Leona O'Neill celebrates mothers everywhere

With Mother's Day fast approaching, Leona pays tribute to mums everywhere who are doing their best in a 'job' from which they can never retire

Being a mother is the hardest job a woman will ever have to do

BEING a mother is the hardest job any of us women will ever have to do.

It's unpaid work. Efforts often go completely unnoticed. There are no holidays. It's a lifetime commitment and there's no backing out.

Like a rollercoaster, it is the most amazing, yet terrifying thing you will ever do. There are days when you will be plummeting downhill at high speed screaming and crying in terror, other days laughing your head off at the sheer joy and madness of it all.

It's being different things to different people, big and small, and it's embracing the different stages because that's about all you can do.

It's pacing the floor all night with a colicy baby. It's keeping kamikaze-style toddlers safe. It's being there with a big, warm, comforting hug when things aren't going so well. It's holding little hands in yours.

It's listening when your teenager pours their heart out. It's being a strict no-nonsense rule enforcer one minute and a gentle smile-giver the next. It's being up all night with a sick child and all the glamour that goes with it.

It's trying to stay sane when all around you is descending into chaos. It's fighting your child's corner because there's no one else who can. It's holding everything together when life throws all it's got at you.

It's being a professional Olympic-standard worrier. It's being exhausted and exhilarated, scared and fierce, happy and heartbroken all within the space of one day. It's a positive rollercoaster of emotions if it's nothing else.

In my line of work, I meet so many mothers doing the most amazing, awe-inspiring, often gut wrenching, heartbreaking things day in, day out in their normal existence.

There's the mother who lost her vibrant and beautiful teenage daughter to cancer just weeks ago. As she grieves her loss she faces adverts on the television promising that this will be the best Mother's Day yet and cards in the shops which make her cry.

She is amazing for the life she gave her little one, the love and the laughter that surrounded her constantly when she was here on Earth and the courage she has shown throughout her precious daughter's illness.

There's the mother who faces terminal cancer herself. Every day she looks at her sons and wonders how they will be without her to guide them through life.

There's the foster mother who open her heart and her homes to children who have been often starved of love and affection all their little lives and no nothing but aggression and hostility. By giving them a loving, gentle home, a room of their own, compassion and understanding, these mums rebuild their lives.

There's the mothers-in-waiting, who pray for a miracle to happen and that IVF will work this time to give them the chance to hold their own son or daughter in their arms.

There's the single mothers holding it together like bosses, doing the 24-hour-a-day job of two people while still being able to smile.

There's the Kinship Care mothers, who have taken on a parenting role when a loved one can't manage or isn't here anymore to care for their children. There's the working mothers, the stay-at-home mothers, the teenage mothers, the older mothers still worrying about their children when they're 50.

We're all trying our very best at this motherhood thing, learning every day – often not getting it right – and being strong enough to put it behind us and start afresh the next day.

Happy Mother's Day to you – you are doing an amazing job.

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