Now for anyone that knows me I can be very self deprecating. I used to be the first to point out my own faults, faults of my children and the way I parented. I think this is a common default setting for lots of parents as highlighting our faults before others do, somehow make it more bearable. To add insult to injury I tended to moan about my children’s behaviour to infuse some kind of humour into the conversation. For example ‘the little shits are doing my head in’ ‘could they be any more stupid’ or ‘oh my god the summer holidays are almost here, I’m going to need to consume wine by the bucket load just to get through’ and in reality when I only had two children I truly believed that life was a chore just to be got through day in day out.
I found it hard to give in to life as a mother (which was weird because I didn’t have much of a life before being a mother) I never wanted to embarrass myself or play silly games. I wanted to appear to be the uber cool yummy mummy that had all her shit together and was effortlessly chic. It’s only 5 children along that I’ve finally realised how wrong and self centred I was. Life with my children isn’t a chore and it was with a gargantuan change in mindset that I learnt to appreciate and take joy in the small things.
They say we learn a lot from the mother figures around us but my mother was never maternal, hugs were few and far between, encouragement or congratulations only given when absolutely necessary and my birthday parties were mainly a reason to fill the house with her friends and partake in a bottle of something red. We always had a very tenuous relationship culminating in 2012 with her telling me that pregnancy was ‘pretty much all you’re good for!’ Needless to say that that relationship ended and our lives have been more complete without it. So my role model for motherhood wasn’t the best and I’ve pretty much had to learn on the job. Through talking to other mums I’ve learnt that many of us aren’t blessed with a great woman to learn from and that proves how resilient we are and how strong that need to provide for and protect our children is.
I won’t lie and say that motherhood has come naturally to me, through a complete lack of support with my first born I suffered severely from PND which has reared its ugly head with each subsequent birth. I have developed coping mechanisms to combat this but it has taken me 11 years to get to where I am and I’m sure in another 11 years I will have developed even more as a mother.
I will be totally honest with you and tell you that I used to spend most of my days wishing them away. I would find the children’s conversations tedious, the playgroups boring and the earth Mother’s scary. I could never understand why a mother would want to physically be inside a soft play area gurning and cooing at their dribbly, snot ridden offspring when they could be outside sitting, drinking coffee and chatting to friends that have hopefully joined them. (In actual fact I now pretty much avoid all soft play areas as I find them to be festering, sess pools of disease) It baffled me why people interacted with their children because to me they just made cringe worthy comments and weird noises at the most inappropriate times. Surely they were there just to continue the line.
But…. then my children began to grow up, fast… too fast in fact. The realisation that in just a handful of years they could potentially have their own families and I wouldn’t be the centre of their world hit me like the proverbial truck. All those kisses and hugs missed, all those unanswerable questions at the most inopportune moments gone and the 50 million times a day I hear ‘Muuuummmm!’ silenced. To realise that I wouldn’t be their ‘go to’ person forever made me sit up and change.
It’s been a gradual change but a wonderful one. I now find myself staring at my beautiful children, wanting to soak up all they say and do. I no longer worry about how I look or how I act because I’m determined to enjoy every moment with them. I want to be splashing in the sea with them, laughing at them (sorry I mean, with them) teaching them, helping them, emotionally supporting them, snuggling on the sofa with them, going clothes shopping with them, eating with them and watching them grow in to the adults they are destined to be, all of which I can be proud of. Don’t get me wrong I’m not enamoured with them all the time, they constantly drive me mental and I often lose my shit when they ask me things like
‘how long is it?’
‘How long is what darling?’ (WTF!!)
‘It… how long is it mummy?’
Palm hits face in exhaustion.
I pride myself on being able to take a ‘mummy time out’ when things get tough to calm down and reset which allows me to be present for the good, the bad and the ugly.
Happily this was all reinforced when baby number 5 was on the way. The pregnancy and gorgeous new arrival have been a joy and I can even say I enjoy the many night feeds I’ve done (helped by the gorgeous smile I get every time) and I only wish I could have been this calm, collected and observant with the first.
I can finally say that I have become maternal and I adore being a mother. I dance at the ‘kitchen disco’, I take pleasure in being the embarrassing mum at parties, I make sure I’m in all the photos so that in 20-30 yrs the children will able to look back and not think that Mum just looked great on the sidelines but that we had some fabulous memories as a family where we laughed, loved and lived together!!
This of course is all made doable by the support and constant encouragement from my wonderful husband who more often than not takes centre stage at the ‘kitchen disco’ (that man has some killer moves)
I hope there are other mothers out there who have felt the same or are maybe on a journey to be the best they can. Whatever ever our experiences we should choose to learn from them and be grateful that we have the opportunity to improve and grow as parents and people.
TTFN lovelies xx