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Mums talk about being mums for Mother’s Day

What does Mother’s Day mean to you? What do you love about being a mum? Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes asked a bunch of mums to tell us what their life is like.

The time is here for Mother’s Day content. In the hopes of finding you some quality out-of-the-mouths-of-babes content I asked my four-year-old if he had anything he wanted to say to me about Mother’s Day. He touched my face gently, his blinking blue eyes gazing up at me. “Mama,” he said.

“Mama if I seen a shark I would stap it ina eye an I would stab it so hard ina eye blood be everywhere I stab it till it’s all dead and has no eye at all”.

So I decided to crowdsource this piece. What does Mother’s Day mean to mums? Maybe that could be a story rather than shark killing four-year-olds.

I thought I’d kick off with the new Mother of the Nation, Hilary Barry. I met her once and she looks so ethereal. Like some kind of magical nightly news reporter who I wanted to be best friends with and drink fancy wine with and be like OH HILARY MY FRIEND every time she made a joke that I laughed too loudly at.

I sniffed her.

So we’re starting with Hilary. What does Mother’s Day mean to her? “If you’re a mother with  young children good luck with that whole “breakfast in bed” routine. We all know it’s never a treat for Mum – it’s Fear Factor on a tray. Just count down the minutes in your head until you can send your significant other out to buy you a triple shot flat white. And for everyone else, treasure those hugs.”

What do you love the most about being a mum?

The hugs, absolutely the hugs. The ones in the middle of the night when a little person has a bad dream and needs a cuddle and now, when those huge gangly arms wrap around you at the end of a school day. – Queen Hilary Barry

I love watching my daughter grow, and develop into this incredible kid. It’s been mindblowing to learn that we are born with fully formed personalities. I feel like my kid was born with the qualities that make her her: extroverted, sweet, funny, empathetic, smart. My favourite thing about being a mum is fostering those qualities, and making sure she has what she needs to thrive. It’s also really special to know someone so well, and be so in tune with their moods and emotions. – Gem, mum of one, Wellington

The snuggles are pretty great, and the hilarious conversations are next level. I also love meeting other mums – through my kids I have met some amazing women that I doubt I would never have crossed paths with if it weren’t for the great fortune of procreating around the same time. Kids can also provide you with great excuses to get out of things you don’t really want to do. – Jane, mum of three, Auckland

Jane Yee and her son LV, 5, and twins Maisie and Jude.

I love that from the first instant you know you are going to be a parent you wonder “who will they be?” Then you have a baby and you wonder “who are you?” Then you have a child and they show you. Our children aren’t blank slates to be written on by us, they are their own selves and being party to that becoming is a real joy and privilege. – Francesca, mum of two, an expat in Denmark

That for foreseeable future I have the perfect alibi for being in farmyard animal petting zoos.  – Angela, mum of three, Hamilton.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, watching my kids grow and develop into loving little people with strengths, characteristics and ideas of their own has been really incredible. That and the endless supply of fart jokes. – Anna, mum of two, Auckland

I love how I can see my future in my kids. Also my kids have kept me up to date with music! I was so afraid I was going to become one of those middle aged parents who get stuck in a music timewarp and only listen to Classic Hits and the Breeze FM. But my kids are constantly downloading new music onto my phone and playing it while we’re driving places – 96.7% of it is unmitigated shite, but occasionally some of it is good. I am glad to get to still feel hip and with-it occasionally. – Xina, mum of three, Christchurch

I love the cuddles and the kisses and the laughter. And the “mama” throughout the day (and night). – Kerryanne, mum of one, Auckland

Kerryanne and her daughter Lucy Bernadette (18 months)

The unending love. Being a mum is hard and the hard stuff is what we’re told to think about before becoming parents, but it is outweighed by the unending and unconditional love I feel within myself for, and that I get back from, my child. – Tamsyn, mum of one, Wellington

The snuggles. Both my boys are extremely affectionate and snuggly kids. They literally live ON me. I’m usually carrying both the toddler and baby and if I’m on the couch, they sit on me, if I’m in bed, they snuggle up right next to me – my poor husband ends up in the bunk bed in the boys’ room most nights. The only time they are not attached to me is when I’m at work and I miss them incredibly and feel like I’m missing a limb! Cuddles from your children are the absolute best thing about motherhood, for me anyway and they make up for the sleepless nights, utter chaos and sheer exhaustion. – Althea, mum of two, Auckland

Learning about the world all over again through three new sets of growing eyes. – Juliet, mum of three, Christchurch

The thing I love most about being a mum is the random cuddles or kisses that you get. Like I can be having the worst kind of day and I want to scream at life and then along comes Mr 1 reaching up saying “Māmā”, and then he cuddles me and pats my back really gently and gives me a big UMAAAAA with his open-mouth slobber! The random cuddles and kisses are THE BEST THING ABOUT MUM LIFE!  – Emmaline, mum of three, West Auckland

Emmaline and her three babies – Rico, Rae-Dawn and Xavier

Being a mum can be such hard work, and it’s often in the little in-between moments that I feel my heart swell… Hearing the house resonate with peels of laughter, feeling tiny hands reach for my face in the dark and getting home from work to the sound of “Mumma!”, and the delicious snuggles that follow. – Melody, mum of two, Wellington

What has being a mum taught you?

The best lesson I’ve learnt is to chill the hell out. It doesn’t matter if the house is a mess or you suspect your teens may not have used soap or shampoo for a month. What matters is this: Are they warm? Are they fed? Are they loved? Are they happy?  – Hilary

Being a mum has taught me that I have far more patience than I ever realised. It’s also taught me to advocate, for myself and for my kid. – Gem

Patience – of which I had zero before kids. I’m yet to figure out how to translate my saintly Mum-patience to interacting with adults though. – Melody

Being a mum has taught me that my own mum was a bloody legend. Who knew it was this intense to raise kids? I would never have been such a brat or picky eater if I’d known then what I know now. Being a mum has also taught me that women are really insanely strong and fragile at the same time. Motherhood is like walking a tightrope every day – it takes superhuman skill and determination to get to the other side (bedtime) and very little to send you arse about face in a puddle on the floor. – Jane

That at the end of a typically long and fraught day, a cuddle and hearing “I love you Mummy” goes a long way. – Francesca

That you do your best work when your children are sick. – Angela

Gratitude, acceptance, anger management, persuasive eating techniques, stain-removal, how to talk to kids, how to play with kids, appreciation, that sleep is key, that prioritising myself near the top of the list makes me a better parent, that every parent has something they’re struggling with, that Pak n Save has the nicest check out operators. – Anna

Anna and her two daughters

That life is short and time is precious. It’s taught me appreciation and compassion for my own mum. I find millennials (like my eldest and his friends) inspiring! They teach me so much. I admire their impatience and different priorities immensely, and they just seem to be a nicer, more open and generous bunch of souls than my generation were, and maybe less prone to confusing earning potential with self-worth. I actually think they have their life priorities so much better balanced than any other generation before them. Blanket generalisation of course, but formed from parenting and working with young millennials. – Xina

That I’m a control freak and need to be less of one. That my life isn’t about me anymore and I’m totally cool with that. That my mum is the greatest woman I know and I appreciate all she’s done for me, and still does. – Kerryanne

I’ve never been a patient person; I get antsy in queues, I find it hard to watch other people do things I can do better. But now I can read the same book four times in a row, sing the same song hundreds of times a day, and sit for 40 minutes and get food refused and dropped all over me and thrown on the floor, and I do it (mostly) quite calmly and happily in order to make sure Ārama is fed. – Tamsyn

Tamsyn and her son Ārama

Becoming a mum has made me realise that I am stronger than I thought. I’ve been astounded by how well I’ve been able to function and raise my children despite battling exhaustion and postnatal depression. In fact, it has made me realise that all mums are saints. – Althea

Mainly complete and utter unconditional love. And patience (a work in progress). – Juliet

It has taught me a million things but the biggest things would be to be kind and patient! Be kind and patient with the kids, my husband, strangers, the shopkeeper, the gas station attendant, the annoying co worker and most of all WITH MYSELF! – Emmaline

Gem and her daughter Kōwhai

What message do you have for others on Mother’s Day?

Value yourself as a mother. Give yourself a break for when it’s not perfect. Go with the flow. If you don’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day, don’t. If you want breakfast in bed and flowers and a huge fuss, I hope you get that. Just keep loving your kids, doing your best by them, and advocating for your family. – Gem

No mother is perfect but we all try our best. – Angela

Angela and her son Charlie

Mother’s Day can be lonely for those whose mothers have passed away. It isn’t that I miss my mother any less on any other day of the year, but the questions about what your plans are, the adverts reminding you to buy a card or chocolates, can cause the grief to surface. So for all those missing their mother, you are not alone when you give them a silent “thank you” this Mother’s Day. – Francesca

Treasure your mum because she’s bloody amazing. And if you’re a mum yourself, don’t worry what anyone else thinks, it’s okay to spend money on yourself, it’s okay to want and take time away from your kids, and of course – you’re bloody amazing. – Jane

It’s not all about presents. Write your mum a note or a card and tell her what she means to you. That’s all she wants. – Kerryanne

Cherish the good mums in your life. They need it and if they’re loved and supported, they’ll be all the better at cherishing and supporting our next generation. – Tamsyn

Melody Thomas and her son Bo and daughter Sadie

Call your mum and tell her you love her. That’s what I hope my boys will do every Mother’s Day no matter how old or where in the world they are. That’s what’s most important, isn’t it? That you love your kids and they love you. – Althea

If you’re a mum and you get to have a shower with the door closed today, you’re winning. – Juliet

If there’s any day to give yourself something, it’s Mother’s Day. It might not be a material item, it might be half an hour to yourself, or delegation of a job you loathe – something that will feel like a little reward for doing an amazing job for your family. – Anna

DRINK ALL THE WINE! DO IT! THE WHOLE BOTTLE! LIVE IT UP MAMA! Oh and always drink water before bed with a Panadol after drinking all the wine! – Emmaline

Finally, in the words of Angela – what does Mother’s Day mean for her?

“It means I get to make my boys happy by lying in bed and trying not to die while I hear them wreck my kitchen to make me some burnt toast and cold cup of tea and when I see their smiles as the spill it all over my expensive duvet I will be the richest person in the world. ”

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