My experience of being a mother
Being a mother of a toddler and seeing that newborn stage slip away so rapidly makes my heart ache for another wee baby. Meeting them for the first time, that euphoric moment that can not be replicated by any other experience life could give. For me it’s addictive. It’s you and them and you did it together. Then there is that utter trust and vulnerability they have – their world depends on you and they are just so little.
There is so much that I love about having a newborn. I know not everyone feels the same. I have been pondering this so much lately, what is it that I can not get enough of. And then it dawned on me: On top of having your soul mate come to meet you for the first time it is an isolated moment in time where the universe stops and it is all about you and your little family. Your partner can stop working for a little while and is readily available to help with the house and the other kid/kids. People visit you and bring food and hang around and say lovely things about your wee baby. People want to know all about them for those first few weeks. All other commitments cease and you can immerse yourself in this brand new life. Your village is around you and the support is real. You have time to soak in the moments of the experience.
But this is such a small part of a much bigger journey of raising a child. This is a pin prick in size compared to the life that outstretches in front of them. As the mother you are not expected to do anything but recover and tend to the baby during this magical time. Maybe a few light duties around the house. A few walks here and there as you lap up the arrival of this soul and bask in the achievement of growing such a beautiful creature. When I thought about it further I don’t think I particularly wanted to have a newborn again necessarily. There are of course the down sides: the hormones & the feeling like your body is not your own – it’s huge. On top of the fact that you have a perfectly good sized family already. But what I do miss is the support. The on tap input of my husband. The feeling of a village.
As a baby grows the physicality of the role as their mother increases 100 fold. It’s hard work making sure everyone is ok, not running away, not screaming, not putting themselves in harms way all of the time. Throw working into the mix and sometimes it can sometimes all just feel like too much. This is when finding the time to soak in the moments of now can be such a challenge. We all talk about mindfulness and we do our best but truely who has the money/time in their life to really spend time doing this when you have little kids? We do our best.
I am trying to get there, mindfulness is a journey. What I can say is Motherhood has taught me to hang back & slow down where I wouldn’t naturally ~ like at the park or library after it’s been more time than I am good at lingering. To speed up ~ like at a restaurant where I’d normally linger but now the exercise is in and out in precise military fashion. And then there is so much in between these two states out of our control ~ like when everyone in the house needs to be out the door by 8:30 and all with individual lunch box needs, teeth, clothing, with a nutritional brekkie on board, explosive nappies to change and shoes to find and I am going a million miles an hour and the kids have absolutely no desire to move. It’s seems obvious we all love our children but full throttle Motherhood itself, well it takes a bit of getting used to especially the more children you have. It can sometimes feel like it’s all about how much you are willing to sacrifice of yourself ~ their desires against yours. It can feel like a never ending battle of trying to balance what is going to build you up and build them up. It is quite a bit like a marriage now that I think of it but a whole lot more demanding.
Motherhood gives us an opportunity to serve. To be selfless. To nurture, cook, clean, bathe, entertain. Everyone I have ever met with a teenager or nest leaver says the young years go too fast. The beauty of hindsight. So taking it all in, lingering at the park, being as present as you can possibly be, this is the greatest reward (when for just 10 minutes no one is crying).
(Image from mialinnman blog)