Welcome to the 22nd issue of the #beingamother project. This month sees Catherine from Battle Mum take us on a journey (sorry I had to slip that in there seeing as she is a biker!) through motherhood that will be oh-so-familiar to many of us in the early days and toddler years – the good times, the bad times, the sacrifices and the gains. Do make sure you read all the way to the bottom because there is a very lovely poem which rounds off this edition which just so perfectly puts what it is to be a mother to a little one….
The good and bad points of being a mum are universal and we all feel and experience them to some degree. Whether it is total and utter exhaustion from lack of sleep, to having our heart strings pulled to within an inch of their lives when our children say mama for the first time, we all go through the same things at one time or another.
I became a mum when the test said “pregnant +3 weeks”. My son may have only been a tiny tadpole but that moment changed my life forever. I was going to be a mum. I started eating better, continued taking my Pregnacare vitamins and generally looked after myself better than I had done in a very long time. I was growing and nurturing our child and I wanted to do right by them from that day forth.
Being a mum really kicked in on the day my son was born. A few hours after birth my son finally latched on and fed from me and it was the most amazing, emotional experience of my life. It made up in part for the trauma of birth a few hours before. When my husband came to visit us later that afternoon he came in to see his wife feeding his son and we both cried, our hearts filled with emotion and love. That was the start of our incredible journey together as a family and it’s been on hell of a roller coaster.
It has also changed immeasurably since those first few weeks and so has my son. Being a mum to a newborn is the toughest job in the world. You have a tiny little person, totally dependent on you for all of their needs, that your own go completely out of the window. Getting yourself washed and dressed during the day is an achievement in itself. And then slowly but surely it starts to get easier as the rewards come flooding in like those first smiles, first babbles, discovering their hands and feet, the first crawls and then walks, the hugs and kisses. Soon enough they start to grow and develop with your help until they’re not so dependent on you and start to become their own little person, full of character.
Now 19 months down the line, it’s feeling, knowing and experiencing a love like no other. A love that is unconditional, one you would lay your life down for and one you cannot begin to describe to those who haven’t got a child. It’s like we’ve all joined a secret society in which only parents can participate or join, and one in which we don’t have to explain that love to one another. There’s no need because we just know. We know because we have it and we get it! I love my son so much and tell him every opportunity I get. I tell him every night as I put him to bed, when I check on him as I head to bed myself and first thing each morning when I get him from his cot. There are no words to describe it.
Being a mum is giving up alot of things for a small person. Nights out, trips to the cinema, lazy afternoons spent napping on the sofa are all traded in for Ffmily time together, be it outdoors at a petting farm or playing indoors with a Fisher Price Little People garage. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love playing cars and doing vroom noises. It’s way better and so much more fun and rewarding than 2 hours of Mission Impossible whatever! To see my son smiling and laughing is the best feeling in the world and no meal out or film could come close to it!
Being a mum means dealing with the tantrums and clinginess alongside the laughs and smiles. I swear our son has morphed into Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde! One minute he is trying my patience with fake crying and lashing out, the next he’s smiling, saying mama and coming to me voluntarily for a love. Oh how I love the voluntary loves. He just falls into my arms, buries his head in the crook of my neck and totally relaxes into a mum hug. That’s the epitome of what being a mum means to me.
Being a mum is also a job filled with the biggest worries. You worry are they eating and drinking enough. You worry are they being properly looked after when you’re at work. The biggest worry is when they’re ill, so much so I’ve slept in the floor beside my sons cot in his room on one particularly bad night because I forgot about the travel cot in our spare room. You worry are they developing at the right pace, whether they should be saying more words than they are at 19 months old. It never ends.
Being a mum is all these things and more, and I could go on forever. I also know that there is so much more to come in my journey as a mum. I’ve only been on this train ride for a short period of time and it’s been full of laughs, tears and surprises. Being a mum is the toughest but most rewarding job in the world. Sorry for the cliché but it is! And no matter how we try to explain it we will never fully find the right words to convey what it means to be a mother.
I’ll leave you with a poem I found which goes some way to convey what being a mum to a toddler means to me, right here, right now.
“The Little One That Follows Me”
A careful woman, I ought to be; a little one follows me.
I do not dare to go astray, for fear they’ll go, the self-same way.
I cannot once escape their eyes, whatever they see me do, they’ll try.
Like me, they say, they’re going to be, that little one that follows me.
They think that I am good and fine; believe in every work of mine.
The bad in me they must not see; My life to them, must, an example be.
I must remember, as I go, through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
I’m building for the years to be, for that little one that follows me.