She’s not my ‘real’ mum…

January 27, 2011 in Latest, Life

How Could You Do This To Me, Mum?
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She’s not my real mum…

That’s what I used to say to my friends at school when my step-mum had done something particularly embarrassing. For embarrassing read:

- tell me off for bunking off school
- send me to school in hideous shoes
- make me put a coat on in the cold

or any number of other ‘mum’ type things that mums do.

“She’s not my real mum”

As if that made her contribution not matter, like she was some annoying fly I was flicking away.

But if the truth be known, without my ‘not real mum’ I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

See, my ‘real’ mum was no sort of mum at all. When I was 18 months old, she left me with a neighbour while she went shopping. And she never came back.

My dad was in the Navy at the time, I was miles away from any family, and she walked out and (as you will see later in this blog) never looked back.

Luckily my grandparents took me in, and I ended up in a very loving family, my Dad left the Navy in the end and met Susan, who loved him enough to take on a child who was confused and angry at the world. In that day and age, single parent fathers were a rare occurrence, so to my mind she’s one of the bravest women I know!

But still I used to dream about my ‘real’ mum.

Maybe she left me to go and make some money and one day she would be back.

Maybe she met her Prince Charming and had to persuade him that having me around would be good.

Maybe she just needed to get her head together and would come back for me one day.

Because my step mum wasn’t my ‘real mum’.

She was the one to mop up the tears, make the rules, fight with me when I didn’t want to go in the bath, make me tidy my room, shout at me for being rude. My ‘real mum’ wouldn’t do that. She was a princess in a fairy tale castle, who would be all soft words and cuddles, never telling me off or chastising me, never having a cross word to say…

Throughout the years, my ‘real mum’ didn’t show up, didn’t come back to claim me, didn’t get in touch, and didn’t appear at all. Oh I made all the excuses for her, but really there were none.

I thought about finding her when I had my first child, when I got married, when my grandparents died – but I didn’t do anything about it until 2 years ago. A friend of mine had got back in touch with her 2 sons she hadn’t spoken to for many years, and it went so well I thought my story could have a happy ending too.

So with the help of the internet I looked for my ‘real mum’. And boy did I find her.

Unfortunately she had died when I was in my teens. But what I found amazed me even more. A half sister, abandoned in the same way I had been, ten years before I was born. A half sister my father knew nothing about.

Unlike me, my half sister had been contacted by our mother on her deathbed and had had the chance to meet her, years after she also was left while her father was away in the Navy (there’s something about a sailor, eh girls?)

I had nieces and nephews I knew nothing about, and great nephews too – me, a great auntie!

Maggie knew nothing about me – even on her deathbed our mother had said nothing about me, the child she abandoned ten years after she abandoned her.

The hurt can’t be explained – even now it makes me cry, but you know who I turned to when it all became too much?

That’s right, my step mum.

My ‘not real’ mum.

The woman who gave up her single life and took on another man’s child, put up with my crappy behaviour, supported me when I was pregnant at 18, and again when I decided to set up my own business at 21. The woman who still calls me all the time to make sure I’m OK, who cried at my wedding and again at my divorce, who looked after my daughter so I could work and earn money, who feeds me way too much when I go and visit and who cares about what happens to me and her granddaughters.

Now THAT’S a real Mum.


Nikki Pilkington runs Internet Marketing Company, based in the UK & France, specialising in Social Media Marketing and SEO for the SME.

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