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Friday, 11 May 2012

19. Motherhood

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.



  1. You are halfway between tiger-mom; ... but find a way to balance what you see as the best sides of Matt in yourself. You are doing a great job Mish. The thing I notice - and admire - most about you is that in spite of pretending not to, you do grow and evolve as you encounter your daily trials and tribulations. xm

  2. I often wonder if I made the right decision in never becoming a mother. When I pour myself another glass of wine, the answer is "yes". When I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want, the answer is "yes". When I can run out/travel at the drop of a hat, the answer is "yes". Yet, when I see happy families at play, at dinner, on vacation, the answer is "maybe not". When I visit friends and their lovely children (you know who you are), the answer is "perhaps not". When I think of my rapdily approaching dotage, which I will face alone, I think "probably not". I guess I'll pour that next glass of wine now ...

  3. I am in such awe of you - your honesty and self-reflection are amazing. And I remember when you only had Faith and Tia was a baby. I remember Faith being shy and not wanting to play with anyone - although that improved I think... I always wanted to be a mummy. To more than one. But the universe had other ideas and gave me a hard time getting even one and was not going to cooperate with me and give me more to love. Now with my only miracle (naturally conceived after failed ivf) I am a tough mother. sometimes I hate that I am tough on her but I want her to be strong and full of self esteem and confidence, unlike me. We are very alike in that way Mich! But just think how wonderful our girls will grow up to be...fingers crossed! Please know that you are doing a fantastic job. And that we have wonderful husbands to back us up and provide the things we can't. xxx