Friday, October 22, 2010

Mothering



Lately I've been thinking a lot about mothering & children. The long drives up and down the highway have given me some space to reflect. Watching my kids growing up, and away from toddler/preschool hood, and one growing into adulthood, has also given me much to think about. Driving home late one night recently I suddenly saw two sets of eyes shining bright in my headlights, a mumma possum scurrying across the road with her baby on her back. Luckily I braked in time and they crossed safely. This brave mother was so beautiful to watch and again made me think of what an important part we play in the lives of our children.



What also prompted me to consider this major part of my life was a couple of comments from two mums I got chatting to last week. After talking of the challenges they were facing with their children both said that if they had their time over they would not have had children. If they had known how hard it would be they would not have chosen to become mothers. Could I say the same? Did I judge them or admire their honesty?


The truth is that I haven't ever felt like that, and no I don't judge them and I do think it's a good thing that they were honest about how they felt. I see what they are expressing as an indication of how hard parenting can be at times, how challenging and stressful. As a mother I've certainly had many moments where I've felt overwhelmed, out of my depth, desperate, hopeless, resentful, even bullied! But I guess these times really don't stand out as major memories, more like moments that I got through, that I coped with, that helped me to grow as a mum.


I remember many times when I had patiently got through the long day at home with three or four little ones and then losing my cool over something small. Then I would feel like a failure, a bad mum, because I yelled or said something I regretted. These little instances didn't make me a bad person, they didn't even change all the good parenting that came before. No one is perfect and we need to allow ourselves to make mistakes, to be human. Happily these kind of times are few and far between these days as my children are more self sufficient and older, and perhaps I'm more relaxed too.


Sometimes when people hear I have five children there is a sense that I am a bit of an expert, that I am some kind of super mum. Let me tell you I'm definitely not! But I guess I have learnt a lot along the way and I do have a great sense of pride & joy at my relationships with my kids. We are close but I think I also give them space to be themselves. They are loved & looked after and they are learning that they have responsibilities to themselves & others. Each new stage they go through brings new challenges but I try to roll with these, trying to find ways to adapt while helping them too.



I've been thinking about what we bring to motherhood. All the bits & pieces from our own childhood that make up who we are. The snapshots and memories, the hurts & hiccups that form us. As a child I started school at four years of age, a tiny thing who really didn't cope well with school. I'm sure this impacted on me throughout my school life, and later as well. Because of this I made sure my kids went to school when they were ready, which meant holding two of them back rather than sending them early. An excellent decision!


Then there is my friend who has an anxiety condition, trichotillomania, which is the pulling out of hair, in her case her eyelashes. Until I read her 'story', which she presented at an Anxiety discussion evening I didn't fully understand why she always stayed with her children until they went to sleep at night.  She did this because she had begun her own journey with anxiety by pulling her hair out when alone in bed. Of course she worried about her own kids doing the same thing. It was a real light bulb moment for me as I realised how much this had impacted on her life and then her own children's' lives.


I'm sure all of us bring many things to our roles as mums. It's not all easy is it? From my own perspective I find being a mother to be the best thing I've ever done. The most challenging but the most fulfilling. I just love being with my gang and watching all the personalities develop. I don't, however, always love the picking up of assorted items of the floor, the cleaning of toilets, the endless food preparation & the crazy piles of school notes, and papers that pile up on every surface.  But hey, sometimes it's a good thing to try and relax and not worry too much about housework or bits of paper. To loosen up and not try to control every element of life.  It all gets done in the end.


As the mum of a now 18 year old it's been particularly satisfying seeing Charlotte becoming such a grounded & confident girl. She seems so sure of herself as a person and has a bright future ahead of her. I have found myself reflecting on myself at the same age, which has made me sad at times. I struggled with life when I was teenager, and looking back I can see I was probably depressed.  Drugs, pregnancy, low self esteem, lack of direction & motivation and all that came with it - I was really a lost soul in many ways. I think of my own mum and how hard this must have been for her. I'm so lucky to have a mum who has always supported me along the way, for her love & care I am forever grateful.


Someone said to me recently that these kind of experiences make us who we are (if we survive them!) and I guess that's true. I am such a different person now and I hope a good mum to my kids. I really value my role as a mum, as I value all the mums. Having had four of my kids so close together I have seen how challenging it can be. Getting through post natal depression and coming out the other side to enjoy my kids & have a fulfilling life was huge. Perhaps we don't give mothering the respect it deserves, it's a BIG BIG job and most of the time we do it really well. So give yourself some love today and remember what you are doing is so important. Whether you work or at at home, or both, your job as a mum is one of a kind. What you give to your kids today they will take into their lives forever.



Looking through photo's to add to this post I have been really struck by the gorgeous colour & fun & love in my life. The happy, crazy, smiley faces that have been jumping out at me are so beautiful. What a lucky girl I am.  And I'm thinking too of the funny, loving things the kids say sometimes. Last week I was so tired and grumpy in the car on the way to Ballarat.  "I can't HELP being so tired!!" I ranted. Quietly from the back came Rosie's voice, "No, you're right. And you can't help being so beautiful either." It was hard to be grumpy after that!



Now I'm off to hang out some washing in the sunshine, chat to the ducks & chooks, fold a huge pile of washing, run up to school to help with lunch orders, finish a bunny for the shop, a probably a million other things as well! Hope you are having a happy day lovelies, see you soon xo

33 comments:

Wendy said...

Gorgeous post, Beck! As mum to 6, I can hear you loud and clear...

kirsty said...

So honest and so well written Beck. I also have five children and sometimes beat myself up over stuff that just doesn't matter, hopefully your words of wisdom will come to me again when i need them the most. thankyou.

x

ps. the word verification was psist. says is all doesn't it (persist).

x

Lizzie said...

Well done Beck for being a normal human being with likes, dislikes, moods and imperfections....!! You know being a Mum is a very, very special thing but going the whole 5 yards to being a Nana/Grandmother is the most amazing thing in the world. That's the payoff for sleepless nights, bad tempered toddlers, school runs and everything else, that's when you know 'you did good' and it couldn't happen without all that came before it....
Mums are special, each and every one of us...
Lizzie
xxx

messyfish said...

you rock beck!

Sue said...

Oh Beck how gorgeous that your little Rosie is like a little rose herself, so pretty and special. What a lovely compliment she gave you as she can overlook your grumpiness and see the true goodness inside of you. I wish a lot that I wasnt so grumpy and tired most of the time too but I guess it is part of our job as mum. I am always amazed at how you manage with 5 kids and they seem really great kids too so it must make you extremely happy. My 2 kids are pretty good too most of the time, and like you I hate having to go around the house and pick up their things, but there could be worse to contend with. I can totally sympathise with you about PND having suffered it quite badly after Isabelle and now I go through stages of dealing with major anxiety which is a pain in the bum but I know it will get better.

Jennie said...

You have really put this so well Beck. I find it quite hard being a mum sometimes, as my relationship with my mother is basically gone now. (they haven't seen the kids since January because of her awful awful opinion of me/behaviour) I so want my relationship with our girls to be different and positive. Supportive!
Thanks so much for this post.xx

Tania said...

Just a brilliant, gorgeous, most excellent post. 'Nuff said.

flowerpress said...

yes :-)

Out Back said...

What a beautiful post.

Thank you for reminding me what an important and fulfilling job being a mother really is.

Lovely, lovely photos.

Take care,

Tania

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

Wow! i just don't know where to start! it makes me sad to hear that someone would regret having their own child... I just can't really understand it... as much as Busy can drive me to distraction I would never for one second want to even imagine her not in my life at all. i hope there kids never hear them say that. I know I am being judgemental but it makes me really
sad. Great post Bec, i looked at all those pics of you and thought , it is so good how you change yor hair so often!!

karlyn Jackson said...

gorgeous post! makes all of us feel normal, thank you!

teddybearswednesday said...

what a beautiful post Beck, truly brave honest and beautiful . thank you really for sharing. I think you are amazing. xo

Kate said...

You are so ace Beck!
I am beside myself thrilled to call you my friend. This is a wonderful and beautifully written post. X

Bec said...

Love this post :) I have been feeling pretty terrible the last few days and I think my mothering has shown it :( but it is true, what you say, cut some slack and remember that its few and far between.

Dragonfly said...

Fabulous post! I love your honesty and obvious pride about your children.

tea pea said...

Lovely post - as a mum of four who are growing up rapidly, i totally agree with you.... having children is the best thing I've ever done...I've just come from picking up washing from my soon-to-be 18 year old son's room. He'll appreciate it one day!! Have a great day! xx

Allison said...

What a beautiful post.

Lindy in Brisbane said...

I find it absolutely heart-breaking that those parents would choose not to have their children over again. I adore my children, and the thought of life without them is unimaginable. Yeah it's hard as hell, but the most worthwhile things always are, aren't they? Thanks for such a lovely, thought provoking post.

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Lovely post, Beck. Thank's for sooo much recognition! xx

Screamstress said...

Lovely post! I feel what you're saying, it is hard and I don't love all of it, but I love them. Interesting too about our childhoods impacting on our childrens. Hope you're enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine! xo

ROZ said...

Yes, it's true, being a parent is a challenge. but it's a day-to-day thing. And when my children were young, of course my husband did a lot of wonderful parenting. I'm in the position of looking back on it all, my children are all grown up. I'm so proud that they turned out to be the wonderful people that they are! It's a blessing.

michelle said...

well said beck, a lovely post that all mums can relate to.

Little Ted Canvas said...

Wow Beck, you have summed up the joys, challenges & complexities of motherhood beautifully. It sure is a tough job, but one I cherish & wouldn't give up for the world. I also feel so very blessed to have an amazing, rational, sensitive & supportive husband to help. We've been faced with some challenges this week, always something new to keep you on your toes! It really highlighted the different roles we both play as parents & how lucky our kids will be as a result. You have a gorgeous family & you really are an inspiration to me. I appreciate your honesty & openess it helps me realise that for all motherhoods ups & downs, I'm normal! We never stop learning how to be a parent, and I always get a little something from your posts, thank you for sharing..

Peta @ Pippiwillow said...

This truly SOOOOOOOO Lovely to read Beck. You have a knack of creating a post like this one when my life is way too stressful and I feel it all caving in on me...and then I get some perspective (for one aspect of my life at least). Can't wait to chat more -Im on leave in Nov. Cheers and thanks. Peta xo

Flotsam Friends said...

Hi Beck, I'm your latest Follower and what a way to start... This is an incredibly open, honest, uplifting post. You've seriously summed it up.

I've also had my struggles in life (my parent's messy divorce when I was five wasn't easy on me) but having my own two boys has healed that. I love raising them the way I always wanted to be myself. I'm a true believer in a simple life and this includes simple pleasures. Nature plays a huge part in this for us.

So great to hear about your experiences and I think you're wrong when you say you're not "super mum"... In my eyes you are. And your bunnies are the cutest!!

Kindest,

Pruxxx

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment about my driftwood pieces. My girlfriend loved her gift!! Px

Flotsam Friends said...

P.S. Love that photo of your and Charlotte. She's a beautiful looking girl. You must be very proud. Px

Flotsam Friends said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seedling said...

Hello Beck -- I'm not sure how else to get a hold of you except to leave a comment here. Just wanted to let you know you won my giveaway! If you could email me your details at seedlingclothing@gmail.com that would be awesome. Thanks. ~ Jen x

Seedling said...

And great post by the way! I'm go grateful that I took the time to read it. Thank you.

Ciara said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Beck. As a mother of four I feel your words keenly. Thanks so much for such a thought provoking post. Sometimes I am glad to be Just Good Enough. :-)

zofia said...

ahh, such a lovely post Beck. It has made me cry.
I hope I can be the best mum for my kids..I know I can be better.
But I'll just go day by day. xx

le@thirdontheright said...

so well said :) to wish you hadn't had kids is a thought that makes me sad, sad that maybe they are missing the support of others that might make mothering a joy :) I have lots of great support from afar - I am blessed - le

Robyn said...

This is an absolutely beautiful post... thank you for sharing this.