Becoming a mother is life changing, redefining, challenging, overwhelming, exciting, tiring, the biggest blessing any woman can imagine… every single time.
Our girls may share a gene pool but they were all born with their own needs, personality and preferences.
Becoming a mother, 3 times over has meant redefining motherhood, 3 times over.
Yes, our values and parenting goals are the same for all our kids but my approach to mothering them isn’t.
Eliana is driven, independent and self-critical by nature. She is a “rough-and-tumble” kind of gal with Olympic dreams. She is fearless and already challenges societal convention.
I am her biggest cheerleader and also the giver of many “unwanted” (but needed) cuddles. Raising a confident little lady is top priority for us.
As a first time mama, she stripped me bare, to my core – Challenging everything I thought I knew about parenting and being a woman. I made countless mistakes with her. I simply did not know any better, but Eli never loved me less for any of them. In fact, she’s thought me and still teaches me forgiveness. Especially self-forgiveness.
Lia is our dreamer, our fun-loving, giggling little girl. She has confidence and personality to spare and there’s always room for one more friend, time for one more hug or an extra bedtime story. At only 4years old she shares her mama’s love for photography and together we capture every family memory.
I need to teach Lia about boundaries and protecting her beautiful heart. Preserving her optimistic approach to life and the wonder she has for all things big and small is a must. Lia showed me how strong I really am. As a baby she was very sick, regularly. She stopped breathing TWICE and the paediatric ward was our second home for the first 2 years of her life. Now I know the endless depth of strength that resides in EVERY MOM.
You would think becoming a mother to three would be easy. I should know everything by now, right? WRONG! Ava couldn’t be more different from her sisters… Fierce, feisty and demanding! Ava is our tiny fighter (and biter). At only 1 she’s already ruling the house with an iron fist and so much cuteness -We all melt at her feet.
For Ava, I am still learning and discovering what exactly she needs from me. At this stage it’s been 22 months of breastfeeding, lots of time in my arms and trying to help her express her frustration in words – not attacks. Ava has however awakened my sense of appreciation. Appreciation for being a mom, having happy healthy children and enjoying the ups and downs of momlife.
For me having 3 kids means being 3 moms all in one!
Mothering isn’t something you learn in a book. It’s silly to expect moms to approach Motherhood in the same way.
Why do we put so much pressure on our fellow moms?
Who decided what the “right way of mothering” is?
Why do we approach other moms from a place of judgement and comparison, instead of an open mind?
Wouldn’t becoming a mother be so much easier if there wasn’t so many rules?
What if instead we all started nurturing ourselves and other moms in our diverse Motherhood journeys?
Country Road held a Mother’s Day event over the weekend to “Celebrate those who care”. #ToNurture.
Together with a group of women and moms from every walk of life we spent the morning in conversation about what it means “to nurture”. Incredible women shared their experiences and tips on “nurturing”. The panel included Dr Nandipha Magudumana, Jackie Burger and Swaady Martin to name a few.
I met wonderful new moms, daughters and friends – all eager to break free from the pressure and conventions we as a society have built around what it means to “mother”.
What does it mean “to mother”?
At the heart of being a mom is the ability “to nurture” but as women we have the capacity to nurture so much more than only our kids.
We can do this by breaking free from the expectations that’s been set for us!
– Set boundaries. This include work and personal boundaries. People will push you as far as you let them.
– No more crazy goals or deadlines. Know when to say “NO”. Also know your worth and don’t let others bully you into their unrealistic plans for the future.
– Don’t force a square peg into a round hole. Create your own “normal” and do what works best for the entire family. If parenting books knew it all, the writers would be millionaires.
– Forget about perfect harmony. Celebrate “wins for the week”. This week family time might have won, next week you may be experiencing a work victory or a breakthrough in a marital struggle – all parents have them. Celebrate those and stop trying to have everything in the precise balance. (I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for 7 years -it’s impossible and really tiring.)
– Schedule your life by priorities. Take time to think about what YOU NEED to be a good mom. Whether it is regular exercise, an afternoon walk alone, quiet time to start your day, a weekly coffee with friends or a monthly massage… Whatever it is put it into the calendar FIRST.
– Bring presence to everyone and everything you do. When you are with your kids, be with them fully. Put every other thing on the “to-do” list and your phone away. When you are with your friends – soak up the laughter (and wine). While you are with your husband – see him, hear him, appreciate him and remember the man he is outside being a dad.
– No more crazy goals. We (and our kids) are told to reach milestones, financial gains and life success at certain ages and stages of life. WHY? Mostly to drive us crazy. Obviously it’s not about letting go or ignoring warning signs of development but rather about giving ourselves and our families some grace to “just be”.
– Embrace your own unique journey in becoming a mother and trust your gut. For some women becoming a mother is second nature, a calling that’s been waiting to be awakened. For others it may take a little longer getting the hang of momming. It’s all good. You have got this, no matter how long it takes for you to feel like a mom.
Motherhood looks different for every woman…
To the mom who doesn’t want to be left alone with her baby, the woman who craves a life outside her home, the mom rocking it as a domestic goddess, the baller climbing the corporate ladder or the entrepreneur working while the world sleeps … Your kid(s) have been given to YOU, and you are the only one that knows how to be the perfect mom for them, creating the perfect life for your family.
I hope that today, on Mother’s Day you feel celebrated for being an incredible mom (no matter how harshly you judge yourself). Most of all I hope the celebration continues every single day from today and that after reading this post you will feel confident in yourself! Even if you haven’t got all the answers, even if you’re in a phase of motherhood that you hate or maybe you need some help, a lot of help. You are still an incredible mom! Your kids are still blessed to have you!
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who nurtures. Whether you’re a mom, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt or friend.
PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.