But let’s get down to it.
I nipped out in my lunch break last Thursday. It felt like a treat – I usually end up
sat at my desk getting overenthusiastic about a Boots Meal Deal and forcing
myself to write a blog post.
fruit market that pops up near my office every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I
bought bananas, two punnets of strawberries, blueberries, nectarines and
easy-peelers – and a random pomegranate – all for £6. I was feeling very Deliciously Ella.
ended up at the till with a pair of those, plus some comfy pants, a burn-out
tea and some trainer socks. Because that’s what happens when you go to Primark.
I genuinely think I did well.
to be one year-old in a buggy. The little girl was wriggling about and looked a
bit bored and I remember smiling and thinking back to when Bill was like that.
I used to avoid shops in that first year, because it just wasn’t worth it and I
was pretty big at that point.
as all favourite toys are – and pouted as she realised.
reach, so I smiled and grabbed it for her, because I think we both expecting a
crying outburst any second and I could see she was stressed.
one of your own. They aren’t always like that!”
a bit older than your little one. He’s three in June.”
said: “Oh sorry. I would have never had you down as a mum!”
Cashier number five was called, and I just stood in the queue and thought.
photo of Bill and I. I felt this overwhelming urge to prove it.
I can change nappies at the speed of lightning. I know the theme tune to Sheriff Callie and Doc McStuffins. I have felt the true pain of standing on a tiny toy. And I know what sleep deprivation is actually like.
But it’s more than that. I am head over heels in love with my wonderful little boy. I feel that completely, absolutely, 110%.
And it has no bearing whatsoever on what I look like.
Of course there are physical changes that come with motherhood. The stretch marks. The looser stomach. The dark circles. And maybe even a dress size or two.
But that doesn’t make us mothers.
And it made me think. What does a mother look like anyway?
Is there a mumiform? Are we supposed to wear our hair a certain way? Cut it short? Or choose Converse over boots? Or skip make-up? Or wear ‘mum jeans’?
William’s mum looks the way she should. He likes to sit on her knee and help with her makeup. Even if sometimes she’s at risk of losing an eye. She has stretch marks, which he stroked last night as she explained where they came from.
“Mama! You eyes! They green!” That’s what he says. “Very green Mama!” And they are the exact same eyes he has too, except, where there’s green, for him there’s blue.
William’s mother has long hair. Hair that used to be entwined in a baby’s fingers, as he fed. She never cut it short, in fact, she grew it longer, because she hates her round face and she thinks it suits her better that way. She also likes to play with it absentmindedly. Especially when she’s nervous.
William’s mother likes to wear the clothes she likes to wear. Because they make her feel better about herself. And because ‘mum jeans’ that you can buy in Topshop make her hips look better than they are. And according to her midwife “they are some childbearing hips”.
William’s mother has been mistaken for a teen mother before. A mistake she doesn’t mind one bit about, because age also doesn’t make a mother either. But she wishes the opinions that came with it would stop.
William’s mother bares her stomach. She wears heels that she can’t quite walk in sometimes. And she’ll always have a thing for midi rings.
One day she might cut her hair off. She might lose weight. She might put it on. She might invest in a better eye cream, as her eyes wrinkle a little. She might pack the crop tops (which she wears tastefully she must add) away. She may be smiley. She may be sad. She may just stay exactly as she is.
And any changes she might make, stem from being her. Being Charlotte. Or whatever her name might be. Women still make choices for themselves, even though they might be mothers.
But in the same way that she can easily seek out her son in the sea of toddlers that might run towards her on the rare chances she gets to pick him up from nursery, he’ll be right there, and he’ll see her first, every other mother will blur in the background.
Because that’s his mother. His mother, just as she is.