Share this page:

Friday, 12 January 2018

The Mother Next Door

The coiffured banker's wife puts the children to bed, then sits alone in her mansion waiting for a husband who'll be home late again. Her fingers are painted and her handbag Dior, but she risks more than a broken nail if she questions his absence.

She must have the perfect life, thinks the new mum who sits sobbing in the dark, desperately searching the internet for an answer to why her baby won't stop crying. She tries to comfort him, but he seems to sense her anguish and the misinterpreted rejection cuts deeper into her fraying inner strength.

"She has it so much easier with one," says the mother of two. "At least she can sleep when the baby sleeps. She's so lucky," she sighs, as she is tag-teamed by her toddler's lunchtime protestations and the baby's carrot puree splatter art. When, for the tenth time that day, her eldest takes a disliking to the baby's mere existence, and she wonders again if she has what it takes to be what they need.

"Two is a doddle!" scoffs the mother of three. "At least she has the same number of hands as children! She's so lucky," she says, as she wonders how to meet the loan interest payments for the people carrier on the driveway. The guilt multiplies as she unfairly judges herself on her ability to give her children equally the attention they deserve.

"I don't know how she can moan with only three," the mother of six mutters, desperately needing a minute's break from the daily cycle of wash, dry, iron, repeat. I'm always in demand, never free; never without someone tugging on my arm for something or other. And do they even know how much it costs to feed a family of eight?"

"I wish I had that much support," sighs the single mum, watching the mother of six's teenage son playfully distracting his baby brother whilst helping his mum load the shopping bags into the car. The single mum picks up the phone again and re-dials her ex's number, hoping this time the promises remain intact.

She must enjoy so many cherished moments, thinks the working mum, awash with guilt as she swipes through pictures of her child giggling delightedly in the arms of someone else. She turns back to her computer, disappointed to find the only part time opportunities available are effectively a demotion. The pay doesn't even cover childcare.

"She's so lucky to have it all," whispers the woman in the clinic. The woman born to fit the role of 'MOTHER' so well it could be stamped on her soles and sewn into her seams. The woman who longs to feel the aches and pains and sickness of pregnancy, but upon whom Mother Nature has never granted that blessing. The woman with the longing gaze and the hollow heart.

But the doctor has good news. The results are positive and suddenly she is flying. She smiles in the mirror, seeing a baby swaddled in cloth reflected before her. Then muddy boots and school ties. Then a young man at an alter and maybe, just maybe, more little fingers begging for cookies at the kitchen counter top.

Meanwhile, the banker's wife fingers the bruises on her ribs and finding a strength she never knew she had, rises from her chair. She calls Refuge, packs her bags and takes the kids out of school. This fight is not just for her, but for them too.

The new mum calls the health visitor, dropping the facade of a woman in control and sobs again. Though this time it's with relief, as she realises it's OK to ask for help when you need it.

The mother of six declares 'enough is enough' and calls the mother of two, who immediately books herself a babysitter and steers her old friend out of the door. "Take some time, love," she says, "I'll sort this lot." 

Later that night, the mother of three calls the mother of two, warning her husband, "Friday night is ladies' night". He gives her the thumbs up. "No problem," he replies.

The single mum, instead of relaying another apology, realises her love is enough, that she is enough and her son already has the strong and compassionate role model he needs.

The working mum eyes herself in the mirror, scrutinising the clean lines of her tailored dress and the shine of her new shoes. A better life is there for the taking. She needs it. She deserves it. Gripping her CV tightly, she strides confidently into the lobby and presents herself for interview. Nothing is going to hold her back.

Mum Muddling Through


Two Tiny Hands

Lucy At Home

Shank You Very Much


  1. Thank you what a super read #Blogstravaganza

  2. What a lovely, thought-provoking post. #Blogstravaganza

  3. A very intriguing read. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  4. What a charming and poignant piece of writing. I think we are all guilty of looking on at others and lolling in self pity, when in fact, as you beautifully articulate, things may not always be as they seem. I love the positivity in the ending, and that all of these women have a shoulder to lean on.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to share with #coolmumclub

  5. I love this. There are so many versions of motherhood. We need to respect everyone else's position. The grass is not always greener.

  6. Wonderful writing. Being a woman can be so complicated. You've put things very well here x

  7. This is brilliant. We can all be guilty of looking at others and thinking they have it better/easier than us. If we just communicate more and offer and ask for help we would soon see that no-ones life is perfect.

  8. A great read!!! Good job! #Blogstravaganza!

  9. This is wonderfully written and says a lot - I'll try to remember this post when I have children xx


  10. Wow, this gave me goosebumps! What an amazing piece of thought provoking writing, I loved every minute of it. Motherhood has it's challenges no matter what the situation and this highlights lots of them fantastically! Thanks for sharing at #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again tomorrow.

  11. Such clever,relatable post. I've definitely guilty of "grass is greener" thinking! #triumphanttales

  12. What a clever post and wonderfully written. Motherhood is so challenging and it's so easy to see how "easy" other people make it. We all have our challenges don't we? #TriumphantTales

  13. This is brilliant. SO thought-provoking, poignant and moving. You have shown how easy it is to judge others and compare ourselves to without fully knowing what's going on in someone else's life. I love how you use a powerful turning point to finish, what could have been such a sad story, so positively. Thank you for linking up to #thesatsesh xx

  14. This is brilliant! I love the web that's weaved and linked throughout. Motherhood is hard and especially in this modern social world it's easy to look at people and think they're better than your own lot. Fab ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  15. This is one thought provoking post. #thesatsesh

  16. Incredibly inspiring and thought provoking post! #BlogCrush

    Soffy //

  17. Oh gosh I am crying! This has to be one of the best blog posts I have EVER read - it's so balanced and yet you feel for every mum in the story. This post kind of summarises the best thing I've learnt from blogging - that no life is perfect. Reading blogs, you hear the struggles (and wins) of people from all walks of life and find that we're all much more similar than we ever realised. What a thought-provoking piece and I am definitely sharing.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much (understandably!), that they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your "I've been featured" blog badge :) #blogcrush

  18. Love this! It's written really well and really makes you stop and think about how what other people are going through, things might not be as oerfect for them as we think!

  19. Wow so well written and so true. We all have different circumstances and yet we all mothers. Sometimes we look at other people and think that they have it all but don't really know what is happening in their life. Really thought provoking #globalblogging

  20. Just popping back because this fabulous post was added to the blogcrush linky FOR A SECOND TIME! Congratulations #blogcrush

  21. This was so cleverly written. We are all guilty of making assumptions about others and judging ourselves too harshly. We should be brave enough to want more for ourselves and our families but also kind enough to appreciate the struggles of others. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging