Tonight I am sharing what I have learned over my lifetime as a mother. A blogging buddy called Learner Mama has posted “Ten random things I have learnt as a mother”. She has invited others to join in and share their own experiences. I loved the idea and so here are mine.
From childhood I imagined being a mother, and what a mother I would be! My children would adore me, we’d be best friends and would live life in harmony.
Yes that was lesson number one learned. I would never be the mother I thought I would be.
It was not entirely my fault, it was just that I never imagined having children with minds of their own. Minds that from an early age differed greatly from my own. Little minds that decided what they liked to eat and how little they needed to sleep. Bigger minds that decided what they wanted to wear, how much homework they thought was necessary and even bigger minds who decided just how late they would like to come home.
Lesson number two. That even though I loved my partner dearly I had never truly experienced love until the day my first baby was placed in my arms.
That moment took my breath away, and that love affair is as fresh today as it was that very first second I saw my children, held them close and watched their little eyes as they blinked and opened for the first time.
Lesson number three, that it is possible to love each child as they arrive, just as passionately as I did my first.
I can remember apologising to my as yet unborn second child, in tears as I explained I could never love him like I did my first. As he was safely delivered, I held him in my arms and instantly adored him. Just as I did my first, third and fourth child.
Lesson number four, With the arrival of my children I said goodbye forever to the independent individual I had grown up to be. I was now a mother first and last. Never again would life be about me.
Even after twenty three years, I still put my children first. I look at people without children and I cannot imagine only having myself to think about.
Lesson number five. That having a baby is the best and worst time in a marriage.
We never knew how to argue until we had children. What with the lack of sleep, the arguing over why they are crying, and the division of labour we sure learned how to disagree. Not to mention differing ideas on parenting.
Lesson number six. That looking after small children is physically and mentally so very tiring.
Never being able to sit and relax because a small child needs someone constantly on duty, day and night. They are also so well able to push your buttons, ensuring that many of the well intentioned rules you had intended to enforce, got discarded.
Lesson number seven. That looking after teenage children is physically and mentally so very tiring.
School runs, after school activities and collecting after a night out is physically exhausting. The rowing, arguing, disciplining and second guessing nearly breaks you. This was not how you imagined it to be when you looked into your future.
Lesson number eight. That there is nothing in life can come close to a heartfelt, spontanious hug from your child. No matter how often you experience it, it melts your heart.
There are times when parenting takes everything you’ve got. You are running on empty. And then in a moment your child turns to you and hugs you tight. It doesn’t matter what age your child is, in that moment you forget everything and love them unconditionally.
Lesson number nine. That your children’s happiness means more to you than anything in the world.
Their tears are your tears, their upsets and disappointments break your heart. Equally their smiles cheer you up and the sound of their laughter makes everything alright in your world.
Lesson number ten. That the health of my children is beyond measure the most important thing in life.
Last year my close friend held her twelve year old sobbing son in her arms. He had just been told he had leukemia. For almost a year I watched as she and his Dad fought along side him. With an aching heart I was beside her as she said a last goodbye.
I am a different person since. Every night now as I go to bed, I look in on my children and I take a moment to really appreciate all that I have. As I join the millions of mothers around the world whispering “Goodnight, I love you”, I am also aware, just how much I love being a mother. Whether we stay at home, or work outside, being a mother is the best “job” in the world.