Almost on cue, every year, a feeling of malaise comes over me. School returns and Poss turns another year older. She is getting further and further away from that tiny baby she used to be. I get that it’s the way of the world. She will get older.
I am proud of her, yet at the same time, there is a slight regret there that every milestone that slips past, is one we will never see again. It’s the curse of an only. We only get to do this once.
I read an article recently, that suggested that you aren’t a ‘real mum‘ until you have more than one child. I try not to read articles like that, it makes me stabby and comes under the title ‘things I can avoid to make me stabby‘. But read it I did.
According to the story, because being a parent to one child is so easy (if someone can tell me when it gets easy, that would be great), I don’t get to call myself a ‘real mum’. Apparently I haven’t earned the title.
I know in comparison to a mother with five kids, for example, our life is probably significantly less busy. The logistics of getting any more than my one child anywhere makes my head spin, let alone everything else that goes along with being a parent to kids, plural.
But does that make me less? Does it make me fake? At what point do you become a ‘real mum’?
The joys are no different. The overwhelming love we feel for her no different. The pain as she grows up and knowing we only get one shot at this, maybe harder. I don’t know. I can’t compare.
She didn’t want me to walk her into school yesterday. Insisted she was a big girl, insisted she go by herself. A new step mastered for her, a step we have been working towards now for almost three years. I was so proud of her, she nailed it. But it’s bittersweet. It’s one less thing I am needed for.
A sooky, self-absorbed part of myself wants her to stay small, wants to feel needed. Because once she has mastered all these things, once she is big and grown, and our only makes her way out into the world, am I still a real mum then?