I want to tell any mothers-to-be reading this one piece of advice, which had I known would have saved me a lot of false expectations that came crashing down after I had my boy. You don’t have to love every single part of motherhood to be a great mum, and what’s more, you certainly won’t love every part!
Call me old-fashioned, but I was one of those girlie girls that grew up playing with dolls and wanting nothing more than to be a mummy. I always knew I would be a stay at home mum, how could I possibly want anything else!? I loved my job but I really looked at all those stay at home mums thinking, you have it made! Your days are so easy, you can do what you like, when you like, chill out at home, spend every second with your gorgeous babies… utter perfection… then I had my son.
Now let me tell you something about myself, I love my son with my whole heart, there is nothing in this world that brings me happiness like looking at my little boy, or hearing him chuckle, or having cuddles with him, those things, they are absolute joy, but… motherhood, is not, contrary to my expectations, all about cuddles, or giggles, or looking in amazement at our children! It is also nappy changes that are never-ending, feeding when it hurts more than you thought possible, getting up for the 5th time in the night to settle your baby. It’s having the potential to worry constantly about whether you are parenting in the right way, because when it comes to this little bundle of joy, you just don’t want to do a less than perfect job! It’s a lot of things, that I, and maybe you, didn’t expect! A lot of things that were not such perfection!
When I had my son as I thought about all these things, I honestly felt bad, I questioned whether I was a good mum, how could I possibly not love ever single little thing. Until someone reminded me “Kate, I think you were expecting too much from motherhood, and yourself, it’s not all perfect!” I put such pressure on myself in those early days that I wish I hadn’t! I wish I had allowed myself the freedom to love the things that were lovely, like the cuddles, or the first smiles, but not allowed myself to worry about the rest. I wish I had accepted that some parts of motherhood are not that easy, or not that great, and that’s ok!
I’ve read a lot of blogs recently about motherhood, and there seems to be a common theme coming through. When women are in the throes of the early years of motherhood, sometimes it can seem a challenge, or mentally un-stimulating, or mundane, and it’s easy to feel like “is this all I am?”. But then I read blogs written about mums whose youngest children are off to school, the days of being a stay at home mum as they knew it, are over and a new season is beginning. I can sense from them that many mums can find this hard, understandably! But this challenges me! Sometimes when we are mums in the early years, it can be hard. Really hard. Or boring. Or tiring. Or lonely. Because not every little thing is amazing. It’s not all joy, and giggles, and snuggles with our newborn. There is A LOT of hard work that goes with the joy of it all. BUT…when this season is over, and we move onto a new season, when we can’t change those oh so stinky nappies, whilst also getting to tickle our babies, when we can’t spoon feed baby food that is tipped all over the floor but whilst also watching them grow, learning to feed themselves, when we can’t take them to the toilet for the 6th time that morning, but also get to be needed, because they can do it themselves, I think we will miss these things. We will miss these little things; we will long to go back to do it again.
It’s those things, those little things that are so precious. Those moments when they look at you and smile, or run into your arms, or pull you along by the hand because no one else will do, they just want you. It’s those things, those little moments, which are amazing. It’s those things we will miss!
Maybe you are finding it hard, or a bit boring, or so tiring. Maybe you don’t love every single aspect of being a mummy, or a stay at home mummy. Maybe some days you wish you could go back to the office. And that’s ok! Give yourself a break. You don’t need to love every little thing, because it’s hard, very hard at times. But make a decision, decide to love and cherish those little moments. The ones that one day, you will look back on, and long to experience again. Because those little moments, those nuggets of joy amongst days of being tired, or worn down, they make it all worth it.
So my advice to any mothers-to-be, you won’t love every aspect of motherhood, it’s hard! But you will love it, and those moments make it so worth it! And would I do those hard things again? Of course! Because when I cuddle my son, or look at him, I couldn’t be prouder, he makes it oh so worth it!
What was your experience when you had your baby? What have you learnt since then about cherishing those special moments?
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