I have wanted to put this list together for the longest time. I’ve been ‘Mum’, ‘Mummy’, ‘Muuuuuuum’ and ‘oh GOD Muuuum’ for 14 years now and I’ve learnt a lot.
How many of these do you agree with?
1. YOUR MOTHER IS YOUR SAFE HARBOUR.
Growing up, I was a genuine, certifiable bitch to my Mum even though she was always my safe harbour; no judgement just unconditional love.
The trouble was that I didn’t have the maturity to recognise that she was my rock in the face of life. Instead of appreciating her for the love, support and unending love she poured over me, I railed against her and thought she was the most annoying person on Earth!
So now that I’m a Mum I’m going through the same situation. I want my children to run to me and tell me everything. Instead they sometimes dig in and push away.
Now that I’m a Mum, I know that deep down they love me, they need me and that one day they will reflect and realise that I was their safe harbour.
2. EVERYTHING IS WORSE WHEN YOU ARE TIRED
It took me a few years of being a Mum to recognise that everything is harder when tiredness sets in. It happens quite easily and it often creeps up on you, but suddenly you’re an emotional ticking time bomb – made all the more unstable depending on how tired and wrung out you are!
And whether it’s you or the kids (or an overtired and cranky partner), it’s universal. Everyone is more irrational, more emotional, more easily provoked and generally just more itchy and scratchy all round.
The only cure for this is to manage the tiredness before it gets out of control.
If you’re tired, ignore the washing. If you’re tired, order takeaway. If you’re heading down into the valley of uncontrollable tiredness, delegate and ask for help. If you feel yourself getting overtired, cancel a few things in your diary.
Look after you and then everything else falls into place.
You can be a better Mum when you’re not too tired … which means your children can also be better too.
3. THINGS WILL ALWAYS GET BETTER
Since becoming a Mum I’ve been through a lot. So much good but also some terribly dark and heart wrenchingly awful times.
At these times, you feel as though life will never get better. That you would rather curl up and disappear.
But time and the unending love of your family and friends and (more often than not) the tiny people in your life, show you that you are needed, you are loved and that you are incredibly important.
And it will be these moments that will give you the strength to overcome obstacles and look to the future; for them and for you.
4. THINGS COULD BE MUCH WORSE
In my role as a Mum, I live to give my children the best life possible. Sadly though I sometimes lose sight of what’s important and I start to compare myself and our situation to others.
Yes it’s scary how bad comparing can make you feel.
But it only takes one word from my children to make me realise I’m losing sight of what’s important. They ask me why our house isn’t as nice as their friends or why we don’t get to go overseas every holiday.
It’s times like this that I’m brought back to Earth because I explain to them just how lucky we are and that while we may not have the latest car, the biggest house or overseas holidays … we are safe, we are loved and we have each other.
5. YOU (AND WHAT YOU NEED) WILL ALWAYS TAKE A BACK SEAT TO YOUR CHILD/REN
And you’ll be OK with this; well most of the time anyway.
When I became a mum, all my decision processes changed. My focal point was no longer myself (or my partner) but ‘the family’. To be more precise, the kids.
I feel it’s my time to give to them – emotionally and physically. Because they are with me for such a short time in the big scheme of life, that I WANT to do what I can for them now.
I don’t begrudge them the time I spend with them; I consider it an investment. An investment in our relationship, their future and an investment into creating beautiful adults of tomorrow who understand that a caring, giving attitude is a blessing.
6. PEOPLE WON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT OR NEED UNLESS YOU TELL THEM
For the longest time I expected people around me to know what I needed and then offer it to me. I expected my partner to see the dishes/washing/folding/nappy that needed changing and do something about it.
What I’ve learnt since being a Mum is that unless you ask people to help you, share the load or just listen, they may not know.
I’ve learnt that I should never be afraid to speak up for myself because by doing this, people can then give you what you need.
7. PLANNING ALWAYS MAKE THE PROCESS SMOOTHER
Become a mum and suddenly you’re like a project manager on fast forward, particularly as your children get older. The combination of work, school, activities, social engagements and all the organization that comes with all of those means that you can very quickly spin out of control.
What I have learnt since being a Mum is that any amount of planning makes everything run more smoothly.
Pack lunches and school bags the night before, diarise everything for everyone in the family, schedule one night a week for family admin and bills and one night a month to attack some of the bigger tasks.
Look for as many strategies as you can to help you plan everything; meal planning, calendars, add every contact you could possibly need to your phone and create group emails for as many things as possible.
Having a plan means you’ll feel much more in control; and feeling in control means you’ll feel so much better … about everything.
8. YOUR CHILDREN CAN HANDLE MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK
In my time as a Mum I have welcomed 4 beautiful children into my life. I have also buried one. My second son, Noah, died when he was 17 months old and his older brother was just over 3. His little sister was a newborn so his death didn’t impact her at the time except probably for the effect my grief may have had on my mothering her.
My oldest son was incredible. He seemingly knew exactly what to say and what to do at every turn. He and I talked about Noah endlessly … “Where is he exactly Mum”, “Hasn’t he been gone long enough?” “Why can’t he come back to us” and when I broke down, his little 3 year old arms would hug me tight and bring me back to him and his little sister.
Kids are so precious and we want to shelter them from everything bad, sad or wrong. However they have an infinite ability to handle whatever life gives them; with grace, good humour and often with the non-clouded judgement or preconceived ideas that simplifies a situation.
9. YOUR BODY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN; AND YOU’LL BE FINE WITH THAT.
Becoming a Mum changes us in so many ways; emotionally but of course physically. And even if you get back to your ‘pre-baby’ weight (good on you because I still haven’t) you have changed.
Your feet may have grown, your waist may have disappeared (like mine), your hips may have broadened, your skin may have stretched, scarred or be pigmented or your hair may have curled up like a spring or becoming far finer than before.
But we’re able to rationalise and understand that the journey of creating little lives will take us to many places and … we wouldn’t want it any other way.
10. YOU WILL ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS WORRY ABOUT, CARE FOR, LOVE AND SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN; NO MATTER WHAT.
Who agrees? Our children are our World and we will always be here for them.
From the moment we conceived them until forever they will be the most precious thing to us. We’ll love them, we’ll care for them, we’ll worry about them and we’ll bug them with our ‘mothering’ but there it is.
We are their Mums and that’s just the way it will always be.