Obsolete mommy
If my kids don’t need me anymore, who will? Tracy Engelbrecht worries.
It’s 5.30 on a Saturday morning and I’m wide awake. It’s only just thinking about getting light but the birds are up and at it, the smug bastards. I should be sleeping. Oh God, I want to be sleeping. Ha bloody ha, says the universe. This was YOUR idea, remember?

Since 5am I’ve said the following things:
  1. Just five more minutes, please? I beg of you, just give me five more minutes
  2. Aaah, aren’t you just the cutest thing when you wake up?
  3. Hey! Don’t jump on my head!
  4. Tables are not for eating
  5. No biting your sister
  6. Do you need to wee? No weeing on the carpet remem… uh oh, too late
No, there isn’t a new toddler in my house. We have a puppy. Some masochistic bright spark with too much time on their hands (no prizes for guessing who) thought it would be a lovely idea. What possessed me, you ask? I think I know.

My nephew is 3 years old, much younger than my own children. He’s a delightful boy, full of questions, energy and cuddles. 

Watching my sister running around after him, I tried to remember what it was like when mine were that small. Was I also so busy? Could I too hold two conversations and a wriggling boy at the same time? Was I unable to go to the toilet alone, ever? Did I also wake up 7 times a night for 5 years?  Were my ankles  chapped from months of sitting barefoot on the carpet building garages? My mother assures me that indeed, it was exactly so. But I honestly couldn’t remember.

And now it’s all coming back to me like déjà vu on tik.

I’m way out of practice with this type of parenting. My children are now at the stage where we’re able to have long leisurely chats about the meaning of life over tea and muffins. Made by them.

I can sleep in, if I like, because guess what?  They can get their own breakfast! Heck, they can make ME breakfast. Pack their own school lunches. Dress themselves in clothes other than Superman suits. No more weeing on the carpet. No biting of sisters. Nobody jumps on my head (very often), or demands that I be the red motorbike at midnight, but Not Like That, Mommy!

So now I begin to wonder… what is it, exactly, that I DO these days? My mothering at the moment consists mostly of talking. Have you done this, why did you do that, how does this make you feel, you can’t do that because of the following 12 well-reasoned arguments.  Yak yak yak. And so on.

With all this time and energy to myself, am I still a proper mommy?  I could, if so inclined, have a candlelit bubblebath at the drop of a hat. Isn’t a bubblebath drought one of the ultimate features of motherhood? I feel like a bit of an impostor, to be honest.

You don’t have to be Freud to get why we now have a smelly bouncy bundle of fluff in the house. Mommy’s feeling obsolete.


6am. Having dragged me out of bed and made me sit and watch while he plays with his squeaky ball; the little bugger is now snoring at my feet, farting softly in his sleep.  

Ah, good times.

Do parents have a built-in obsolescence date?

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