Our baby girl spoke her first of many, many words the other day – “Mumma.” A word I wanted to hear since I was a little girl myself, a word that was much more than just a word to me, it was a dream. A word whose meaning was my ultimate goal and a word I thought would be a role I could slide easily into.
Before I became Mum, I thought I would make a home that was clean and tidy. A home that didn’t have hair brushes on the window sills, texta marks on the lounge, trains in our bed, mashed potato on the ceiling, or banana peels under the coffee table. A home that had washed sheets, made beds, clean dishes, ordered bookshelves, and a bathroom that smelt like flowers.
I thought that I would be the funnest Mum E V E R. I thought I would spend my days playing games with our children, making them laugh, creating masterpieces out of random art supplies, pulling ridiculous faces every spare second, climbing trees, and being their best buddy.
I thought that I would wear nice clothes and do my hair, cook like a chef, dress my kids in the cutest of fashions, have soft hands, a radiant face, and keep a normal looking belly button.
I thought I would be a wife that waited on her husband, who went over the top with serving – I thought I would be the Proverbs 31 woman who I heard every second person talk about when I was growing up. Someone who was always patient and kind and didn’t snap or yell. Someone who would be at the door waiting for him to come home to at night, to kiss and hold tight for moment upon moment.
I thought I would be confident, and sew lots of baby clothes, make functional toys, answer every question, teach our children everything they wanted to know, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to change. Before I became a Mum I thought I would be enough, know enough, be present enough – I thought I would nail it.
And then I became Mumma.
One summer afternoon, I was handed our first born baby boy, told “Congratulations” and left alone with my husband and a human I had the honour of raising….but how?
I gradually became swallowed in questions of, am I old enough, mature enough, strong enough? Am I smart enough, grounded enough, with it enough, rich enough, tall enough, wide enough – Am I enough?
Suddenly I realized, I’m not qualified for this! All the baby books I had read, magazine articles I had flicked through, blogs I had seen – none of them could tell me how to raise this baby. My life was 100% different and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was never going to be the same again.
Before I became Mum I didn’t imagine how far sleepless nights, crying babies, tantrums, sheer exhaustion, and constant whining could push you to the edge. I didn’t think that I would pour all that I have to give out on my family and still feel like it’s not enough. I never thought that seemingly simple decisions could one day be so hard to make.
I didn’t know that toddlers mess up your house faster than you can possibly clean it, and that sometimes a clean house isn’t as important as spending valuable time with your quickly growing children.
I didn’t know that often I would be too exhausted to run around and play games with our children, and that along with playing games with them was the hard and necessary task of disciplining, that I am their Mumma first and their friend second. I didn’t know that before I even get out of bed in the morning, I’m greeted with questions, with demands and with settling disputes before I even have a chance to find some clothes to wear.
I didn’t know that instead of greeting my wonderhubby at the door with a long awaited kiss each night, he would walk into a house of children running around naked, me holding a crying baby in one hand, stirring dinner with my other hand, and yelling at our children to stop licking everything.
I didn’t know that it would be hard to find time for me…ever…let alone, sew cute baby outfits and make any sort of toy for them to play with.
I didn’t know that mummy guilt existed, that I would question myself about everything, that disciplining could be so hard and that spreading myself around an adequate amount to each child and my husband would be something I have to be so intentional about. I didn’t even know what post natal anything meant, let alone how insane it can make you feel.
I had no clue about the constant stubbornness of toddlers, the well of frustration that churns inside, the neediness of everyone who relies upon you for everything, everyday, the unending job list that never seems to get ticked off, and the depleted amounts of energy that some days are overwhelming.
I didn’t know that being a Mum was a daily learning process and that I would never know it all. I didn’t know that being a Mum was so testing, so hard, challenging, unglamorous, daunting, and all-together life changing.
Before I became Mum, I had no idea the love that was in my heart. I didn’t know the unlimited joy that my children would bring to my life, the wonder that they share with me. I wasn’t prepared for being swept off my feet by these little people who came into our world, turned everything on it’s head, created chaos, and echoed love around the depths of our lives. I didn’t know that their individuality and rawness would make me stop every day and stand in awe.
I had no idea how enriched my life would be, how my heart could be so full, and how their excitement for life could invade my own and cause me to see afresh through the eyes of a child. I didn’t know that our children would teach me so much and change my life in a way I didn’t expect or plan, until I became Mum.
Happy Mothers Day all