Friday, 11 May 2012
Okay. Before I start. Quick confession. “Motherhood” was not on my bucket list when I was growing up. Neither was “marriage”. But that’s ANOTHER story. As a child, I never played with dolls, because I didn’t have any. And I don’t recall myself as being the ‘nurturing’ type. If I was honest with myself (seeing I am already in confession mode!), I truly did not think it would or could happen for me. And yet, here I am. At 40-something. With not one, but three munchkins, whom I am the primary “responsible adult” for. And quite frankly, there are times, when the enormity of the responsibility scares the living daylights of me, and I agonize if I am doing good enough a job.
Not a ‘natural’ mother. That is what I am. I am rubbish at play because I am too practical and constantly find myself lost in the day-to-day mechanics of what needs to be done between now and forever. And there you have it! Another reason why I am SUPER grateful for Matt and constantly remind the girls how lucky they are to have him as their dad. I admire how he doesn’t need to have things all planned in advance. The way he is the ‘funghi’ (ahem.. did you get it?) in the crazy mix of our family of five (six if you count Buddy, our rescued dog AND the ‘son’ we never had!). Rough and tumble. Madcap and fearlessly wonderful. That’s Matt.
Me? “Sit up straight! Stand tall! Have you done your homework? Be proud of who you are! Have conviction! Stand up for what you believe in!” Yadda yadda yadda. You get the drift. I am waaaaay too serious! Especially when I press the ‘playback’ button in my head after another ‘discussion’ with the girls. It doesn’t help knowing friends who, whilst complimenting us on what wonderful girls we have, also confess they are not as strict as me. But I SO don’t want to win the award of “Most Strict Mom”! I mean, REALLY! And yet, if it means keeping them safe or equipping them with the tools they will need in life, then, I guess that is the role I must play.
Such an unexpected business, “Motherhood”. For those who choose to leap into this condition whereby you are forever linked to the child who spends the best of 9 months in your tummy, forever changing your sense of self and your body (unless you happen to be a supermodel); and when he / she enters the world, your life – forever. From sleep deprivation to stinky nappies, the constant worry and what goes in and comes out of this little being, the demanding weight of responsibility. The list is endless and there are days when I’ve looked in the mirror and wondered if I am ‘man’ enough for the job.
I remember when Faith first arrived. None of the books, nurses or doctors brought me any comfort as I struggled to figure out why she wouldn’t feed or sleep like my friends’ babies. I felt like a failure. I went from being a ‘can-doer’ and someone who was such a firm believer in the impossible, to tearfully telling Matt I couldn’t possibly have any more children as I already stunk so badly at being a mother to one. Luckily, he understood and supported me in every way possible. Things got better after a year.
But soon, it was evident to us we needed to give her a sibling, if only to have one friend for life. Faith didn’t want to play with any of the other children. Only me. And nobody was allowed to engage with me as I was her ‘property’. And so, we tried for baby number two. And lost the baby. Again, I was overwhelmed with a sense of failure. Was it something I ate? I shouldn’t have gone for that run. Self-remonstrations abound. And then, 3 weeks later, I fell pregnant again. I was nervous. But for nothing. Tia was healthy and a different baby to Faith. And so, a promise for another baby was made. Our last, Paige followed soon after.
Today, at nearly 9, 10 and nearly 13, life with the girls is busy, sometimes crazy, and full. Most of the time, our household operates like a well-oiled machine. Every so often though, I get a crippling sense of doubt and worry if I am doing enough. I fret over their emotional well being and get heart palpitations over their safety in their journey in life, from the physical to the emotional and the intangible. And so I pray. For guidance, for their safety, their peace of mind and heart, and their happiness.
Motherhood may not come naturally to me, but I am very lucky because I have beautiful friends I learn from by observing, a great partner-in-crime, and three wonderful girls who inspire me to want to be a better mother everyday. If someone had told me how hard 'motherhood' was going to be; how the task involved sleepless nights, huge responsibilities, self doubt with a large dose of never-ending worry, I probably would have run the other way screaming. BUT having entered this ‘office’, with both eyes wide open, I confess I wouldn’t trade the pockets of joy and love, that lump in my throat when I watch them grow and develop into wonderful people, or even those crazy days when it all falls into place, for anything.