Opinion

Dear mum…

mumday

Mothers’ Day is all about celebrating our mums and what they do for us. Whether they’re stay-at-home mums, mum’s juggling work and domestic life or mum’s who hire in extra help to get shit done, it’s incredibly tough being a mum and no matter what they do, in the eye’s of society no mum is ever good enough. But we disagree! We think all mums are amazing in all they manage to achieve with so little time in a day and we are grateful for everything our mums have done for us.

So in the spirit of Mothers’ Day, the editorial team at FifF have banded together to say thanks to our mums…

Eliza

The first time we met I arrived early. Ever since then I’m almost always late.

But I don’t want to talk about your limitless patience, or your need to have at least eight rolls of 3-ply toilet paper in the house to feel safe, your ridiculous scarf collection that fills a suitcase or that time you got a brush stuck in my hair and had to have a hairdresser cut it out.

No, I want to talk about the collision of your love of language and your neuroticism which makes you an amazing teacher. Having a mum as a teacher is a special thing. And by special I mean, getting in trouble is a unique kind of scolding that blends disappointment and discipline.

Mothers who are teachers take pride in producing children who are polite, obedient, studious and in my case of having one who teaches English – a massive book worm. As a kid I devoured books like they were going out of fashion. So protective of the covers that housed those wondrous words and stories that when my brother dropped a book I’d reprimand him, “Be careful Alex, books have spines too.”

I have you to thank/blame for my competitive obsessiveness with Scrabble (it’s taken me years but now I can beat you). Most importantly, as corny as it may be to say, you inspire me. Everyday you work in a profession that’s underpaid and undervalued. If you got a dollar for every time someone said teachers were lucky because they work 9-3 and have so many holidays, you’d be as rich as a CEO. Instead, day after day, you teach growing minds how to analyse Shakespeare and deconstruct poetry. Despite their unending gratitude or apparent disgust, you make a difference.

Years later you’ve had students recognise you on the street or message you on Facebook and thank you. You never hear from most of your students again after they leave your classroom but your impact doesn’t leave them. I talk to you almost everyday and while I often get frustrated when you pick apart my grammar and search for my thesis, I’m secretly glad to have a teacher mother. One who has shaped the confident, articulate, argumentative person I am today.

Renee

I stood on a wooden chair, my arms propped up on the bench dividing the kitchen and the dining table. I watched her back, her hair in a small loop, tucked under itself with a bright pink tie, like the one she put in my hair this morning. Her arms slowly stirred the play dough on the stove.

“What colour would you like?” she asked as she turned with a smile that hit my chest.

“Green” I said, sinking my chin into my hands. I stood on my toes as I tried to smell the play dough and my mum’s scent. I couldn’t smell her over the flour, and water in the pot.

My favourite mum smell was just after she baked, I loved sniffing her hair, inhaling the cupcakes and chocolate slice that lingered in her hair. I’d melt into her breast, as her shoulders and arms enclosed me in her warmth.

She picked up a light blue fairy stone on the kitchen windowsill.

“Have you made a wish today?”

She beckoned me over with her fingers. I jumped off the chair and ran to where she stood. She picked me up and held me on her hip.

“What shall we wish for today?” she asked as we watched a wren dipping itself in the bath.

Kristen

My mum never discouraged my sister or me from pursuing something we really loved. Even after experiencing the harshness and heartache of having a career in the performing arts, she never told me I couldn’t do the same thing – she just explained that it should be something I was truly passionate about, because it wouldn’t be worth the pain otherwise. But even with how strongly she didn’t want me to go through the same struggle that she did, my mum has supported me every step of the way since I made the decision to pursue a career as a playwright. She truly believes in me, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

But my mum has given me more – so much more. She’s gotten me through being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, helped me cope – even without fully understanding what I’m going through – with my anxiety and depression, and reassuring me that her love is not dependent on my grades or objective successes. And seeing some people deal with parents who don’t seem to feel the same way, I know how lucky I am to have a parent who focusses on the substance and not the superficial – on the quality of my life, and not the quantity of my achievements.

My mum is someone who cannot help putting everyone she cares about before herself, and this is something I truly admire and aspire to. She makes a constant effort to become a better version of herself every day, even when she stumbles in the process, and I only hope I can learn to do the same.

Claire

Among my group of friends, my mum is known as ‘Mama Jules’. Partly because her infectious belly laugh and scrumptious cooking make her a hoot to be around, but mostly because of her gigantic, beautiful heart.

There’s just this innate, maternal warmth to my mum. It doesn’t matter whom she’s talking to; who visits the house, she’s always ready to listen and provide comfort.

I’ve learnt the most important lessons in my life from Mama Jules. It’s all very well to understand grammar, science and mathematics – they can get you far in life, but what gets you the FARTHEST in life is kindness, patience and acceptance.

I wouldn’t be as open to my opponent’s perspective if it weren’t for Mama Jules. She taught me the importance of stepping into someone else’s shoes and seeing life through their eyes.

I wouldn’t be as patient with difficult situations and people if it weren’t for Mama Jules. She taught me that everybody has goodness inside them and to always look for it.

I wouldn’t be as fiercely open and caring towards others if it weren’t for Mama Jules. She taught me that all types of people, from all walks of life, deserve to be embraced, and to never pass judgement.

I am immensely grateful for the tender, considerate and loving example that Mama Jules has set for me. Growing up in the presence of her soft and special energy has made me the best possible version of myself.

I only hope that, as I go about my life – writing, acting and making art – I can teach others the same lessons of kindness, patience and acceptance that have been so influential on me.

Thanks for being relentlessly loving and understanding, Mama Jules! You’re the best.

Lara

A few days ago I was at a friend’s soccer match when I found myself avidly jumping up and down squealing support out to a group of (largely) strangers. I don’t particularly like watching soccer, I don’t follow a club or ever watch it on TV, however there I was, screaming like a true fanatic. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was emulating my mother’s reaction to watching sports; unfounded, completely uncomplicated enthusiasm. Amanda has the ability to invest herself totally and truthfully into anything that involves supporting others. She is endlessly generous and patient with her love, constantly giving to those around her. She espouses honesty and sincerity, genuinely wanting you to succeed. She is my best friend and the most wonderful woman in the world.

As I get older, I find myself wanting to emulate my mother more and more. The kindness, honesty, generosity, and sincerity she embodies have become an important part of who I want to be and how I model my world. The people I looked up to when I was younger now pale in comparison to the complex and wholesome human my mother is. She has taught me to love myself in a way that no other model could. She instilled in me a sense of wonder at all that is around me, a sense of confidence for all that confronts me.

I understand that my relationship with my mother is unique. Not many other women I know would ask their mother to hang out with them and their friends for an evening, or do shots with their mother at they friends party, but not all mothers would respect and love their children in the same manner that mine has. Perhaps the most important thing my mother has gifted me with, is the knowledge that I am deeply loved and respected, and so I never feel concerned when confessing to her.

Mother’s day is a day designed to honour and celebrate motherhood. I use mother’s day as another day of the year to remind Amanda that she is the most wonderful mother and friend I could have.

Sophia

I come from a strong line of women in my family and I am lucky enough to have a very matriarchal family. No matter how many times my grandfather claims that he is the head of the family, we all know that the person truly leading the family are my grandmothers.

That is why on Mother’s Day, I want to honour all the mothers, not just the mothers in my family.

My mother was the first person (more or less) in her family to go and get a university degree, her dogged determinism to explore and learn more shaped my academic life. She taught me to go down untraditional paths to explore different aspects within my degree.

My mother’s mother taught me how to cook and passed on the generations of knowledge and family recipes to me. My mother’s mother taught me the importance of family.

My father’s mother taught me that you can make something of yourself if you believed in yourself. My father’s mother taught the importance of love and that you should have a loving heart for all.

My mother and my father’s mother taught me how to stay strong and believe in myself, despite moving from one end of the world to another, without ever knowing if you’d ever see your family again.

My mother’s mother and my father’s mother teach me the importance of knowing and embracing your family roots every single day.

The mothers in my family teach me more and more about the strength of a mother and a woman, and as I grow older, my respect for them grows. That is why on Mother’s Day I’m honouring all mothers and mother figures.

Georgia

Carmel (my mum) is one of those women who has it all: a family that loves her, a job at the top of her field and a social life far cooler than mine or my sisters (seriously, even my friend’s envy my mother’s cool life). Do I know how she does it? No, I don’t think even she knows how she does it, but every day she makes it work and she does it all while rocking a pair of sky-high heels and looking about ten years younger than she actually is.

Was this the life Carmel planned for herself? Not exactly. I know she wanted to be a stay at home mum but when push came to shove and we needed the second income, she didn’t just get a job, she paved a stellar career for herself, a career she didn’t even start until she hit her mid 30s and one that’s allowed her to travel the world (something she always dreamed of doing). In between all of that, she’s somehow also raised two well-adjusted women who both have open minds, open hearts and endless curiousity and passed on her impeccable makeup and cooking skills to both of us.

Despite her busy lifestyle, mum still finds times in her life to shower her family, friends and friends-who-are-basically-family with love. She’s the first one there when you need a shoulder to cry on or want to celebrate… and there’s always a bottle of champagne to go around.

While I might find her incredibly frustrating sometimes (she is my mother, after all!), when I look at everything mum’s achieved despite the thousands of hurdles she’s had to jump (including two cross-country moves to suit my dad’s career), I’m reminded that if you keep moving forward and face the world with a smile and a nice frock, it will end up pretty fabulous.

About the author

The FifF Team

We all banded together and wrote this piece as a team.

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