I read an interesting article about the difference being a ‘parent’ and being ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad.’ It was written on the back of Mother’s Day, so for the sake of this exercise, I will write ‘Mum’ instead of both ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ to make it flow better, but it’s not in anyway to discount the wonderful Dads out there.
It essentially said, that being a ‘Mum’ has the nurturing, emotional tone. If a child wants their ‘mum’, they want someone to look after them, defend them, feed them, help them, do everything to show them that they are being loved. Whereas, when a child talks about his/her ‘parents’, it has a more practical and rational tone. The word usually comes up more in the teenage years, and usually they need to talk to their ‘parents’ to see if they can go out, get some money off them, get them to drive them somewhere. The child treats their parents as more of a negative imposition, than their loving caring ‘mum.’
And I so get that… friends and people I come across, in their adult lives, often refer to their ‘Mum’ as ‘Mum’ because their ‘Mum’ has been the most supportive, loving, nurturing person who has always been there for them, been there for them at their graduation with flowers of congratulations, shed tears for them when they got married, helped them with all the uncertainty when they had their own babies, picked up the kids from daycare when a work meeting went into overtime. A ‘Mum’ always has your back, no matter what.
Whereas, a ‘parent’ usually takes the back seat. They watch you from a distance, tell their friends what you are up to, but don’t actively participate in your life. They see that their job is done in raising you once you leave home, and it’s now up to you to make your own mistakes or create your own successes. They don’t encourage you, they don’t give you surprise gifts for being their child, they are always too busy in their own lives to help you in yours, they just exist in your life, as your life-givers.
A ‘Mum’ will give you a Mothers Day gift because you too are a Mum. A ‘parent’ won’t give you a Mothers Day gift because she sees herself as being the matriarch, and you are not ‘her’ mother.
Sometimes, throughout your life, you will find that your ‘Mum’ might certainly turn into your ‘parent’ as she go through menopause or some other life-changing event, and it’s true the other way, that your ‘parent’ might all of a sudden become your ‘Mum’ because a life-changing event has happened, like she may have lost her husband to death or divorce, so she starts becoming more nurturing in her life because she needs to feel needed.
I’m sure those who have ‘Mums’ in their lives couldn’t imagine their mother being just a ‘parent.’ Where those who have a ‘parent’ in their lives would dearly love having a ‘Mum.’
I know I strive to be a ‘Mum,’ and I had one of those days that prove it… My oldest son forgot it was inter-school sports day and completely forgot to take his hockey gear to school. I was on my way to an appointment when he called. I turned around, called my appointment to say I would be half an hour late, I rushed home, got his stuff, took it to school hoping the sports bus hadn’t left otherwise I would have had to go to the hockey field a few suburbs away, making me later, but luckily they hadn’t left, and I got to my appointment only twenty minutes late. Once I got to my appointment, I had a text message from my youngest son’s friend’s mum saying that he had left his school bag at home… so Mum to the rescue… after my second appointment, I rushed home picked up his bag, took it to the school and I had a happy little man. Whereas, a ‘parent’ would say ‘tough – you left it at home, you deal with the consequences.’ To me, being a Friday, I know how hard my sons have worked on their homework all week, and if they didn’t have their bag with their homework and their lunch in it, it would have been unfair that one little slip up could jeopardise all the effort they had put in. So I couldn’t be a ‘parent’ I had to be a ‘Mum.’
So this Mothers Day, try to be a ‘Mum’ for all the single Mums out there who have no one to spoil them, and show them that they are actually doing a fantastic job in being a ‘Mum.’