Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s the first day of Spring and the sun has been shining on us as we enjoyed a family day out, one of my intended Memory Days, in the Lake District today.  This is my second Mother’s Day as a mum myself and it’s made me reflect on all the things that this rollercoaster role has taught me.  Here are the 7 lessons I’ve learned from motherhood…

It’s everything I expected it to be… When I was given my Tiny Tears doll for Christmas one year, I remember being back at school after the holidays and feeling eager to be back home to see my little Stefan.  I looked forward to feeding him, changing him, taking care of him.  I’ve always liked the feeling of being able to take care of someone, to make them feel loved and cherished and I hoped to find more of this feeling as a mum.  It’s been the single most rewarding part of being a mum to Louis for the past 19 months.  Not only getting to be the care-giver to someone totally dependent on me and Jack, but also getting so much in return.  From the first smile, the first mummy (which is “bibby” in Louis’ world), to the tiny-mouthed kisses at bedtime, the affection we’ve been given in return has been the biggest treasure of this whole experience so far.

It’s nothing like I expected it to be… Even before we were expecting Louis I’d heard the stories about parenthood being the biggest life-changer ever but that is such an understatement.  There’s pre-baby life and post-baby life.  I’d not anticipated how hard a job it really would be.  Yes, the sleepless nights and the loss of freedom are an adjustment but really it has been the weight of the sense of responsibility that I’ve found the most difficult.  Am I doing it right?  It’s a job without a handbook and, for a perfectionist like me, that’s a scary prospect.  How can I do the best by him?  How can I protect him from the bad and fill his life with the good?  How can I do all that while giving him a sense of self and independence?  I’ve had to learn not to think about it as much – if I do it starts to feel like a big hill to climb!

It’s totally unpredictable… Life is not as calm or as organised or as spontaneous as it once was.  It’s a crazy, unpredictable ride.  Every day is the same in the sense of routine but no day is really the same… That is in someone else’s hands completely.  And that is part of the fun.

It’s a different kind of happy… Pre-baby good times would be doing the things, seeing the people and going to the places I love.  Happiness came from being in good company and in enjoying quiet relaxation.  Maybe a few impromptu drinks on a Sunday afternoon, dinner out and visiting new places.  Post-baby good times are totally different… I can’t explain the happiness I get from making him happy.  I love to see his reaction when we introduce him to new things or taking him to new places.  It’s great to see the wide-eyes and sheer excitement on days like today and that, in turn, brings me more happiness than I could have anticipated.

I appreciate my own parents more… Crikey, my parents have played this game four times over!  And still are… I was sharing with them my realisation of just how much you invest in to being a parent – the love, the time and, for me, the ongoing worry!  It is a game of giving A LOT.  And they tell me it never stops.  They’ve been doing this for 36 years now and that takes some serious stamina.  Being a mum has made me realise even more how much my parents have – and still do – for me.  I’m very lucky to have two fantastic role models to try to emulate…

I’m going to change my mind… I’m now 3 weeks away from Baby Two’s due date.  At this point in my first pregnancy I was reading baby books diligently.  I wanted to create a nurturing environment and establish a stable routine for my newborn.  A few weeks in and all the ideals I’d imagined were out of the window.  We learned to do things our own way.  We’d try one thing and if it worked, we’d give each other a pat on the back and stick with it.  If it didn’t, we panicked a little and tried something (anything!) else.  And that’s if we could agree between us.  In truth, we’re still learning and, in the meantime, it’s all coming down to common-sense, intuition and a fair amount of compromise.

I’m lucky… I know I’m lucky to be a mum and to have my own mum to support me.  Some others aren’t so lucky.  I count my blessings. 

Wishing you all a happy Mother’s Day…

I’d love to hear from you.  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your mum or by being a mum yourself?

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