Ahead of Mother's Day we've put together come thoughts on Mum love from the G&S team.....
Not to try and make myself sound tough, but I'm not a crier. That's not to say I don't get sad - as I get older there seem to be more and more things to be sad about - but I have to really squeeze for an actual tear to come out. Remember that classic Christmas rom-com, The Holiday, when Cameron Diaz has to listen to sad songs to try and make herself cry after a break up... that's me. So when, a week after giving birth to my son, and it was time for my Mum to leave and I burst into floods of uncontrollable tears, I had a sense of something going on that was more than just hormones.
Alicia & Monty, Photo by Harriet Croft Photography
During that first whirlwind week of Motherhood, my Mum was an absolute lifesaver, and I think that 30 years down the line through those salty tears I finally understood this unconditional Mum-love that people far more emotionally aware than me always talked about. I guess part of me was surprised at how much I had relied on her that first week and how good she had been.
My Mum isn't a traditional mother hen type that coos over babies and throws on a pinny to whip up a stew (or so I thought). She's a fashion editor with a busy schedule who's just blown in from the shows - she takes her homelife seriously too but stay-at-home gran she is not. So I think I was taken aback a bit when she put aside a whole week to care for me and my baby. She gently encouraged me when I was in toe-curling pain during those first few feeds, she rustled up warming stews and puddings, and came in and took Monty in the early hours when I was desperate for a few hours shut-eye. She'd nipped down to London for a couple of hours one afternoon to give my husband and I some alone time as a family but was back by the evening to help with the witching hour.
After the arrival of Monty I soon realised that really that is what being a Mum is all about. It is that unconditional desire to make that little or even grown up person feel safe and feel loved and that reassurance that everything is going to be OK. As the weeks drew into months of sleepness nights with our little night owl, I soon learned that no matter how grumpy and tired I was, no matter how frustrated at how badly he slept, that feeling of love for him simply doesn't wane.
One of the things I was most worried about pre kids was the mundane monotony of it all. And sometimes now when we are reading the same Bing Bunny book for the 200th night in the row after the same bed time schedule that we have night after night I'm amazed at how I haven't got bored, and actually I wouldn't have it any other way. I'd do anything to keep this little monkey happy and I always will.. almost enough to bring a tear to my eye... almost.
I'm only just beginning my journey as a mother- Edith turns 8 months next week – and it already feels like she's been here all my life! I have huge respect for all mums out there. It is a challenging road with so many do's and don’ts, making it hard sometimes to navigate your own way.
Steph's daughter Edith and her Mum Nicola
I'm from a large family - 6 kids! Yes I know, how did my mum do it?! Set the practical part of being a mum to one side, it's all the emotion and constant worry of your children that terrifies me. Knowing that you can never switch OFF. Mum hasn't always been the most punctual or practical mum but she's always been there for us 100%, listening to each of us from our heartbreaks to work challenges, she's often on the phone to one of us for an hour at a time, giving us her advice and support. With 6 kids this can take up most her day! It's the constant emotional support and the belief that each of us is unique that I'm so grateful for. She is a best friend to all of us and something that I love about mum is that she is totally accepting of who we are - never wanting to change us.
I realise more and more that being a mum isn't valued enough in society despite it being the hardest of all jobs. Bringing children into this world is no easy task. As Edith and I muddle our way through the next months and years I hope I can pass on the love and support my mum has given me.