My "babies" are now 8, 6 and 1 and as they each grow and develop into their own beings, it is much clearer to me now that my role is far less defined than I once thought. I used to believe that the parameters of motherhood were well set and compartmentalized, that they would not spill into non-parental realms, but becoming a mother has shaped and re-moulded me such that the part of me that is “motherhood” can never be separated out.
That is not to say that my shaping has been all smooth contours and gentle adaptations. Motherhood has confronted me with sharp, raw, uncomfortable edges that have forced me to re-evaluate and re-consider and look at myself and my capabilities from a whole different perspective. Motherhood has been both the undoing and the becoming of me; the birth of each of my children has in turn been a re-birth of myself with revelations and realizations and more learnings than any other chapter in my life.
The hardest learning for me is that I am not the mother that I once thought I would be. That I screw up, again and again, in ways that I never thought that I would, and that I so often fall short of the attributes that I thought were essential to being a great Mum like patience, laughter, presence, being calm in my disposition and my voice. But holding the hand of this perceived failure is the learning that my mistakes are essential – not only for me to grow as a mother but for my children to grow into themselves. For them to bear witness that growth and development is part of life. Because in acknowledging that mistakes are ok, the burden of thinking that they must strive for perfection is smashed from that ridiculous pedestal.
Some may think I am too honest with my kids but that’s who I am. My children know when I think I’ve messed up because I tell them. I apologize, I embrace them and make sure they know that above all else I love them with all my heart and I think that they are the most incredible beings that have ever been. That I am so incredibly lucky that they are my children and I get to be their Mummy and that having them with me fills me with endless joy and that I have more love in my heart than I ever thought possible. And I mean every.single.word.