By Blake Mannes
There is no concrete way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Some of us spend the day expressing our gratitude towards the hard work and devotion of our Mothers, while it can be a day of mourning for those who have lost theirs.
For me, Mother’s Day is unique. While I mourn the loss of my Grandmother, I am also lucky enough to be able to celebrate the presence of two amazing mothers in my life.
Growing up with two Mum’s wasn’t always functional. My (biological) parents split up when I was young, and when I was six, my Mum (Janelle) started dating Michelle.
Raised in the very conservative town of Coleambally, Western NSW, I faced adversity and bullying in primary school because of their unconventional relationship, so different from the norm of a country town of only 600 residents.
I remember my sister once invited a friend around for a sleep over, only for her to turn around and say no because her Mum didn’t want her daughter being around a same sex couple.
Their relationship wasn’t widely accepted, and I quickly came to realise that school yard bullying is sometimes a result of what parents speak about at the dinner table.
It forced me to grow up a lot quicker, and while it sometimes took an army to perform the tasks of cutting down a tree or building a flat-pack, I wouldn’t have had my childhood any other way.
I vividly remember them both spending a fortune on Fox Racing gear to wear with me as I first learnt how to ride a motorbike. Even better, they bought their own motorbike to share the experience with me. No matter how big or how small the milestone was, they would find a way to include themselves and treat me with the utmost importance.
To me, Mothers should be celebrated every day. Looking back at my childhood, I can’t imagine how difficult raising children whilst trying to maintain a substantial level of self-care would have been. Luckily enough, I had two Mums on the job.
Because of my Mums, I learnt the most fundamental life lessons so early on in life and I am still learning from them every day. Whether it be general life advice or career direction, these are three of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from my Mums.
The majority of my friends would describe me as ambitious, and I am adamant that is a direct result of my Mums’ trajectory while I was growing up.
In my 20 years of living, my Mums have had five businesses between them. Whilst we often romanticize the idea of building something from the ground up and working for ourselves, they have taught me that career life is cutthroat and it takes some serious grit to put yourself out there.
With them I have celebrated their greatest triumphs and experienced their lowest of lows. When times are rough, I am often told to “be a man”, but both of my Mums have shown me a display of resilience like no other.
Society is no stranger to the narrative that it is a man’s job to work and provide for a family whilst the woman is supposed to stay home and attend to house duties. If this is something a husband and wife are comfortable with, that is more than ok. However, I watched both Janelle and Michelle do it all.
From this, I learnt women’s capabilities are unrivalled.
The women in my life often apologise in advance for mentioning details of their reproductive health or even for slightly touching on the topic. For years, my response has always remained the same:
“Don’t apologise, I’ve grown up in a house full of women.”
Both my Mums never hid their state of health from me and from this, I never raised an eyebrow when the topic was brought up.
In school, I would always be confused when my peers were dismissive of touching on the issue. While most view talk of menstrual cycles and reproduction as taboo, it is something I have never been blanketed from. After all, it is just human nature.
If speaking about this is something you are uncomfortable with, that is fine. However, if someone else wishes to speak about it, that is ok too. This is a sentiment I have carried through my life and I only have my Mums to thank for that.
Let’s face it, housework probably isn’t your first choice of leisure, but why should Mum have to do it? No matter what your family dynamic is, this lesson is something we can all take away.
To help out with my Mums’ demanding work schedule, I would always make an effort to clean up after myself and assist them in making dinners.
Most Mums tend to say they can handle the workload and they can do the housework, but why do they deserve less rest than us?
Both of my mothers had no shame in asking for help around the house, and I learnt that everyone is equal in a household. There is no reason to why you shouldn’t help out.
So, no matter what your attitude towards Mother’s Day is, reflecting on the amazing lessons you’ve learnt from your mother figures in your lifetime is a gift within itself on this special day.
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