I've been a mum now for nearly four years. But I still feel so new to all this and I have never managed to feel like I really am a mum. Like a proper grown up. I feel like I'm winging it, flailing along, hoping we all survive the day. I feel like every other mum I know is calm and composed and just knows what the heck she's doing, while I'm struggling with adulting.
Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to give me all this responsibility. Run a house, raise children, heck, even raising other people's children. Me? Really?! People ask me for help and advice, for my opinion, for my tips. Because I'm a mum of two, and I have two stepchildren, so surely I know what I'm doing. Right? But all the time I've been feeling like I don't quite cut it as a mum.
I don't know why it is. After Little N was born, I thought it might be related to his birth. Because I felt so responsible for everything that happened, so maybe the guilt, maybe the PTSD, was holding me back from embracing my new role in life. But J's birth went so smoothly, and yet I still didn't feel grown up enough to be a mum.
Other women seem to float along just being mums, just taking it all in their stride, and yet I didn't. It all felt... surreal.
I keep waiting for an epiphany.
A lightbulb moment.
For someone to flip a switch.
And yesterday it happened.
Yesterday, I suddenly felt like a mum.
"My want my... Mummy!"
It wasn't giving birth, it wasn't feeding, it wasn't bathing, it wasn't cuddling, it wasn't the sleepless nights, it wasn't the dressing, the playing, the stories. It wasn't any of that.
It was Little N falling over in the garden. It was him coming into the house in a flood of hot tears, with angry balled up fists and a bloody knee. Ian was downstairs, but Little N stopped in the hallway and wailed upstairs to where I was: "My want my... Mummy!"
It's me that he wanted, and only me. There was no-one else that could provide what he needed in that moment in time, other than me.
And that's what shot me through the heart and made me realise - I am a mum.