Well yesterday was Mothers Day here in Australia and as I have two wonderful little Revthreads (well not so little anymore), who constantly post wonderful things about me on Facebook, I thought it was time to have a little bit of a frank and honest reflection on Motherhood.
It’s 23 years since the first little Revthreads girl came into the world and almost 21 years since the second little Revthreads girl made her appearance, yet I can remember it so clearly, from the pain of labour to the first glimpse of these tiny, brand new human beings that we had been entrusted with. I can remember the moment that you expect things to just happen because that’s the way it is – breast feeding, not always simple! Our bodies adapt to sleep deprivation – absolute crap, sleep deprivation is a form of torture, it’s never going to feel good!
We are bombarded with images of celebrities, perfect post baby bodies, painted faces and perfectly placed hair – look, embrace the trackie bottoms and leggings, learn to love any stretch marks that you have, remember they have embraced your body with a plan to stay forever, upsize to a jumbo coffee and don’t apologise – remember most regular women do not have a stylist, a personal chef, a personal trainer, a full-time nanny or plastic surgeon on 24 hour speed dial. There will be opportunities to dress up and go out, just love and embrace those opportunities.
My experience has taught me that motherhood teaches you many things, as you read the parenting tips you are taught that actually these babies can’t read, so when implementing all the useful tips offered by experts, remember, babies and toddlers can’t read how they are supposed to respond to the situation at hand – they just do what comes natural to them and so one has to consider how useful are they really???? For example if a book tells you a baby will feed every 3 – 4 hours, the baby hasn’t read that bit and as a result will probably cry loudly ensuring you have no peace until he or she has a full tummy! Change nappies before or after the feed – well sometimes there are explosions between feeds, the little darling skipped that chapter on nappy changing!
They cannot read the book, they have no idea what the book says about controlled crying, sleeping in their own room or cot, when is it OK to eat solids or as they grow even about when is the time to be toilet trained! These tiny human beings are exactly that, tiny, unique human beings.
The terrible two’s why are they so terrible? Well to be honest there are terrible moments in the journey of life, we all have them, not just 2 year olds, please consider the last time you had a terrible moment and shouted at someone or something, it may have been that driver that cut you off on the road today, did anyone implement a behaviour management plan or put you in time out? – take a deep breath and prepare for the ride. One day “the stubbornness and challenging nature of this child will become their strength,” not a bad mantra to learn.
So much advice is given to pregnant women and new mums, but theory and reality just sometimes don’t marry up. Being a mother is the most natural thing in the world, well it’s not, it’s a journey and you learn a lot about yourself and your child and the world in general – don’t be fooled and don’t feel inadequate when you struggle. Take the first child, let’s be completely honest here, our firstborn is the guinea pig of our parenting. Our first children will be practised on, we will practice all those practical parenting tips on them, only to find that there are many tips that don’t work with our little human and there is a reality check, it’s time to get creative and toss out the books! The 1st will often be denied some things that the second child will get, the first will often have to wait longer for some things than the second, the first will not get away with some of the things the second will – why because we learn as we go along, we re-evaluate constantly our decisions. But be aware, the first will make a note of this and will happily remind you as you journey and re-evaluate, that is one of their aims!
With our first child we have to accept we have never been parents before and we don’t always know what to do and the books don’t always help – just name it for what it is. I remember when Revthreads 1 was 14, I had to point out that whilst I had spent a year being 14, I had never parented a 14 year old and asked her to please give me a break – her look said it all, a bit of honesty went a fair way! Being a child and being the parent of a child is really quite different – remember the times you have said “when I have children I will never do that!”
The other thing to be mindful of is, that while your little bundle and later toddler, cannot read, they are not stupid, they will know how to work you and will know your weakness, possibly even before you do.
The journey of being a mother, is tiring, it can leave you second guessing, confused, exhausted, questioning the meaning of life and making that glass of red wine taste like nothing ever before! But, and heres the but, all that said I love my kids, they have grown up into beautiful compassionate young women, they survived the trials of my parenting, they have survived the practicing of parenting tips, I look at them and think wow – no book could’ve predicted how amazing these young women would be!
Motherhood is a roller-coaster ride, the ups can have you hanging on for dear life, leave you feeling like nothing can stop you, exhilarated, the downs, well pretty much the same only it feels a whole lot faster on the descent. Put down the books and pick up the child (or at least hold them) they really are precious little survivors.