When will I become a real mum?

I was at the park the other day and saw another mum wrangling with her kids. She had a toddler who was around 18 months and another child of school age.

She was pushing the toddler in the swing while supervising the bigger kid who was scooting around the path. She was chatting to the toddler and occasionally calling out to her older son not to deviate from the path and to avoid going near the road.

“Wow, that’s a real mum,” was my immediate thought. And for some reason, I didn’t think of myself like her. It made me wonder why I didn’t consider myself a ‘real mum’?

This woman was probably in her mid thirties and although I would like to think of myself as just a whisper above thirty, the reality is that at 33, I’m pretty much in my mid thirties as well.

She was wearing relaxed, casual clothes – jeans, a t-shirt and a pair of joggers. I’m hardly walking out of Vogue myself. I’ve had the same jeans since my mid twenties and have about 10 cardigans that I alternate throughout the week. I also have a pair of ‘mummy shoes‘, aka Birkenstocks.

Could it be because she has two kids and I only have one? Technically, I am a mum of two, however my first little boy was sadly stillborn in 2012. When strangers ask I usually say my daughter is an only child to avoid the awkwardness of explaining my sad history, but I still think of myself as a mum of two.

I wondered if it was the age of her kids, and I think that might be it. She has traversed through the maze of sleepless nights, playgroups, pre-schools and is into the world of school. Her child does after school activities, goes to proper parties and has independent friends.

Although my daughter is 16 months, I still feel new at it. I still feel like there is so much to learn, I haven’t even thought about toilet training, moving out of the cot or her talking in sentences. Much of the time we’re still guessing what our little girl wants.

Being a 'real mum' at Taronga zoo
Being a ‘real mum’ at Taronga zoo

I feel that when I’m a ‘real mum’ will be when I know what I’m doing. But does that mum really feel that way? Does she look at mums with teenagers and think ‘wow, she’s a real mum’.

I guess no mum really knows what she’s doing and that’s probably nothing to do with the definition of a ‘real mum’. My little one has recently started calling me ‘mum mum mum’ (definite improvement to her previous name for me – dad). I guess as she considers me a ‘real mum’, that’s all that matters.

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