MY SAY: Oh baby, precious memories are truly priceless

IS IT just me or does everyone wonder when you stop being a mother?

My kids are grown-ups.

Being their mum is the only job that has ever mattered to me but the baby is 19. So what am I now?

My kids sometimes ask my opinion but not too much. Most of the time I think they make really good decisions.

The stuff they do that drives me crazy, like wasting money, drinking too much and leaving things until the last minute might be hereditary, so I rarely comment.

John and I know we're lucky because we've still got kids at home. But they don't need us for much anymore.

The truth is, I would go back and do it all again.

I was a working mum so it was organised chaos most of the time.

Slapped together school lunches, lost permission slips, forgotten assemblies and very little home bake.

If I went back again I don't know if I'd be different. Probably not because I got the most important thing right, I loved them with all my heart.

There was nothing perfect about my kids. They were all messy, lazy and they loved to argue.

They would fight like cat and dog, hide rotting food between the couch cushions and howl like bludgeoned wolves if I forgot to cut the crusts off a sandwich. But even on the days we were all at our worst, I could only see how much I loved them.

When Milli would hog the TV remote or refuse to make room on the couch, I could only see the big sister who would share her last lolly, or lift the cover of her doona and let her baby sister in to sleep.

Jemima isn't loud all the time but when she was upset as a kid, it's fair to say the neighbours knew what was up at the Hutchinsons.

It's fair to say that now actually. Her very first words were "No! Mummy naughty!". But when I look back I can only hear her giggling on the trampoline or singing all day every day, in bed, doing homework, in the shower and walking behind me in the supermarket.

Gabe is in the dying throes of a law degree but he's been arguing with us since he first recognised the inherent prejudice of implied parental dominion. He was six.

Yes, it's been exhausting. He's a grown man now, tall, charming and takes great care of his sisters.

But when he comes bounding up the stairs every night, still in a shirt and tie from a long day at work, I can only see the dimpled toddler in denim overalls and red boots, running at me not so long ago, crying, "Up, mummy, up!"

Time moves too fast. I'm sad they don't need me so much anymore but as every parent knows, they will always be my babies.

Happy Mother's Day to you too, no matter how big they are.


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