Motherhood isn’t for the fainthearted, and anyone who tries to tell you differently is probably selling something. On any given day you’ll find me wanting to tear my hair out over endless arguing, bedtime battles and morning mayhem, but today I’m focusing on some things that make me glad to be a mum. Here’s what I consider to be five cool things about motherhood.
1. You get to be ‘the best mother in the world’ by doing really simple stuff
I love it when my kids say I’m the best mum in the world. It doesn’t take much. You make macaroni cheese for dinner, you find their missing football socks, let them have a friend over after school, remember to top up their travel card. You say, “Let’s watch a movie together – I’ll pop you some popcorn and make ice cream sodas” – and suddenly you are the best mother in the world. When you walk in with the tray, they can’t stop telling you how awesome you are.
The flipside: You can just as easily become the meanest mother in the world by doing equally simple stuff like saying no.
2. You get to enjoy children’s literature all over again
I love children’s books. I love the colourful illustrations, the clever rhymes, the humorous life lessons.
Childhood favourites like Where the Wild Things Are and Hairy McLary are now joined by new classics like The Gruffalo and Fancy Nancy. Books are meant to be read out loud while snuggling. And as your babies grow you can introduce them to your old favourites (Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, CS Lewis), while they introduce you to Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Nothing is better on a rainy night than snuggling in between your kids with a book to share.
The flipside: There is no flipside – just books and smiles all the way.
3. Disgusting stuff no longer freaks you out
I love that my kids make me braver than I used to be. So what if I’m scared of creepy crawlies and flying things in the house? As a mother, you learn to show no fear and get good at being the bug-catcher/dead-bird disposer.
Head lice. Ugh. Don’t worry, after a few infestations you’ll be very matter-of fact as you chat to your friend while killing nits with your nit-zapper. Vomitous bedding, pooey undies, bloody gashes will all be dealt with unflinchingly. This is the legacy of motherhood – an iron-clad stomach and bravery of Oscar-winning proportions.
The flipside: You will be dealing with bugs, birds, gashes, vomit, poo and nits on a regular basis. It just comes with the territory.
4. You lose your self-consciousness
I love that my kids push me out of my comfort zone and force me to become less self-conscious.
This process begins with pregnancy and childbirth and continues on indefinitely. Since they were little my kids have pushed me to try new things, break out of my shell and play. “Come on, Mum!” they call, eager for me to join them splashing in the water or whizzing down the hill on a luge. Once I might have been too worried about the way my body looks in a swimsuit to get in the water, but for my kids’ sake I’ll don my bikini rash top ‘n’ shorts and join them in the water. I’ll get over how far I think my butt sticks out when seated on a bike and just go for a ride.
The flipside: You never get a chance to be self-conscious. As a mother, ‘privacy’ is a distant dream. Sitting on the toilet is an open invitation for a deep and meaningful. Eventually this improves.
5. You learn a lot
Being a mum, you learn a lot. You don’t just learn about parenting and having kids – you also learn about yourself, about life, about human nature, about God, and about what really matters and what really doesn’t.
Every day you learn something whether you like it or not. You learn that you actually are like your mother, after all. You learn just how much your own mother must have done for you. You learn about unconditional love. You discover how a kid can make you so mad but at the same time you love them so much that you would still throw yourself at a rabid dog to protect that very same child you are so mad at.
You learn that you never knew what tiredness was until you were a mother. You never knew what ‘busy’ was until you were a mother. You never realised how self-centred you were until you had a little bundle that demanded 24-7 care, seven days a week, 365 days a year – no days off. You never understood that when you have a child, your heart begins to bleed for all the sad neglected little people in the world. You realise why your mum cried when she watched Home Alone.
When you are a mother the learning never stops. A wise person once said, “As parents we think we are there to help our kids grow up but actually they are there to help us grow up.”
I love that I get to be mother to three precious human beings. Who knows what they could be, who they could become? Who knows how many lives might be touched, helped, blessed through them.
Motherhood is intense. It’s tiring. It’s often thankless, sometimes sleepless, rarely glamorous. But it’s also the only job in the world that nobody else can do. Mum, you are irreplaceable. You are the only mother your children will ever have. How’s that for job security?
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