People without kids don’t know what they don’t know about having kids. Despite Kim Cattrall claiming the ‘mother’ title this week, on account of the mentoring work she does professionally and some babysitting she’s done for other people’s kids, you can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a parent until you are responsible for a small human that you have to keep alive every minute of every day.
I’m not undermining Cattrall’s great work with her fellow professionals and I’m sure she has many mama friends who are eternally grateful to her for taking their Smalls of their hands for a few hours a day, but listen up love, calling yourself a ‘mother’ without having kids is like me calling myself a ‘doctor’ without having come within a hair’s breadth of a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. Sure, I’ve watched enough ER and House to feel confident enough to perform CPR in a life or death situation and I could have a stab (literally) at a tracheotomy if the circumstance were really dire (all you need is a blade and a biro right?) but calling myself a ‘doctor’ in light of this would be pushing it.
I know that all things ‘mother’ are cool right now but there are certain pre-requisites that need to be fulfilled before you can claim the title. Top of the list is, unsurprisingly, to have a child. You don’t need to have pushed this child out of your vagina or through your sunroof, you don’t even have to be biologically responsible for making this child, but if you are responsible for keeping them alive and healthy every minute of every day (even if you do delegate occasionally) then you are a mother. Of course, the real tell-tale sign of being a mother is when the Small brings itself to refer to you in such a way. At that point, there is no denying it.
It’s not like donning a pair of charity shop, non-prescription glasses, growing a beard, wearing a vintage wedding dress, riding a penny-farthing and calling yourself a Hipster. The ‘mother’ term isn’t really that flexible. Of course, you can be ‘mothering’ and you can describe yourself as ‘maternal’. I’m not hating on Kim but it’s like a carrot calling itself a plum. It’s just not accurate. Maybe I’m a pedant, maybe I should just let it go, but not having children and calling yourself a ‘mother’ is taking the piss a bit, no?