On being “Mom”

Or:

    Mum
    Mama
    Mummy
    Mater
    Mam
    Mommy
    Madre

Whatever title has been bestowed upon you by your marvellous and beloved offspring? The job is hard. It’s fucking gruelling – and there’s often no respite.

I don’t know if you might have noticed dear audience, but there’s a freaking pandemic going on out there. And it’s taking so much from us. And the burden of children and child-rearing is, as ever falling on us maternal-type units.


Disclaimer: I am bloody lucky in my hus-creature and I love him muchly. He has been awesome in this shitty ass time.


And there’s no answer to it. I’m not going to write about generals. There are a LOT of articles out there at the moment which are saying it so much more eloquently than I feel I can:

Parenting is a job – in a pandemic it’s impossible

Death of the Working Mother

Both of these articles resonate with me so hard. In the first case?

I’m exhausted. I’m touched out.


Seriously – it’s worse than when they were newborns and I didn’t think that was possible quite frankly!


TT is a wreck. She’s always been the most social one of the four of us and lock down and social distancing have destroyed her.

She gets one dance class a week (today as it happens) and the joy when she realises it’s Wednesday is, quite frankly, heartbreaking. Because it’s her only chance to spend time with any humans outside of our bubble. In a mask. Six feet apart. With no contact. But it’s all that we could do.

And it will be taken from her soon enough. Make no mistake about that. Cases are spiking everywhere and I hate every single selfish fucker who won’t wear a mask. If I could send them my daughter’s future therapy bills I would.

We spend a minimum period of two hours every day cuddling on my bed because she just needs that reassurance. It sounds lovely but it’s every day. It’s relentless.

But that’s not the main point of this post. It’s mainly the second linked article I’m pondering.

See, a few nights ago #1 Son wombled into my bedroom and asked me:

Mom, if you could have any career what would it be?

First off, ouch.

It’s not the first time either. Over a year ago I was standing in my kitchen doing one of my snow/ice dyeing experiments and #1 Son asked his father what I was doing. When told I was doing a science experiment this was the response:

Why is mom doing that? She’s just mom.

I walked away and left daddy to deal with that.

Way to hit me right between the eyes there son. Because this is a very sore spot for me.

I am a stay at home parent. It’s not a job I ever envisaged for myself; and, if I’m honest? It’s not the job I wanted.

Now, do not get me wrong. I adore my kids with every fibre of my being. I went through hell on earth to have them. But I wanted to keep my job. To keep my paycheck. My independence – in so far as that was possible.

Then we emigrated. And I couldn’t work until I got my work permit. Then #1 Son started school and we realised that, work permit or not, there was no way on Gods Green Earth that I was going to be able to find work whilst dealing with him there.

Then there was TT. Daycare is ludicrously expensive so I was forced to accept I was stuck until she started Kindergarten at least.

However that was OK, after all, my skill set is in higher education administration and from The University of Oxford no less. Surely I would be able to find something when the time came? If not Harvard or MIT then at least Tufts or Boston College etc right? After all, University education is a permanent fixture right?!?!?

Ahem, so sorry.

Because then the pandemic happened. And it’s clear that Higher Education is going to take a massive hit in the short to medium term. So that’s that for now. And it’s been over three years already. God knows what my skill set is going to look like by the time this situation is under control.

So for the foreseeable I’m stuck. Completely.

However hus-creature did put the recent sad into slight perspective.

The fact that my son asked me if I wanted a career? That means he doesn’t remember when I DID.

Which means that he only remembers me being around. So no damage of any kind from me missing those formative moments of ages 1-5.

Some solace perhaps.

But I do still have a sad.

Life is complicated isn’t it?

But I am around. I can help with remote learning. I can comfort my kids and we don’t need me to bring in a paycheck. I’m grateful for that.

But COVID needs to fuck off. Because it’s still a lot. And some days it’s too fucking much. And I’m tired. So tired.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

I have seen mention that yesterday, October 15 – Baby Loss Awareness Day – also covers infertility.

With that in mind, I have my own story to share.


I will preface it with that I know I am lucky. I was only ever almost the 1/4.

I’m often blasé about my infertility and my struggles with it, because I know I’m lucky.

#1 Son was conceived in a normal time frame, and we didn’t KNOW how impossible he should have been.

TT? We knew – and it was hell. Hell just knowing that what we were putting ourselves through was likely pointless, but that we had to jump through the hoops to get the IVF referal.

The months of trying that followed, that weren’t straightforward because of my surgery. The tears, the stress, the guilt – because I HAD one child, surely he should be enough? Knowing in my heart that he wasn’t. That he needed a sibling and that I needed to have a second baby.

Then that positive test. Then the hope and fear that came with it. But then to be sternly told that with my issues the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy was very high, so any pain, any bleeding I MUST go direct to A&E – do not pass “Go”. Do not collect $200.

I remember that day so clearly. I remember the pub lunch the office had gone to that day (because I was SO glad I’d stuffed myself 😂🤣); Returning to the office, going to the toilet (it was 4pm) and seeing blood. I went stone cold.

I remember how supportive my awesome boss was – he took one look at my face and asked if I needed to leave. I could barely nod, and he just told me to get gone – that he would handle everything.

I remember calling the hus-creature and sobbing to him. I remember the kindness of another colleague who took me for a cuppa and let me weep whilst waiting for him to collect #1 Son from nursery and come get me.

I remember reaming a random cold caller who had DARED to call me “about the car accident you had”


I didn’t pass my driving test until TT was 8 months old.


I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I do remember screaming (whilst on a public high street – which as a Brit is a huge nono) that I was in the middle of a potential miscarriage and waiting for a call from my doctor and she was tying up my phone line. I DO however remember her terrified apology. And to this day I hope I made her think and reassess her career choices.

I’ll never forget rushing to A&E, 7 weeks pregnant with my girl. Terrified I was going to lose her. Knowing that if I did? There wasn’t going to be another baby.

I had to break the news to both sets of parents that yes, I was pregnant with the much longed-for second child but possibly for not much longer and could they please come get my eldest from the hospital so that he was safe and away from it all.

A night of nil-by-mouth and such kind (but silent) nurses. But nobody explained why. Nobody talked to me. Nobody could handle my fear, my panic or my pre-grief.

Because they knew. They had seen my notes. They knew what this meant. That I was almost certainly going to need emergency surgery so not even a cup of tea.

But I was one of the lucky ones. The following morning I had an emergency scan, saw a heartbeat and cried tears of joy. I remember the technician commenting that it was so rare for them to see happy tears. I got a week’s sick note and I rested. Oh god did I rest.

I got the fairy tale. I often talk to women with endometriosis and tell them my story because I want them to know that the miracles DO happen.

But so often they don’t. To this day I don’t know why I was so lucky.

Infertility is hard. So hard.

Baby loss is worse.

So I lit a candle for everyone who needs one. And I hope that I haven’t caused pain in this; I simply feel that I do have a story to tell.