Today two events occurred that prompted me to reflect on being a Mum. Motherhood is hard; spending every day keeping humans alive, making sure they are warm, clean, fed and watered, not to mention ensuring they have appropriate physical, emotional, social and educational development yet still ensuring they have adequate rest. It’s exhausting! But amongst the relentlessness of tending to your baby’s or children’s needs there are moments of pure, heart soaring love and moments where it all seems to click in to place. Today was one of those days.
When I went to the post office this morning I bumped into one of the school mums who told me that my little T had helped her daughter out this week. Girls were being girls and weren’t letting her little girl join in the singing game on the playground stage because she didn’t know any Little Mix songs. This is routine 5 year old stuff that happens in playgrounds all the time and is all part of children’s social development, although as parents the thought of our child being subject to it is just not nice. However, my little T stopped the girls, made space on the stage and invited this girl to join in the game. I could not have been more proud. To think that my little clown who never stops joking around was sensitive to a little girl’s needs and spoke up to make sure she wasn’t upset was just amazing.
Then this afternoon we went to big D’s leavers’ assembly, he has finished Year 2 so will be going from his current infant school up to a separate junior school in September. He is an emotional soul and has struggled a bit this last week. This afternoon as he read out his poem and sang his heart out with all his friends my heart was full of love and pride. To see sixty children surrounded by teachers who have loved and nurtured them through their crucial early years of education, instilling a thirst for knowledge and who have made school fun, against the odds of an education system that is driven by results, was just wonderful. Since the boys have started school and we have attended plays and assemblies, each time I can remember the feelings of joy and pride I felt performing to parents at similar events when I was a child, seeing those feelings reflected in all those children’s faces was so moving.
As a mum when you start out with a body that is aching and bruised and a baby that is crying and you have no clue what to do it is hard to envisage the future. It is an all consuming stage of sleep deprivation, confusion, self-doubt and worry which all melts away with a kiss of a new-born’s head or at the sight of milk-drunk windy smile. As the baby grows in to a toddler the focus falls to tantrum taming and potty training whilst repeatedly shouting “share” in the vain hope that one day they might indeed share. When school days came around I was more than ready to let some else answer the million and one questions my boys seemed to ask of me every day but what happened after they actually got there was never something I had ever really thought about. But as the infant school years have passed whilst I have despaired whilst teaching them phonics and spellings I have marvelled at the independent, capable boys they are becoming. These two events today really brought this home. If I was asked what two hopes would you have for your children I would say to be happy and to be kind, but when babies don’t come with a manual and your parenting style is ‘wing it and hope for the best’ I wasn’t quite sure how things would turn out. Today I could see that my boys were both happy and kind.
So to all the new mamas out there struggling to keep their eyes open through the 2 am night feed whilst trying to work out what number bus just hit them, to all the mums feeling permanently hungover even though they never get to go to the party it’s because the baby was teething all night, to the mothers who stand there red-faced when their toddler has bitten another toddler, to the mams tearing their hair out because their toddler won’t share and to the mamas who are despairing because they don’t even know the phonics, let alone teach the phonics*; it will all be O.K! Because one-day your child will do something that is so utterly amazing that everything will all fall in to place.
Then as you snuggle your child down to sleep, taking the time to lie in bed with them and reflect on how sometimes motherhood is sometimes brilliantly, wonderful a voice will pipe up “Mummy, where do farts come from?”** and you will smile to yourself as you answer, because lying in bed answering questions about bodily functions is true motherhood in all it’s realistic glory.
*all true stories that happened to me
**actually happened this evening