Every inch of me is non-maternal. Although I always imagined that by the age of 25, I’d magically transform into a Marge Simpson/ Kirstie Alsopp hybrid creation of motherly awesomeness, that sadly didn’t happen. Even when I fell pregnant, I found myself weighing up the few pros of parenthood versus the numerous huge inconveniences.
Selfish as that sounds, that doesn’t mean that I am incompetent and unloving as a parent. Not having the skill to bake individual fruit pies and handcraft mantelpiece ornaments does not mean that I don’t absolutely derangedly adore my son. I’ve been utterly besotted and obsessed with him since the second he was born- despite him initially being a bit weird-looking and me being distinctly pissed off about my blindingly painful nether regions… (26 stitches, in case you were wondering).
My son is now 4 and has just started school. I have a full-time job that I love and in which I want to progress as far as I possibly can. Because of my career aspirations, my son spends the equivalent of a whole day per week with child minders. He eats more chicken nuggets and biscuits than a lot of parents would deem to be appropriate and in fact because of his fussiness, he rarely has the same evening meal as us. He has a tablet as well as books and toys, and sometimes he’s allowed to stay up way past his bedtime so we can watch a film or build a train set. Our Christmas decorations were bought from the supermarket, not crafted at home as a family activity while we all wear festive knitwear.
But why does any of that matter when he is happy, healthy and has a Mummy and Daddy who love him?
Women like me are so lucky to live in a time when it’s not socially compulsory to give up your aspirations and change your character to fit a stereotype just because you also want to bear children. No longer does a woman need to spend her days in a floral pinny, gliding around the family home with a duster while a homemade loaf of bread bakes in the oven.
It’s OK to have dreams that are only for you. It’s OK to not comment on every photo on Facebook of strange-looking kids on their first day of school. It’s OK to not attend every crap event hosted by the Parent Association. Because none of that is really important.
What is important is to ensure that you are happy being you. A happy parent is a happy child. So if, like me, you are a Non-Maternal Mother, play The Parenting Game your way and take advantage of the new normal.
Non-Maternal Mums unite and be proud!