Backpacking through Europe Eat Pray Love style, publishing a book and topping a best-seller list, becoming fluent in a second language and promptly moving overseas, experiencing space travel, even simply learning how to make and maintain a personal budget – these are a few life-altering, bucket list adventures I am yet to (and may not ever) experience. Becoming a mother is one such adventure that I have never experienced yet and am incredibly curious about and in awe of.
The miracle of motherhood is one that has always puzzled me. Not only does the mind-boggling concept of conceiving and growing a mini-human inside a womb completely dazzle me, but also the entire culture around motherhood is so fascinating. From the singular connection a mother forms with her child to the dated stereotypes our society is slowly discarding, it’s a complex whirlpool that is both delightful and daunting. As a young millennial whose greatest achievement thus far has been a solo trip through Japan, it’s safe to say that I am not an authority on motherhood.
With Mother's Day on our horizon, I thought it would be an opportune moment to tap into the mothers in my life to learn, straight from the heart, what it means to be a mother. I asked 8 mums of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles to share with me what surprised, delighted or challenged them most about having kids.
"Dividing your time to being a good Mother, partner, friend or colleague is tough and can at times feel like you are failing in more areas than one. You’re not. There is no failing, only learning. I love the diversity that motherhood brings with it. We are all different, yet we all face similar triumphs and challenges. We’re all in this together."
"I've learned not to sweat the small stuff and to appreciate the simple things in life. I'm constantly in awe at how resilient kids are and how as a parent, we tend to fuss and stress over silly little things that aren't necessary. My son is the happiest when he sees me happy and relaxed."
"With each child, your heart fills with even more love and joy. Until you experience this you can’t possibly comprehend what this means. Having a child means you will be constantly surprised and delighted. And their wide-eyed delight and joy in the simplest of life pleasures, helps you, remember the wonder in those simple things as well."
"I thought I knew what tired felt like, but it wasn’t until I had my babies that I really knew what it meant to be drop-dead exhausted. But in saying that, I also learned that I am stronger than I thought. I can be on my feet all day, I can juggle part-time work and twins and I can function on three hours of sleep – all without coffee!"
"Right up until I was wheeled into the birthing suite I felt unprepared and, honestly, terrified. It wasn’t until I actually held her for the first time that I thought I could do this. It felt like everything just clicked in my mind."
"It surprised me how unique each of my kids are, and not just physically (although they are all so beautiful!) In personality, they are so unique and stunning and fierce. They each respond to things so differently. It’s stunning how individual and one-of-a-kinda-kind they are."
"I was so worried that I would be alone through it all, but I've found that motherhood has this unique ability to bring you closer to those around you. They say it takes a village to raise a child – I’m thankful for the village that has supported me."
"Your children will always surprise you with their unexpected kindness, curious inquisitiveness and cheeky mischievousness – from when they are tiny babies to when they are adults with their own children. Every day with them is an adventure!"