What I really liked about Joanna's post was that she was honest about how hard she found it after having her son, and she is reaching out to a community of mothers to ask them to share their own stories. Most importantly, there was no judgment; nothing from the standpoint of 'look what I have accomplished ask me how I did it'. Women tend to be harder on each other than we should be, and instead of working together we tend to float ourselves on an island and cast judgment on those who float by, sometimes that judgment is on the other person, but often it is on ourselves. Joanna touched on it in her post saying she used to see other mothers walking with their children looking perfectly coiffed and put together, and she wondered how they did it, as she felt she was floundering. Truth is (as she learned) most of us are floundering to some extent to make it all work.
I have been a mother since I was 16 years old. I have three daughters 21, 3,and 2. Motherhood at 16 is very different from motherhood at 35. When my 3 year old (Isobel-Izzy) was born I was a basket case...I was petrified something was going to happen to her; I knew too much...I quickly realized that ignorance was bliss. I knew nothing at 16, and though I took to motherhood instantly, I didn't know as much about the world as I do now so it was easier to be at ease.
At 16 there were no expectations of me either, if I managed to do the dishes by the end of a day with the new baby everyone thought I was a trooper. I loved being a mom right from the start. Caitlin (my 21 year old) was an easy child...the easiest it seems so far. It was just the two of us from the time she was 2...Caitlin had it hard though as she was my learner child...and I learned lots. But I was not only learning how to be a mother at that time, I was growing up myself. I was learning how to be an adult, a friend, a student, and an employee.
Fast forward 18 years and I am the new mother to Isobel, now trying to find my way as a new mother and new wife. I left my career as an Interior Designer so I could be home with her and returned to a long ago career as an ECE providing childcare in my home. That was interesting; as I was figuring out motherhood for myself often feeling like a first timer all over again, I was counselling others on child rearing, and life with children in general. What I learned, which is what Joanna learned is that we are all just trying to figure it out.
What I found was that I could still make time to do most things with one child, but boy did that change when my youngest came along. When Lilah was born I had two weeks off before my daycare families returned. Then I was at home with my newborn my 18 month old and 4 other children under the age of 2. My husband helped where he could as did my mother and older daughter, but it was overwhelming at times. I questioned for a long time how I was ever going to make it work, how was I going to give this sweet new baby all that she deserved while still maintaining a level of care for my daycare families that they expected and deserved. I quickly learned that routine was my best friend. I simply went back into the daycare routine we had prior to Lilah's birth and hoped that she could follow along...and follow along she did.
|My three girls <3|
Now the mother of a 2 year old, a 3 year old starting school this fall and a 21 year old in her last year of college, I no longer do the daycare, but own a business with my husband. Now juggling family and the demands of business ownership is a new phase of our lives. Right now we trade days and often feel like a divorced couple as we rarely get to spend much time together as a family. But what I am learning is that as always routine is going to be my best friend. As we whether this transition we will find our new routine and it will be tweaked and changed as and where needed. What I have learned is not to fret too much because all things seem to work out in the end, and no matter how badly we think we are scarring our children we are not. If they are loved, and know it, safe and know it, they have all that they need. They will surely survive your experimentations with the day to dayness of motherhood. Make them feel special and important and they will appreciate later in life all that you have done for them to give them the best life you could.
Here's to all the moms out there making it work everyday...and a special thanks to my mom who helps me immeasurably, and has taught me so much about being a good mom. <3