With the two monkeys lying in our bed, I look over at their sleeping faces and I start to think what does it mean to be a mother?
I officially became a mom on 9th July 2007 when Ally emerged screaming into this world. Since then, powerful and sometimes terrifying feelings have engulfed me. I remember the first time she stopped breathing, the fear, the panic and that huge sense of heart ache when I thought I could lose her. Literally my heart ached. She was sitting in the bouncy seat looking at me and the next minute I noticed her mouth and lips turning blue. I didn’t scream, instead I calmly carried her up and started petting her on the back till she got her breath back. Once I knew she was fine, I handed her over to my mom and went to the room to have a good cry. My body was shaking and my emotions were all over the place. She was less than a week old and meant the world to me. We had other similar episodes after that and each time I reacted calmly but after each episode I would break down and cry.
Nearly 4 years on and two children later, I am still doubting my abilities as a mother. Some days I suffer from extreme “Mummy guilt” I feel guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with the children, that I wasn’t patient enough, that I wasn’t doing all I could for them. Despite my confident exterior, I still doubt my mothering abilities like any other mom. Am I doing the right things for the kids? Am I teaching them the right values?
To me, being a mother means making sure my children are well looked after and protected. It means making sure they grow up to be responsible adults and compassionate human beings. At this point in my life it also means waking up various times a night whenever Max cries or if Ally has a nightmare. It means surviving on as little as 4 hours of sleep a day. It also means not being able to take a shower in peace cos the kids just want to be with you and talk to you all the time. Yes it’s tiring hearing their cries of ” Mama! Mama!” at least thirty times a day. But I know that this phase of their lives aren’t going to last forever.
One day my kids are going to be teenagers who no longer want to hang out with their mom. I’ll be able to sleep in, take my showers in peace, have a meal without being interrupted. But a part of me will definitely miss being the center of their lives.
Being a mother doesn’t mean giving up who I am as an individual, instead it has added another dimension to my life. I’m not just a mother, I’m also an independent, slightly careless and sometimes forgetful but perfectly capable woman. As a role model to my daughter, I think it’s important for her to see that Mama has her own interest, her own hobbies and needs time on her own as well.
As a woman you’re really the anchor of the household, yet it doesn’t mean you give up everything for the family. I have one morning off a week just to do my own things and hang out with my friends, just those couple of hours off helps me to refresh and makes me a much better mother and wife.
What does being a mother mean to you?