If you had of asked me 8 years ago what I thought this ‘mothering’ thing was going to be like; I would have no doubt been clueless. Mainly because I had a baby who did not do much other than feed, babble and sleep (eventually). Ask me now, four kids in total later, and I still don’t think I know. I suspect being a mother is inherent in most of us – whether we have kids or not, because we care, nurture and help so many people – even our kid/s!
Mother’s Day has been and gone for this year, and I celebrated mine a week late as we were not able to celebrate on the ‘real day’. I love Mother’s Day. I get all choked up with tears with the little hand made cards, comments written by teachers verbatim from my kids. I love it. I love their insight of *me* – of who I am to them. That is what means so much to me. I know how I am, but how they see me – I love the naked and raw truth of it jotted down in cards, or by caring teachers who may not always be mothers, but always know how important it is to mums! (thank you to all my kids teachers, who always have more patience than I for filling out cards, surveys and stories about their Mum!).
I love reading about the things I do with my kids that mean so much to them. The tucking in at night, the bedtime story, the lullaby. Now I have to be honest and admit that at times, I HATE, the extra song/story/book because I have so much to do. Yep – I said that out loud. Then I think about what I just thought and the pure joy of tucking them in and singing (badly) another song and I feel guilty. I am wired for routine, and I tell you, one extra book or *something* sometimes throws me off my game (or impinges on the amount of sleep I can get before a night shift). I also feel just a bit guilty for that minute when the final ‘nigh nigh’ is said and the door is shut – because some days I almost feel like dancing and screaming out KIDS ARE ASLEEP like a crazed person! I walk away with purpose knowing that the day for the kids and the mothering is done. Now I just get to be a person and think of only what I need to get done without the interruption and comments from four kids.
Back to the insight from my kids – the things they listed as being the best bits about me as their mum were –
I love it when Mummy pushes me on the swing super high
I love it when Mummy tucks me in at night and gives me big kisses, cuddles, huggies and tickles
I love it how Mummy always makes yummy food and lets me get the biggest lick of the bowl
I love my Mummy because she always sings me a lullaby
I had to laugh, because they always get the same, but it is there perception of what I do that cracks me up. There were all sorts of other things (benefit of three in Prep!!) about me – with my age ranging from 8 (thanks Caitlyn!!) to “Not very old, she has no grey hair” (thanks Emma!!) and with a top range of “I think about 28” (I love you Beebo!). I love how they see me and their world.
Then there was what I liked –
My mummy loves to work. (ah, not really, but I can see why they say that I as do it a bit!)
My mummy likes to share and work.
My mummy likes to make us dinner but she likes it more when we actually eat it (way to go Hayden!)
My mummy likes to do her crochet and play with paper (Brendan – you are a genius).
So I read these and got a bit sad. I mean, my kids think I *like* to work above anything else. Is that a good thing? Is it good that they know we have to work in this world in order to live (well at least we do, four kids, a house and a car don’t come cheaply)? I don’t know. Then the guilt kicked in. Am I setting a good example? On one hand yes, yes I am. Nothing comes cheaply or for free in this world. But then is it good that they think I like to work above all other things? Probably not. So I think I will be discussing work/life balance with them soon.
There is always, for me, an element of guilt in just about anything that I do. I don’t know when or if this will ever change. The mothering thing just kicks it up a notch and it is like you have four others to think of first – forever – before yourself. I can see my role changing – as it is slightly already with Hayden; but I don’t think you ever stop nurturing, caring, devoting and loving those little humans. They out number me, they defeat me, they laugh at me, they mock my angry voice, and above all they love me. They are my world. They make me so incredibly frustrated and cranky; and they absolutely challenge almost every rule there is in our house. They choose not to listen more times than not; then they actually surprise you and do things without being asked. They are a pack, and a force to be reckoned with – I don’t doubt that this solidarity will be of great use as they get older. They are loud, obnoxious and hysterical. There are more fart jokes than we ever know what to do with, and they always occur in the minutes just before bed time. They have a solution for just about everything you would need to know – surprisingly some have real merit. The biggest thing I take away from their comments and writing in my Mothers Day cards is this – they know they are loved. They know that above all, they each are incredibly special and so very loved. That is half my battle won – because I must be doing something right. Time to be a little easier on myself, time to be a little less worried about what I have not done; and focus on the four sets of eyes that watch me and see me in ways I never see myself.
So, tonight, there will be two books. There will be lots of fart jokes, lots of lullabies and lots of cuddles. Because that is the stuff they will remember – I am doing great at this mothering thing. Four happy kids, four bright minds, and four open minds. Insightful little buggers they are.