Eight years ago, on this exact day, I became a mother. But the mother I was on that very first day is much different to who I am today. In the beginning, you go in 'all guns blazing', armed with your baby books and a heady sense of excitement mixed with equal measures of fear. But each day you learn, you grow. The fear sometimes lessen, and sometimes increases. You look at the books less, and you trust yourself more. So I thought I would share some of the things I have learned in the past eight years.
- Trust - I am not an expert on children, but I know my own children. I know when they are hungry and thirsty, I know when they are feeling poorly, and I know when they are pretending. I know when they are scared, and when they just need extra reassurance (or an extra cuddle). I know when they can handle independence, and I know when to be protective. So I trust myself to do a good job. And If I'm not sure, I just pretend to know what I'm doing, and Husband believes me.
- Acceptance - I am not a supermum/mom. I can't do everything, and no one expects me to. I give my family love and attention, and for the most part that is enough. The girl also likes sweets and books, and the boy needs regular gifts in the form of Batman toys and tops. But if all these needs are met, they're fine. And actually, Moozles and Dubz are fine with just the love and attention. They don't care if the house is a bit dirty or if I haven't showered today. They just want me to show them that I care, they want me to listen to them and give them endless amount of cuddles.
- Understanding - Children can be horrid. We've all had to endure tantrums of differing degrees. Many of us have been slapped, kicked and bitten by our children. As they get older, they turn to name-calling, condescension and they even ignore us. But it is tough being young (even if many are treated like little princes and princesses). Their brains go through so much growing and learning, and then they must deal with raging hormones once they have finally gotten hold of their senses. So we must show them patience and understanding, even when we feel like dropping them off at their grandparents' and never picking them up again.
- Communication - From the time that they are babies, communication is essential. You teach your children through language. You teach them how to speak. And when they do learn to talk, you show them different words and phrases. You teach them how to make themselves understood. You teach them how to listen. Having two children with hearing difficulties, and one who has needed speech and language therapy, I have realised how important two-way communication is. If these skills are not taught and practiced in the early years, your children will never be able to properly communicate with you or with others. Trust me, it is not cute if your 16-year old is calling you 'poo-poo-head'.
- Forgiveness - Some days, I am crap. I lose my patience, I roll my eyes, I shout, I storm off in a huff. These are not things I am proud of. They are not the way I want to conduct myself as a parent. But, I am human. I get tired and cranky. And sometimes I wallow in my imperfections. Sometimes I need a little cry. But not for too long. Because Moozles and Dubz need me to take care of them, not sit around moping that I'm not 'Mother of the Year' potential. By the way, what jerk invented that competition?!
- Me - Yes, I am a mother. But I am a wife, a friend and a sister. I am a lover of gin and tea (though not combined) and cake. I like museums, but I also like trashy television shows. I can still be who I used to be. But as a parent, I now have hilarious stories of my children with which to regale my friends and family, and sometimes passing strangers if I'm feeling a bit lonely.
- Laughter - Being a parent can be tough. But my God, it can be so much fun. Some days I laugh so hard I think I may weep. Some days I smile until my cheeks hurt. Some days we are all giggling like fools. And I love it. From the cute ways my pre-schooler mispronounces words ('wub my back'), or the way he waits until we get onto public transport to talk about who has a penis and who has a vagina. And even though my big girl thinks she knows everything, she doesn't (Husband and I still laugh about how she wrote out the definition of 'artificial insemination' instead of just 'artificial' for her literacy homework a few months ago). Laughing with, and at, your kids will make the tough times that much easier.
So, these are the things I have learned in my eight years of being a parent. I probably learned more, but I think I still have baby-brain so may have forgotten a few things.
Happy birthday Moozles! xxx