I Love You Enough…

Home made party cupcake with a number candle on topFour years ago  I embarked on the breathtaking journey of motherhood. This past weekend my little girl turned 4 and today I applied for primary schools for her. It seems wrong somehow. I still see her as the vulnerable little baby that entered the world not so long ago and later took her first vulnerable steps towards my open arms.

I make a habit of telling my daughter that I love her multiple times a day, even when she is sleeping, however every day I wonder how much she knows I love her and whether she will ever know.

So to my little four-year old girl I hope you know:

I love you enough that I would go without so you could have that extra treat.

I love you enough to always put you first.

I love you enough to always include family in our lives so the memories you make with them will last long after they have gone.

I love you enough to say “no” when I need to.

I love you enough to be the bad guy when I need to be, even though it breaks my heart to do so.

I love you enough to be hard on you sometimes to encourage you to be the best you can be.

I love you enough to not resent you when you push the boundaries but instead to respect your need to push those boundaries.

I love you enough to ignore society’s definition of  perfection  (although for me you are perfect).

I love you enough to sometimes let your father take the lead.

I love you enough to make the perfect reality for you.

I love you enough to never quit.

I love you enough to make my dreams a reality for you rather than for any self-regarding quest for gain.

I love you enough to never regard what I have ‘given up’  for motherhood as a sacrifice, but a privilege.

I love you enough to never let you forget how much I love you.

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Opening image: sevenhillsrunningshop.com
Closing image: lovethispic.com

Dear Mummy…

Mother'sDayThank you for the nights you spent awake with worry be it due to my first cold, difficult relationships or worry for upcoming  exams and tests.

Thank you for enduring the constant pulling at your leg wanting a cuddle or wanting to play when you were already multi-tasking a thousand and one tasks.

As a mother I now realise that sometimes it is a struggle to just get through the day and that sometimes things really are sent to try you. I understand now that when you used to lose your patience, it was not a reflection of your feelings for me but your frustration at the world outside our little mother-daughter bubble.

Thank you for still kissing me even when my growing independence meant I no longer always wanted kisses from my Mummy.

Thank you for everything you did for me, from changing nappies, to putting food on the table that I refused to eat. From waking up in the middle of the night to tidying my toys that I scattered around the house.

Thank you for all those hot cups of tea and coffee you missed or that just simply ran cold.

Thank you for those times you had rough, callous hands because you forgot or simply did not have time to massage cream into them.

Thank you. Thank you for everything. I may not have seen it all then but I see it now.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

 

Opening image: www.sugar-beach.com

The Penultimate Career

motherhoodjobI am not stupid. I have a postgraduate level education. I am not lazy, my working day begins the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them at the end of the day, which is often in the early hours of the following day.  I have dreams and I have aspirations. I have only ever wanted to be two things: a mother and a writer. I am the happiest I have been for years. After dressing for the corporate world it is so refreshing to leave the house in jeans and trainers, it makes me feel so liberated.

I work hard and in the past two years have worked harder than I ever have. I have exerted myself to the point my health is now affected.  My only source of news is on my mobile phone usually through my Facebook or Twitter feed usually at past midnight because to refute the common assumption of stay at home mothers (or SAHMs), I do not sit and watch television all day. Neither am I on my phone during the day, except to make phone calls. I do not go out and spend my husband’s money, in fact for at least two months now I have walked around with holes in my jeans.

David Cameron’s new childcare manifesto is designed to ‘help hard working families who want to get on’ and who aspire. How does one define hard working? I am attempting to carve a future in writing and working on several projects simultaneously, I have enrolled in a home study Creative Writing course. I am taking care of my 2 1/2 year old daughter, ferrying her to her many classes and groups. Each day she has at least one event to attend. I am also educator and playmate. I am the cleaner and chef. My husband has dinner on the table when he comes home and his clothes are always washed and ironed. Even when my daughter goes to sleep at the end of the day, there is housework and of course my writing projects, my aspirations.

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Why should my daughter and my family be penalised because I chose to stay at home and do all these roles, every single day for free? David Cameron and his government in their discrimination are preventing me and other SAHMs from achieving our aspirations. As a family we are already penalised because my husband and I are still together and my husband is working, now we are penalised because I choose to raise my own children? What is our society turning into?  A society that is more worried about taxes and money rather than the welfare of its children? I aspire to raise happy, confident children myself and not pay someone else to do it for me. Does that make me lazy? I used to think that made me a good mother. Maybe I’m wrong. According to our prime minister I am lazy.  I am wasting my education and do not aspire. On the one hand he is supporting young couples in starting a family and then on the other hand encouraging them to abandon them and return to work when they either do not have to or do not want to.

Every day I wake up with a smile and every night I fall asleep with a smile. How many people can say that? I am raising a child with good morals, with politeness. A good work ethic. I am educating her in the hope she will reach high educational achievements and subsequently will give back to her country. Why is that not commendable in the eyes of our Prime Minister and indeed the rest of society? I am sick and tired of being looked down upon by everyone and I mean everyone. I am criticised for what and how I feed my child. Yes she is a difficult eater. She only really eats the food I cook for her. but if that is her only vice, I am eternally grateful. I am proud of my daughter and I am proud of being a stay at home mother. Mr. Cameron, I am not lazy, I am not stupid. I work harder than many people I know. I do aspire, I aspire to be a good mother. I think that is more than enough.

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Further links:

Wannabe Stay-at-Home Mothers Are Being Slowly Screwed by Cameron

David Cameron’s ‘Slur’ on Stay-at-home Mother’s 

Stay-at-home Mothers Deserve Some Respect From David Cameron

Opening image: Carpe Diem Mom
Second image: Alpha Parent
Closing image: Some ecards

An Open Hearted Apology

Mother and daughterI owe an apology.

To my daughter.

The day you were born, I was also re-born. Re-born as a mother. I am no longer the person I was before and that is OK. More than OK. You have enriched my life beyond any comparison. When a child is born, so too is a mother and that mother is born with a belief that she is super human. That she can do anything and everything. But she can’t.

Lately I have been so concerned with providing for you, with trying to build something that can sustain us as a family when I don’t need to. Your father is taking care of that part. I shouldn’t care what I am worth to anyone but those living under our roof.  My mind has been on the next thing on my to-do list, the next assignment I need to complete, the next chapter I need to write. I have foregone playing with you to tackle the washing up so I can give myself more time in the evening to stare at a blank computer screen, or “puter” screen as you so eloquently put it.

No more.

The job I have now, looking after you is my dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mother. Everything else I have done prior to the day you were born were mere stepping-stones. Yet I have lost the opportunity in the everyday. The opportunity to talk to a few more ants on the way back to the car. Or the opportunity to create a walk around the neighbourhood into a big adventure. Or simply the opportunity to leave the washing up for later and to play “hide and seeks” one more time. I always wanted to be a mother who was present, always there. Not a mother who shouts or who is blind to your wonderment.

So I am sorry my darling girl. I am sorry I lost my patience as we walked back to the car after playgroup. I am sorry for an “I’ll just do this” turning into you ever giving up on Mummy coming to play. I know you are nearly 2 1/2 now and you should play on your own. And you do. But you are not 2 1/2 for long. Already I stand over your cot as you sleep and see you in your big girl pyjamas, with your big girl pillow and wonder where my little girl has gone to. My heart aches because you are growing up but at the same time it is rejoicing for the same reason. The washing up can wait. Even the writing can wait. You should not have to wait. I want you to always remember me as a Mummy who had time to play and in your later years to talk, night or day. Not a Mummy who was always distracted.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow take your time. Tomorrow I will get down on my hands and knees and talk to the ants with you, I will kick that football around, walk around the neighbourhood collecting sticks and leaves. I will play “hide and seeks” any time you want, even if you do tell me where to hide. Tomorrow I will play.

I love you, Bunny.

Mummy xxx

Opening image: www.tatcha.com

I Smile…

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As I crawl into bed with aching limbs and tired eyes, I smile.

I smile at the tiredness I feel, I smile at the thought of the piles of laundry, washing up in the sink and I smile at the piles of toys that scatter my floor.

I smile at the dust bunnies that collect in the nooks and cranny of my home and I smile at the hoover that remains tucked away in its cupboard no matter how many promises I made to bring it out and put it to work.

I smile at my daughter’s increasing independence as I watch her little personality break free from the confines of babyhood.

I smile at the late night/early morning cries for “Mummy” because she feels safe and loved in my arms.

I smile at the constant “Mummy do it”, “Mummy, look”, “Mummy, cuddle” because I am her go-to person.

I smile knowing as I close my eyes each night, no matter how much I plan no two days are ever the same.

I smile because she has taught me a love I have never experienced before.

I smile because she has given me purpose.

I smile because she is my daughter and I am her mother.

I smile at the tug’o’war I play each day between myself as a mother, a wife and a writer.

I smile at the late night struggle with words I fight every night.

I smile at the late nights I am awake worrying why my daughter is not toilet trained yet, what to feed her tomorrow. Is she stimulated enough, is she this, is she that. I smile because I love her enough to worry.

I smile at the thought that tomorrow I will do it all over again.

Opening Image: Meetville.com

Looking Back On Motherhood

lookingbackI have spent the past month in denial of the inevitable. The inevitable that in fact happened this week. My little girl turned 2. She is 2. She is no longer 10 months, 18 months or even 20 months. She is 2.  I now no longer refer to my daughter’s age in months but years. It has been both the longest and shortest 2 years I have ever had. It has been the most tiring yet the most rewarding. I am now wavering between joy at watching my little girl grow and develop and learn new things and sorrow for the days, months and years that have passed.

My sleep is no longer regular, my evenings are long gone. My cleanliness is a rare commodity these days and my husband and I share few moments alone. However, my life has been enriched more than ever before. For a moment or two, I would like to speak from a personal point of view about what motherhood has done for me:

1- I have learnt to love my body. It is not perfect and there are many things I would like to change. However, I look at myself in the mirror and I see a body that created my beautiful girl.

2- I have learnt to have purpose. Before she came into our lives, I would work only to pay the bills. Now I work for her future. My dream of writing has become fused into my dream of providing for her. I am now able to pursue what I have really wanted in life, while doing a job (motherhood) I absolutely love.

3- I have learnt to put myself last. As a stay at home mum in particular you are last after your child, your husband, your ironing, your cooking, and your cleaning. I used to never walk out of the house without make up. Never answer the door in tracksuit bottoms. I would never go without showering for more than 2 days; I would never go without straightening my hair. This is not a sacrifice to me for I do not go without these out of duty but love.

4-  I have learnt to play again. To crawl inside a play tent at playgroup and for it to be okay to get stuck. I have learnt to dance and to sing in public and for it to be okay to be out of tune.

5- I have learnt that no matter how exhausted I am, there is always enough in me to play one more game, to cuddle her a little more, to read her the same book again one more time.

6- I have learnt that my parents love me more than I could possibly have imagined. I think now of the sacrifices they made for me and the love they had for me to make those sacrifices.

7- I have learnt to imagine again. Imagine this empty box is a boat; imagine the table is a house. I have learnt to block out the less important preoccupations and welcome the more important matters back into my life.

8- I have learnt to see the beautiful in the not so beautiful. The beautiful in the piles of laundry, the stacking dishes, the crumb encrusted floor. I have learnt to see the beauty in family life.

9- I have learnt about unconditional love. As cliche as it sounds, you will never understand what that means until you become a mother yourself.

10- I have learnt of new ways and new reasons to love my husband. I would never have thought I would enjoy watching my husband fall in love with another woman, yet watching him excel in his new role as a father has renewed my faith in both him and our marriage.

I used to think I was the teacher in the relationship but I realise now my daughter is the teacher and what a wonderful teacher she is.

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Opening image: www.marcandangel.com
Closing image: pixgood.com

The End To My Distracted Parenting

distractionparentingMy mobile phone broke  recently, I use the word broke to imply it was hit by a wooden toy hammer by my near two-year old. At first I felt very insecure, similar to hanging off a cliff edge without a safety net. I used my phone for everything: from shopping and shopping lists; to listening to music; to medication records for my daughter. I would use my phone to catch up on social media while getting my daughter to sleep both for her nap and at night. Only occasionally would I use it to make phone calls. As a replacement, I insisted on using an old phone we keep in reserve for international visitors, the only one without easy access to social media and the Internet.  It has now been about 2 weeks and I must say I have not looked back..

For a while now I have resented bedtime, resented the disruption to my casual social media catch up of the day. However, without the distraction of technology I have enjoyed night-time cuddles so much more. I realise now that rather than being a comfort social media has been more a distraction. Me time no longer involves Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, it involves cuddling my daughter in the rocking chair and feeling her little fingers wrap around the loose strands of my hair.  I now resent the social media I once craved for.  I do not want my daughter’s memories of me as being on my phone, my iPad or my laptop. I want her to always look at me and see me looking back at her.  I want her as an extension of my hand, and not a cold, metal piece of technology.

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I was told recently that it is unhealthy that I spend so much time with my daughter. One day she will start nursery then will attend school full-time and I will be left with an empty nest. Yes, no doubt I may very well stay in the car park until the bell rings and will highly likely suffer more from separation anxiety than my daughter will. But, is that not the price of motherhood? So many people talk of motherhood as a sacrifice: we as mothers give up so much to raise our children. We give up regular showers, clean clothes, nights out, even solitary trips to the bathroom. I know it will likely be harder for me than for  her when the time does come for her to enter the world without me, but that to me is the sacrifice of motherhood. Already, I can’t believe that next month she will be two years old. It feels like yesterday when I bought her home from the hospital. I remember thinking how a year seemed such a long time when she was a baby, but now one year seems so insignificant. And it is only one more year until she enters the world without me by her side. I do not want to spend this last year distracted by status messages and tweets.

The social media networks are a wonderful thing and we all know and enjoy their benefits, myself included. Having said this, I would prefer my daughter to  fall asleep watching my eyes laying upon hers, rather than she fall asleep watching the light from my phone flickering across my distracted eyes.

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Opening image: www.babypost.com
Second image: themominitiative.com
Third image: bestquotesfb.blogspot.co.uk

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