I remember when my fourth child was born. A big beautiful baby boy. That’s a lot of b’s. After he was born, a lot of people congratulated me on (finally) managing to have a boy after 3 girls. But I wasn’t hoping for a boy. And I wasn’t hoping for a girl either. I was excited about welcoming a new person to our family, and if it was another girl, I would have been just as thrilled!
I couldn’t wait for my three girls to meet their brother. Here they are watching TV on my hospital bed.
I remember coming home from hospital to my brood of children under 6 years of age. And Motherhood hit me with full force. Motherhood. It’s filled with so much joy. Incredible really. But there is also a lot of sacrifice involved. And I can tell you, I felt it especially when my children were little. Right from when you carry your first child within you, your body doesn’t belong to you anymore. And it doesn’t stop when the child is born. So much of what is “yours” ceases to be anymore. In a way you, your body, and your life is dictated by your role as Mother.
What you eat can affect pregnancy and breastfeeding.
When you eat depends on when you have a spare moment (and sometimes you hide in the pantry to eat a piece of chocolate so you don’t need explain to a 2-year-old, why they can’t have some).
What you wear depends on how much vomit and snot you are prepared to have on a particular outfit.
When you dress you need to allow for breastfeeding and looking after little children. This means dresses are sometimes out…and dangly earrings, and long hair left out, and necklaces, and rings, and a lot of other things.
When you sleep, and how long for, depends how sick your children are, when they are teething and a myriad of other reasons.
What you do and where you go depends on how settled your child is and a million other variables.
The home needs to be child proof, and is rarely tidy when you have a toddler tearing around pulling everything out.
You can’t go anywhere without a huge bag filled with mumsy things.
You can almost never sit down for a more than a few minutes, even when you’re trying to have coffee with a friend.
You’re constantly (absolutely constantly) responsible for keeping another person alive.
Sometimes you feel like a machine, always providing for the needs of other and cease to exist as an individual person.
It’s like you need to consult 100 variables before you make any decision! And that can be extremely draining. This may not be true for everyone, but it was for me. I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of motherhood. Being a mum is an incredible privilege. And if anyone asked me whether I would recommend becoming a parent I would say, without hesitation, “YES!” Best thing that happened to me. However, the sacrifices involved in parenting, at any stage, are real.
My baby boy is now almost 4 and my eldest will soon be 10. I’ve entered a new phase of parenting, filled with school issues, attitudes and extracurricular activities. I can tell you, all the sacrifices when children are little — all the wearing nights and long days; all the giving of yourself, and your body — it’s all worth it! And it’s ALL IMORTANT!
You see, while being a mum is always going to involve sacrifice (because that’s part of the beauty of it), it does change. You will get (most of) your body back. You will be able to go away for a weekend (childless) with your spouse. You will be able to sit for more than 2 minutes at a time while the kids play. You will find yourself again. It does happen.
If you’re in the midst of raising little kids, feeling weary, and my story rings true to you, I’m telling you from the other side: What you are doing is vital, even when no one notices. It’s an investment, so keep on keeping on and keep on loving the moment. While it may not be clear now, you’ll look back and see all the moments for what they are: pieces of a beautiful masterpiece.