As a Mother I often wonder whether or not I am enough. There will be days when I question whether what I am doing is correct; Am I punishing them too much? Not enough? Do I listen to them enough? Do I praise them enough? Do I love them enough? Do they know how much I love them?
Ethan, 8 and Oliver, 4 are at the centre of everything that I do…and the centre of every decision I make. When Stew had his accident, I tried my best to protect them from the very possible chance that their Dad wouldn’t be coming home. We have always been of the belief that we wouldn’t lie to them, so I was honest without being too brutal in what I was saying. Oliver was too young at the time to even comprehend what was happening, but Ethan knew that things were different, and I saw the confusion on his face the first night I came home from the hospital. At a time when I was unsure what our futures would be like and whether or not my husband, their father, would be a part of it.
From then until now, they have known loss and confusion. They have witnessed pain and sorrow around them, and they have watched as their Dad struggled to be the man they needed him to be.
With most career choices, there comes textbooks, YouTube video tutorials, even lessons on how to do that chosen profession.
And yet, when it comes to being a mother, there is no guide book. Sure, you read blogs and websites. You swallow down as much information as possible from online forums and social media groups to allow you to be ready for when your bundle of joy comes along, but nobody…and I mean, nobody, can ever prepare you for that moment when it all becomes REAL!
I remember the birth of each of my children; the memories are sketchy in parts due to anaesthetic-brain but I remember them as though they were yesterday. Ethan’s scared little ‘alien’ face and kissable skin; or Oliver’s immense size (9lbs), paired with his gorgeous dark brown eyes, much like my own. And yes, it is true, I felt a rush of love. The old saying was right; there really isn’t any other love like it. But underneath that, feelings that I was desperately trying to keep buried, was fear and panic. In front of me were these bundles of joy; mini-people who were now reliant on me for their EVERYTHING. I watched over them sleeplessly – I counted their toes, stroked their skin and marvelled at how something so fantastic had come from me and Stew. But I also felt a cold-sweat on the back of my neck. All of a sudden, I felt incapable of looking after these tiny humans. How could I look after them and give them everything they need?
Me….the person who kills plants!
The person who burns most food she cooks….!
My memory has always been poor; how could I look after something when I forget things all of the time!?
Well, if you came here looking for the answer to ‘Motherdom’ then you have come to the wrong place. Because I still don’t have it. Put simply, I don’t think anybody has….and if they say they do, then they are lying. Most of us Moms…and Dad’s too wing it.
Like me, they take their bundle of joys home and from the moment you are signed off by the midwife and the health visitor, then you are at a loss as to what to do. At least I was…Suddenly I was alone. I remember when Stew returned to work after Ethan was born. Two weeks old and he was left with me. My nerves were on edge, I worried about doing something wrong, I checked on him every few seconds; wanting him to sleep so I could catch a breath one minute and then staring over into his cot and willing him to wake up the next.
But I realised pretty early on that my feelings were born from my fear of not being good enough. I have always been the type of person who worries about what people think of me; my confidence has taken a beating over the years…whether it be from bullying at school, friendships that have been lost, family rifts or work stuff….I sometimes struggle to see myself of value. I know some of my friends may read this and say, ‘Don’t be soft.’ but its these feelings that I hide and bury deep. I choose to remain quiet rather than speak up if I don’t agree with something, I let people push me aside or use me rather than say something, I worry over every little conversation and every little thing…causing myself untold stress and anxiety…
And as a result, I don’t always see how people can like me very much. I know they do…this isn’t a cry for sympathy, but I fail to see why they do….I used to be so much more confident and I do wish I could speak more that is on my mind, rather than worrying about hurting peoples feelings…but my biggest fear is that one day my boys will see through my anxieties and they will dislike me too. I know it sounds silly, I know it does….as I write it I raise my eyebrows and tut but the fact remains I do worry that I wont be enough for them.
My boys are told relentlessly that I love them. I must tell them a few times a day at least; I am very tactile with them, stroking their hair and hugging them close, and I always listen and ask how their days are. As young people, they interest me. I love hearing how they see the world. I watch as they interact with one another, much like how I was with my brother. When we were younger, I fought with Adrian one minute and the next we would role play about robbers. My sons are the same, they fight like cat and dog at times, throwing insults and jabbing one another in the sides…and then the next minute they will be cuddled up together on the sofa, holding hands and watching tv.
Everyday is a learning curve with them, just as I feel like I am getting the hang of motherhood, then something else comes along that makes me feel like a fraudster. In a few years, Ethan will become a teenager and I will enter a new era, one which again I will be a stranger to. I remember how I was as a teenager and I know I was a gobby little cow, so I will step tentatively during those years, but I am going to be behind him and Oliver every step of the way. One day they may not want to hear me say I Love You. One day they will shrug off my hand as it goes round them for a hug, but I hope they always know that I will fight their corner. I hope they know how much I care for them. And I hope they will grow up thinking that their Mom is pretty ace.
Fear is still there, deep inside me, and I wonder everyday if I am doing a good job…but I reckon that the fear is good. It helps make me a better Mom, and I will continue to bumble along. I may not be the most organised Mom, I may not be great at remembering things….but I can promise them that I will be the very best that I can be and everything I do is for them.