I used to think that motherhood was simple. You got pregnant..you gave birth… you became a mum..your children did as you asked and life whilst different in some ways was much the same as before.
As with lots of other expectations about life I was wrong.
Firstly motherhood is never simple.
The phrase “You wait until you have your own children” said by my mum when I stayed out too late or worried her in ways that actually cause me pain to imagine them now has never rung truer. How much worry it must have caused when I wasn’t where I said I was at the time I said I would be.
I knew I would love my children. We are all led to believe that and that belief was correct.
BUT…never did I imagine the all consuming depth of the love I feel for them. To the point where sometimes I actually feel that I love them TOO much. The worry that never really leaves your mind completely about their safety, their health and well everything else. How many nights I have lain in my bed and thought my (sleeping) girls are too quiet..maybe I should just check on them ..one more time. That I already worry about the days when I won’t know where they are all of the time.. what can I say? My mind is too active.
The guilt I would feel each and every time I decided to do something for myself. I am a great believer in having time to yourself and time with your partner too I guess but a little part of me tells me I should be with our daughters all the time. Your relationship with your partner is one which needs focus because children take so much from you and they need you to be strong for them. Yes you have enough love for everyone but is there time in each day to share a moment with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife? To have a conversation that isn’t interrupted or a meal eaten together whilst warm.
How much I value our parents. When we have a night away our girls are over the moon, we aren’t missed. In fact a sleepover at their grandparents is an adventure and they have a bond which I treasure. They have volumes of love for their nannas and grandpas and grandmas. Love which makes my love for my parents even stronger. How lucky are we to be able to see this relationship between our children and our parents grow before our eyes.
Jealousy. Did you think before your children arrived that you could feel jealous of their affection for another? Because at some point I think we can all admit this is true. Fleeting it may be but when your 2 year old looks at you and says I don’t want you I want Daddy my sensible side says that I have been with her all day and he hasn’t. She missed him. My not so sensible side asks me what I did wrong. Perhaps its a moment where you see your 4 yr olds face light up as they spot their favourite teacher. I am so happy that Izzy loves her school and her teaching team are truly wonderful but I am the woman she looks up to..aren’t I? Of course I am not. Not all the time anyway. These moments are brief but there.
Despair. How does your child not understand when you are at the end of your tether. When you have had a bad day in work. When you are sad. These are the days they will push ALL of your buttons. Some days I am willing bedtime to come around. I get angry and even tearful as I feel like nothing I say is even getting through to them. Then its bedtime, we have stories and hugs and a little voice reaches out as I walk out of the room..I really love you mum..to the moon and back ..to the planets..round and round to the moon and back and to the festivals. That is so much. Its gone. The anger, the desperate feeling that you aren’t managing. They love you, you are their world. They push you because they know you will still be there whatever they do. The next day will be better.
Finally there is the feeling of not being the best mother you can be. After all you only get one shot at being their mum. If you mess it up then you could mess them up?! A wise woman ( my mum ) told me once that if I wasn’t a good mother I would not worry about being a bad one. Love, Food, Home – this is all children really need from you. Accepting that has made my life easier. I can beat myself up about every decision I make or I can enjoy being a mother. Do the best I can when I can. Be everything I want to be whilst being a mother. Showing them that dreams can be achieved.
I know so much about how to be a good mother because I have a truly excellent one. I learn from her every day. She is the woman I look up to. Motherhood is a million things, wrapped up into a ball. I will never know all of these things but I try to ensure I know the important ones and don’t dwell on the ones I do not.