a recent HuffPost article by Melanie Berliet. Miss Berliet proceeded to inform us all why she would never use the word mom in her bio. She is much more than a mother, she says, "I don't want to be thought of as a mom foremost in anyone's mind, including my own. Instead, I'd like to be characterized by the many things I've worked towards, plus motherhood." And good for her. This is where she is at right now but never say never Miss Berliet.
Fourteen years ago I was the high achieving sales manager pregnant with her first child. The full-time nursery place was booked and I'd be returning to the same role after my maternity leave. My child was going to be the cherry on the top. My husband and I would live and work as we always had and enjoy our child as an extra layer.
Then I had that first baby and with him came a whole new wave of emotions that I had no idea I was capable of feeling. After a few months I found myself telling my husband I couldn't go back to that same job. I didn't want a two hour commute each day. I didn't want sales targets that I had to reach before I came home and yes I was happy to give up one car, our holidays abroad and to move into a much more relaxed part-time role.
You see, Miss Berliet you have no idea how things will change once you have your baby and maybe even more babies in the future. Did I ever imagine that the woman whose aim was to earn six figures, who was driven to complete her MA four days before going into hospital to have twins, who measured her life and worth by the size of her bank account, the holidays she went on and the awards she achieved would now be most satisfied by working on a voluntary basis? Of course I didn't but time and motherhood changes everything. If you let it.
Change is a good thing, there is nothing wrong with being known as a mum. It means you are doing an amazing and incredible job. You have been entrusted with a small person to nurture, to teach values to and to help become a compassionate citizen who can add to the world rather than just take from it.
Miss Berliet, you mention that you have a fear of the "cultural tendency to reduce women to the role of mother" but do you not see that you are enforcing that tendency?
If you continue to do all the things you do now and successfully mother your child too, you will have upped your game and not downplayed it. You can't tell me if you achieved the next educational qualification that you wouldn't add that to your bio? So please fight the stereotyping that you say you hate and shout about being a mum. Be proud of who you are and what your body has done. Life is about to change in a big way for you and I wish you every success.