Mother lode

I was terrified when I discovered I was pregnant 16 years ago.

I’d given myself until I turned 35 to decide whether I wanted children. I still wasn’t sure, but thought I’d better give it a go before my fertility packed it in.

When I was about six weeks pregnant, my boss announced – over champagne that I pretended to drink – that she wanted to put me in charge of one of Australia’s most profitable magazines – Woman’s Day.

I had no idea what to say. What’s the etiquette when you’re only six weeks pregnant and you’re offered a really big job? It didn’t seem appropriate to reveal the news so early, but it felt deceitful not to say anything.

I choose to keep it to myself until I’d passed the 12-week mark. It would have been hard to hide for much longer than that because I grow ENORMOUS babies …

I was violently ill with morning sickness for most of my pregnancy. I had a shocker of a birth that involved double-peaking contractions during hours of pushing with no progression and finally an emergency caesarean … then back into hospital a few days after being at home with a nasty internal infection.

I was pretty traumatised by the birth and shell-shocked by motherhood. I didn’t cope very well with either and felt profound relief – possibly tinged with PND – when I had to return to work when my first-born was just two months old, leaving my husband to hold the home fort.

In fact, I didn’t cope very well with the first four years of motherhood. I felt like a complete failure.

The situation was compounded by some pretty harrowing career stuff between kid one and kid two and then some fairly debilitating health problems – and even more harrowing career stuff – post kid two.

Add a crumbling marriage to the mix and I was pretty down on myself.

I had a drink with a former colleague on Friday night and admitted that in many ways my husband leaving was the best thing that ever happened to me because it made me face my demons.

My confidence in my mothering – and in myself – has gradually grown since then.

Yesterday, I celebrated my 15th Mother’s Day as a mum (check out the piercing gaze on the eldest in the main photo).

I reckon I’m finally coming into my own, despite the fact that parenting teens is way more challenging than babies.

I make finely nuanced decisions every day and you’d probably disagree with the way I’ve handled many things. But I’m doing the best I can as a single mum to get two children to functional adulthood.

I had lunch with my mum and sister yesterday. We had a lamb roast, which filled me with nostalgia for my Nan.

My Nan loved me so, so much. The unconditional love of grandparents is a very precious gift.

I miss her.

My mum reckons I look more like my Nan every day and … erm … even smell like her … but she doesn’t mean it in a wrinkles and mothballs kind of way … I don’t think …

Nan was before her time – one of her friends had a gay son and Nan adored him and all his friends. She had a fabulous time with them and thought it was wonderful when they took her to see Les Girls as a treat.

I think I’ve inherited her zen approach to love.

On Saturday night I drove to collect the eldest and a fuschia haired friend from a Black Dog Institute fundraiser. They wanted to stay late, but it was in the middle of nowhere and I was tired, so I told them to be out the front of the bowling club at 9.45pm.

I pulled into the carpark as the strains of The Angels’ song “Am I ever gonna see your face again” floated out into the night, followed by the crowd’s sweary response.

I felt oddly delighted that my child was experiencing such an iconic Aussie moment – is that inappropriate???

I couldn’t resist going inside as Dragon’s “April sun in Cuba” was being performed, to snap a few pics of the band sign that the eldest had painted for the gig.

It turned out the baby boomer band – the SoMo 49ers – was just wrapping up and the Gen Z band – Sex Mullet – hadn’t taken to the stage yet. There was such a joyful atmosphere in the room that I hung around so the eldest could mosh to “Teenage Dirtbag”.

As each song started I kept wearily thinking I should make the kids leave, but they were having so much fun that we stayed until the last song at 10.55pm, which was “Hey Jude”.

It was almost transcendental to watch the oldies and the kids – including mine – singing the words together at the top of their lungs.

I was knackered, but loved every minute. I also loved the eldest’s Sex Mullet sign. I’m so proud of my kid’s art skills.

Here are a few happy snaps:


Song of the day: The Beatles “Hey Jude”




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