100,000 Socks: What It Really Means to Be a Mum

What does it really mean to be a mum? One simple word. Socks.

Socks? I hear you say. Why socks?

Well here’s some mummy mathematics for you. I was pairing socks the other day when it occurred to me.

There’s 5 pairs of feet in my family.

2 socks per pair is 10 socks per day.

Which makes 70 socks a week.

That’s 3640 socks a year.

And over let’s say 25 years of child raising/sock washing, over 91,000 socks.

Throw in school socks, soccer socks, bed socks and I-just-felt-like-new-socks socks, and safe to say that your average mum will handle over 100,000 socks in her parenting lifetime.

100,000 socks.

Washed. Hung up. Taken down. Paired and finally put away. To start their non-stop sock cycle all over again.

And yes the socks start out so little and sweet. Kind of like your kids. All cute colors and little pictures and a few frills.

But now I’m dealing with big smelly sweaty stained-with-who-knows-what socks. Whoever said don’t sweat the small stuff never washed my kids’ socks. They’re small, very sweaty and stink.

And yet I’m grateful for all those socks. Because they are a symbol of what it means to me to be a mum.

For baby socks that meant we were starting our family.

For toddler socks covered in chaos, squished grapes and spilt yogurt.

Superhero kinda socks full of sand from outside adventures.

Soft fuzzy bed socks for stories and snuggles and sweet good-night-I-love-yous.

For tangled ballet tights from that (thankfully brief) ballerina stage.

Not so much for the soccer socks, stained, sweaty and soggy.

All those thousands of school socks for the gift of education, many dug out frantically from the clothes basket moments before dashing out the door.

Smart corporate socks for the opportunities work brings.

Big woolly camping socks from family adventures.

Short sweaty gym socks from staying healthy.

And finally holes-in-the-toes socks, worn out from living lives full of fun.

But for all that gratitude, it’s still a lot of socks. And yet to me, it’s somehow symbolic of what it means to be a mum: taking care of all the small seemingly insignificant details that together add up to a life full of love.

And I finally understand why my mum used to scream when we walked outside in our socks.

It wasn’t our feet she was worried about. It was our socks.


Avatar of Kerry Rosser

I love my three country kids - and all things writing! Like most mums, I wear lots of hats - writer, children's author, organisational psychologist and the pairer of the odd socks!

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