rita brassington


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The Other Side

By r brassington, Jan 10 2018 09:08AM

I don’t want to be one of those mums who talks about their baby and nothing else, that I’ve never had any other life and I was born to be a parent and how often does your baby sleep…it can be infuriating for non-parents and I get it.

There is a life outside motherhood, just like there was a life before, and one after, when your child doesn’t need you to wipe their bottom anymore and persuade them sprouts are delish. I once heard that between the ages of 20-40, you’re in the ‘fat, fillet steak part of life.’ Not to say the other fifty or so years are the fat to trim off, but the fillet is probably when most of your life happens, including, maybe, having children.

It’s not a time to wish for the next stage, for your baby to now sit, or feed themselves, or not need a bottle anymore, or sleep through the night. If you are a parent, it’s bloody hard work and sometimes feels impossible, but it’s also a time to enjoy and not waste. One day I’ll want my daughter to need me, and one day she’ll have her own fat, fillet steak to enjoy.

When my daughter was about three months old, I met my friend Jayne for lunch, and, as usual, there was need for a nappy change. These are usually located in the disabled toilets, so after a poo explosion, I’d occupied the loo for quite a while. When I came out, there was an older lady with a walking stick waiting to come in. I apologised for making her wait so long but she reached out for Mina’s hand and said ‘are you being good for your mummy? It’s hard, isn’t it, but it’s worth it when they smile.’

In that second, I realised she’d been where I was, years before. She’d had broken sleep and babies who scream and now she was on the other side, looking back, but she’d still been that mum. People lead many lives, ones they miss, enjoyed, and in that one statement she’ll never remember, she made me appreciate mine a little more.

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