Motherhood: The good, the bad and the adorable

Chrissie Swan ... "My kids have turned my life into a perpetual comedy festival."
Chrissie Swan ... "My kids have turned my life into a perpetual comedy festival." Photo: Julian Kingma

I know it’s commercialised and probably not very popular, but I really like Mother’s Day.

For me, being a mum is a wonderful thing. My kids are the best thing I’ve ever done and have turned my life into a perpetual comedy festival. But around Mother's Day, you’re going to read enough about the good parts of being a parent. The truth is some things are ruined forever the moment that baby is pushed or pulled out (such as never being able to bounce on a trampoline again). So on Mother's Day I celebrate being a mother, and mourn what went before.

Here are the things I miss:

1) Watching a whole series on DVD. Gone are the days of putting away an entire season of The Sopranos in a day. And maybe starting on Dexter in the evening. Nowadays I watch one episode of Tangle in 17 instalments. Pause is my best friend.

2) Shopping. It used to be that I would head off to a shopping centre on the spur of the moment in the afternoon with a vague idea of what I needed, maybe grab a takeaway coffee, buy expensive soap and pop into a few stores just to see what was going on in there. Now I have to be parked and poised by 9am. If I’m not powering down the aisles when the shopkeepers are flinging open their shutters for the day, it’s just not worth going. I only enter the shops I need to and if I have my kids with me, I have to stealthily navigate my way around the place, taking care to avoid pharmacies because Leo likes to do the grab-and-run. Especially sunglasses.

The truth is some things are ruined forever the moment that baby is pushed or pulled out (such as never being able to bounce on a trampoline again)

3) Movies. I only look at the back of the newspaper where all the movie listings are so I can see what I’ll book up when they come to Box Office on Foxtel. In six months’ time. The once or twice a year I do get around to getting Mum to come over and look after the kids so I can see a movie while it’s fresh, it’s only ever at 10am on a Sunday. As the lights go down and the ads for ice-creams start playing, I have been known to weep with joy.

And here are the things I adore:

1) Being woken up. Some weekend mornings at about 5.30am, I feel a presence at the bedroom door and when I rouse enough to see who’s there, I make out the curly little head of Leo, eyes wide in the darkness to make out if we’re awake. He has dragged his foam couch up the hallway and whispers, “Can me put my nest in your bed?”

2) Questions. Leo is full of questions about the world. I know hardly any of the answers and I assume that this will become even more of a challenge as he gets older and things like Pythagoras and relativity are bandied about. But at the moment I love questions like “Dad has a doodoo  … Is yours called a personal part?”, “Do lions wear T-shirts?” and “Is an avocado a girl or boy?”

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3) A sense of purpose. Never have I felt so accomplished as when I look at my children. Sure, I make a great New York cheesecake … but my goodness, those kids are the most delicious things I’ve ever cooked up.

4) Reality checks. It’s really easy to focus on things that aren’t right in the world. Kids have a way of sniffing out what’s intrinsically good in the world. It’s a skill that grown-ups have forgotten. Half an hour with my children is a crash course in optimism because for Leo, good = shoes that light up, warm milk, watering cans; bad = pine needles, prickles, white sauce. Positivity is infectious.

And so are school sores.

Chrissie Swan is the co-host of Mix 101.1’s breakfast show in Melbourne and 3pm Pick-Up nationally; Twitter: @chrissieswan. This article first appeared in Sunday Life.

What do you miss as a parent? And what do you love the most? Have your say in the Essential Baby forum.