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My experience as a mother

The most beautiful word on the lips of mankind is the word ‘Mother’ and the most beautiful call is the call of ‘my mother’. It is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word coming from the depths of the heart. The mother is everything – she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness.

This was written by one of my favourite writers, Khalil Gibran. I refer to this piece a lot when I need reminding to keep going, sometimes more than I like to admit, to remember how important I am in the lives of my amazing and crazy children.

We are their first teachers, we are the example they look to replicate. Being a mother is one of the most powerful jobs we will ever be lucky enough to hold.

My children are my purest and truest achievement … Audrey, who is now in year 7, and Leon who is in year 2.

I always say they’re magical, because for me, that’s what they are. They give me the energy to jump out of bed and get the day started. They are my reason to be good, and do good. They are my reason to stay calm – how else can I explain getting through the hardest moments of life. Moments when you think you have nothing left, and then they smile at you, not realising they have chocolate on their faces, or they tell you a not-so-funny story. Or randomly come up and give you huggles and kisses. Then you realise, just like magic, your cup is full again. 

For me being a mother isn’t just my experience with my children, it’s also about my mum and having women (a lot of you are sitting here today) mother me, pick me up and dust me off when I need it. Teaching me, inadvertently with a smile, a word, a similar story, a crystal, what I need to be a mother. Without even realising it, you also fill my very empty cup.

If I’m being honest … for me, being a mum is kaleidoscope of insanity and unrelenting love. It can be having feelings of resentment, very lonely, scary – even a little heartbreaking. I doubt many decisions I make and think about them in the hours I really should be sleeping.

And then the unrelenting love that warms the soul … the love that overpowers, protects, and pushes me forward every single second of every single day. A love that makes me so proud, a love that makes me feel without a shadow of a doubt, that being a mum to Audrey and Leon is worth the worry and yelling!

Just as long as I keep getting those huggles, I think my experience as a mum will always be worth the sleepless nights.

Audrey and Leon, thank you for choosing me.

Toni Rizk

Copyright: text - authors cited above; photos - cv williams.


The above speech was given by Toni Rizk to students and mother at a Mother's Day celebration at St Francis of Assisi primary school Paddington.

Most other posts on this Sydney School of Arts & Humanities blog ( are published to showcase the work of emerging writers who meet weekly to workshop their short stories, memoir or novels.


They comprise some of the responses written in just 10 minutes as a warm up to the meetings.

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