It’s Mother’s Day. For all those of you who are mothers for the first time this year, congratulations. As you know, you have entered an incredible and crazy world – which makes you incredible (hopefully, it doesn’t make you crazy. If it is doing so, get yourself some help). For those of you soon to become mums for the first time, congratulations also. What a very special time. Three quotes come to mind when I think of being a mother.
1. “I haven’t done anything all day, except for put the washing out”. A distraught and frustrated mum said to me from her bed. She had forgotten that she had been doing a job that no-one else could do, and one that is super important – being a mother to her baby, and bringing up this nation’s future generation. She is the one that her baby knows by smell, sound and sight. She is the one that calms baby just by being in the same room, and super calms him just by cuddling him (yes, even when your baby is crying, if he is crying in your arms, he is less stressed than if he is crying in his cot). She is the one that is available to him, she is the one who is instantly interruptable, who is experiencing the limits of her patience, and reprogramming her mind to adapt to this bizarre and crazy job of mothering. You know what? The washing pales into insignificance…..
2. Number two comes from a friend of mine, who once said to her toddler “thank-you for helping me become a better person.” I asked her what she meant. She said, “I have always been quite a selfish person. When I had children, that changed”. Of course it did. It has to. You’re not number one any more. Your needs – no matter how small, like needing a cup of tea, or big, like needing to have a meltdown, have to come second. That’s why mother’s day is so important. Become number one again, just for a day.
3. The third quote was from another friend of mine. “in all I have ever done in my life, the hardest by far has been bringing up children”. Becoming a mother is huge. Amazing. Transformational. Empowering. Frustrating. Difficult. Intense. Exhausting. Wonderful. I was taught, before I had children that becoming a mum is boring, enslaving, dull, belittling, takes away my identity and personality. (I’m not sure feminism has done much for womankind with this kind of message). Becoming a mum is none of those things if you don’t want it to be. Yes – it is difficult, testing, tiring, scary, but so were exams and climbing the professional ladder. I know which path is more rewarding, satisfying, challenging, lifechanging. Okay, so I can’t wear a suit, and people don’t tell me how well I’m doing, but the satisfaction is all mine. And I look back on babyhood and toddlerhood with a swelled up heart, full of love and affection. I certainly don’t look back on my career with that! Yes, I look back on both with a lot of regret, but once again, one of the challenges of parenthood is forgiving yourself for every-thing you have done wrong. We all do wrong as parents, and it doesn’t feel good, but humbleness and remorse are also needed in abundance for good-enough parenting. So, on Mother’s day, please, do let people pamper you on this special day. And if your family aren’t the type to pamper you, then do it yourself. You deserve it!
Health Warning/disclaimer: please note that this blog comes from a mum whose children are all over eight. She has therefore had a cup of tea, a full conversation, a shower, and some uninterrupted time on the computer. She has forgotten the bad bits, and is left with a slightly rose tinted view of motherhood.