It’s 12 years since I held my first baby in my arms. Utterly and completely in love. Blissfully unaware of just how much my life would turn upside down and inside out. I have grown, been stretched, loved, laughed and cried like I never knew possible.
And now, I marvel at the differences in my 3 children. The same parents, the same home, yet all uniquely different. Uniquely beautiful and strong willed individuals with opinions, hopes, dreams, and fears. All needing to be loved, held, encouraged and guided.
What a privilege, what a responsibility.
As a first time mum I was worried about everything; is she warm enough, is she too warm? Is she getting enough sleep, had enough wake time? Is she meeting all those milestones? Am I doing enough, am I enough? Where is the instruction book? Help… I don’t know what I am doing!
As the years have passed I have continued to learn, to grow, be stretched. And I’m learning to embrace the moment. The season I am in.
By the time I had my third and youngest son, I was confident I had this mothering gig sorted. I knew what to do, this was going to be a breeze. Oh how I was wrong. I often say, if he was my first, he would have been my last. He was born right on time, his due date and his entrance was quick. Here I am he announced to the world. Full of energy, inquisitive, never-ending questions. Opinions that must be heard. A heart as gentle as any I have known, sensitive and strong. I will stand my ground, don’t try to make me move. This is my precious 6-year-old boy.
It is fascinating, frustrating and rewarding being a mother. And often…. oh so tiring.
One recent Saturday morning – it had already been a long day: basketball practice, drum and violin lessons, not to mention the pile of washing that never seems to end waiting at home. All whilst dragging my 6-year-old along for ride. Hanging out for cup of coffee, maybe while the two oldest were in their music lessons, I thought I have just enough time to pop down to the cafe to grab a take away. From the backseat I hear my tired 6 year old son pipe up, “Mum we aren’t staying there are we, just in and out? Get your coffee and go?” That’s the plan I respond.
The 5-minute wait for the coffee seemed like an eternity for him as he hung off me complaining that it was taking forever. As we walked out of the cafe, I noticed someone I knew. I could leave and say nothing as I walked directly past their table or stop and say hi. I chose the latter. That was it… it was all too much. I watched my son try to manage every bit frustration in his little body as he started waving his arms around, signalling to leave, until the emotions got too much and he fell to the ground in a heap. I politely excused myself from my conversation and lifted him from the floor. His little voice angry and hurt, he spoke sternly, “I respect your wishes all the time, but you don’t respect mine. I told you I wanted to leave but then you stopped and talked to someone.” How do I respond to that? What is my answer? He sure knows how to throw me a curve ball. I had no words.
Twelve years into this parenting gig and I am still learning. I don’t think the learning will ever end. We make decisions for our children with the information we have at the time. We don’t always get it right. I definitely don’t always get it right. I have and continue to make mistakes. What I do know is that I love these little people with a love I never knew existed. It’s this love, this mother’s heart, that wants to see them be everything they can be. I wish I could protect them from all the heartaches and failures I know will come. To catch them before they fall. I want to rejoice in all their achievements, laugh at the funny things they say and do. Be their safe haven in times of need, and give them a push when they need to keep moving.
My greatest desire is to be the best Mum I can be. Even when I don’t want to get up one more time during the night. When I want to drink a hot coffee or go to the toilet in peace. When one more “Why?”is going to push me further to the edge than I have ever been.
And then I remember some of the beautiful things about being Mum. They don’t care if your hair is done or what you are wearing They’re not interested in your education or whether you have an opinion about the latest world issue. All they need is you. Come as you are. Learn together, make mistakes together and never be afraid to say sorry. In their eyes you are the most important and perfect person there could ever be.