Mothering

noun

  1. the activity of bringing up a child as a mother.
    “he claimed his ex-wife was guilty of bad mothering”
adjective
  1. relating to or characteristic of a mother, especially in being caring, protective, and kind.

    “your maternal, natural mothering instincts will kick in”

How many times a day do I hear “Mumma”? I would hate to count.  Eliot suggested I should have named myself ‘the greatest person on earth” so I could hear that 100s of times a day instead.  Being Mum is a double-edged sword. It is one of the most fulfilling and also distressing roles I have.

Like a lot of us, before the kids arrived, I had plenty of ideas about the type of mum I was going to be.  Smothering was not on the list, no helicopter parenting here.  Neither was yelling, except in emergencies.  I was going to be a firm, caring, strong mum with lots of tactics for circumnavigating tantrums, teaching life lesssons and packed with good advice.  I was going to engage with my kids, have fun with them and be present always.

On Mother’s Day, I found myself reflecting a lot who I am as a mum, and who I want to be.  I know I have come a fairly long way.  I used to dread time alone with them, it would cause me so much anxiety.  I would start planning all the activities we were going to do to fill the time because it was unconscionable there would be boredom for anyone, particularly me.  I focused heavily on what I could do beside the kids, rather than with them.  I dreaded the thought of leaving the house with them.  I would stress about what I would do if one of them hurt themselves badly, visualizing ambulance calls.   There was a lot of anxiety.

These days, I am a bit more relaxed, though plenty of things still cause me stress.  Eliot is helping me to embrace the natural consequences style of parenting. I’m far from the perfect mum I pictured myself as, I get frustrated, I do yell, I bribe, I give in to demands and tantrums to keep the peace, and my kids quite often don’t listen to me.  On the flip side, we do fun activities together but I don’t plan everything or get anxious when it is just us three, I give lots of kisses and cuddles, I enjoy their crazy stories, video them singing all their made up songs and I love them with all my heart.

The changes in me have been caused by time, them growing and becoming more independent but also a focus shift away from trying to be a perfect mum to doing my best and realizing that I will make mistakes and shit happens.  Mothering has a different meaning to a lot of us and what it means to be Mother, Mom, Mummy, or Mumma is up to you.  Whatever type of mum you choose to be, it’s a pretty amazing thing, embrace it and go with your gut.

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