Mother, cleaner, teacher, psychologist, chef, nurse, artist, police negotiator, dietician, rescue worker, party planner, accountant and counsellor. These are roles that we all play in our every day job as a mum.


There are times when I play so many roles that I get confused. As well as the day to day things I do, I have the individual personalities in my household to manage …. I have the perfectionist, the drama queen (who, believe it or not is not me!), the logician, and the ratbag. Like all mums, I have to be able to understand and interpret for each family member – I have to speak fluent Hysteria, Youngest Child Outrage, and Human Interactions 101 for my beloved but socially challenged eldest.

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As mums, we have to be multi-lingual, able to shift roles at the drop of a hat, and somehow be both organised and flexible to meet our family’s demands. Is there any wonder that sometimes we feel a bit…. stretched????


I have had stretchmarks for 11 years now – and I have to say, they are impressive in their scale. The marks on my skin however are nothing compared to the ones I have gained on my heart, soul and mind since becoming a parent. I have been stretched in ways I never thought I could be.

I have experienced pain when my children didn’t fit in; I have flared up like a fire when justice was needed. I have needed to confront spiders and do whatever it took to protect my children from harm. I have survived disheartening doctor’s visits, public temper tantrums, vomiting bugs, broken bones. I have wondered with the addition of each child if I would be able to stretch myself to nurture and care for another child – and I have found that a mother’s heart has no limit.

I still have moments of exhaustion and confusion where I am not sure if I can accommodate another task, or deal with one more misunderstanding. The truth is, parenting is not easy – it uses every part of our hearts and minds, and stretches us beyond what we think we can handle. The funny thing is, once we know it isn’t meant to be easy we can just shrug our shoulders and get on with it.

I have never minded my visible stretchmarks; they remind me that I am a mother. The invisible ones remind me that I’m not the person I was 11 years ago – they remind me that as my children grow, so do I. I’m thankful for my three miracles, and I will take the stretching. It’s worth it.

Cate Stephens
MOPS writing team


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