Be a Fierce Mother

This single word (or Mum, mummy, mama etc) is enough to strike all of the fear into me. It’s also the single biggest fear I am facing everyday.

Well before being a mum was a reality, when it was only a speck of dust on a tiny idea in my young twenty-something brain, I feared the very thought of motherhood, believing it was something I couldn’t be good at and could never be ‘ready’ for.

Regardless of the parents you’ve been lucky or unlucky enough to have grown up with, its very likely that you will fear the parent you’ll become. You’ll either fear that you’ll be just like your parents or fear that you won’t be anything like them. Either way, it is a terrifying thought.

If you do happen to fall pregnant quickly and easily, its possible you’ll be fearful that it’s all happening too soon. If you don’t have it easy and it takes a long time, chances are you’ll feel the fear that it will never happen for you. You’ll consider all of the possible reasons why and you’ll fear simple things as well as the big things. If you’ve struggled and/or lost a baby you’ll always fight the fear that something will go wrong. It’s likely that this fear will carry itself into other parts of your life too.

It’s all terrifying, whichever way your journey leads you.

As a new Mum, you might fear that you aren’t good enough but also fear that you’re too much of a Mum. You’ll find a reason to fear that you’ve become too ‘mumsy’ overnight and left the old you behind. You might be afraid of the times you still want to be yourself, like it’s some kind of betrayal to your child and the rest of the motherhood. Conversely, you might feel fear that you don’t miss your previous life and feel like your betraying the old you when you sit amongst those that do. You’ll fear losing your old friends and worry that you won’t make new ones. Becoming a mum might turn you into someone you never knew you were or it might turn you into someone you always knew you could be. It might make you embrace a life you sneered at before or it might solidify what you already knew to be true. Either way, it’s terrifying.

As your child grows you’ll fear what life holds for them. You’ll fear that you can’t protect them enough yet worry if you protect them too much, they’ll never be able to protect themselves. You’ll be fearful that you’re not teaching them enough but also be fearful of all the things they’re learning from you when you’re not paying attention. You’ll worry that if you work, you’re not a good enough Mum and if you don’t work you’re not leading a good enough example. Perhaps as a Mum of a daughter this fear will be amplified. But if you are a mum of a son you’ll undoubtedly worry about what you are teaching your son about women.

As you watch them grow, you’ll hope that the times you were busy, stressed and tired are not the ones that they remember and as time passes you’ll worry whether you laughed, danced and cherished it all enough. When you look around and see everyone else cherishing every moment you’ll fear that there is something wrong with you. There isn’t.

As you nurture your child, you’ll be fearful they won’t have the confidence to explore the world and find all of the very best adventures it can offer. You’ll hope they will fly the nest and carve out their own passage all the while feeling the fear that they will fly too far to navigate back home.

When you reflect on yourself as a parent, you might find time to be fearful that you didn’t appreciate your own parents enough. You might apologise to them, all the while being terrified that your own child might treat you the same way you treated you treated them. They probably will.

You might be afraid that you don’t remember enough of your childhood and that you didn’t ask enough questions when you had the opportunity. You might look at the memories that you create for your own children and be full of fear that you didn’t cherish your own childhood keepsakes and memories enough.

Through all of your parenting adventures you will fear the judgement of others. The midwife, the health visitor, your own parents, the nursery staff, your child’s teachers, people in the supermarket, people in the cinema, people in the next house, mums at the park, mums at the swimming pool, mums at the dance class, mums in the cafe, the old people in the cafe, the young couple with no children, the lady with all the children who looks fearless, the glamorous mum who looks amazing, the confident mum who doesn’t care how she looks and every other single person in the universe. When you are around all of these people you might also find the time to fear that they thought you might have been judging them too.

The journey to motherhood from dream to reality and beyond is terrifying. You might even find yourself being afraid that you are too afraid. But you will face it and you will fight it. Each and every day. That’s what mothers do.

Dear Husband…

 

Dear Husband

Sorry.

Sorry if yours is the plate that is always smashing down. I know you pretend it doesn’t matter and that you’ll always be here but sometimes your eyes betray you. I don’t know why I always drop this plate. I don’t choose it; it kind of chooses me. Maybe it is because you don’t shout the loudest, maybe it’s because you’re made of the toughest porcelain, maybe it’s because I trust that this plate always bounces but it definitely isn’t a judgement of the value of the china. This ones made of the good stuff. The kind your parents save for Christmas dinners.

I’m really sorry that I never cook. I know I should. I expect you would like me to sometimes. It’s just that after I’ve made and cleaned up several meals for the little one in a day, I’m not that bothered about eating myself. It doesn’t occur to me that you need to eat too or that you won’t be as happy with a packet of popcorn and a loaf of malt loaf.

I’m really sorry that I am not a clean freak. Of all the plates that I am spinning, I couldn’t even be bothered to set this one into orbit. I’ve never liked cleaning. Except for pocket money dusting, listening to Dire Straits in my parents living room, when I was fiver years old. I think that was more about the dancing. I like dancing. Maybe we should get a cleaner.

I’m really sorry you only feel like I only want you sometimes. It’s not you. It’s not even me. It’s the exhaustion. The all consuming desire to ‘get the timing right’ is equally as exhausting as the circus clown spinning. It’s another plate. It’s up there and you can choose to smash that one. Sometimes that makes me mad. Sometimes it makes me act like an unromantic, desperate. Soz.

I’m sorry we don’t go on many dates anymore. I miss them too. Especially the ones with the dancing! Truth is, for the first solid year of our baby’s life, I couldn’t bear to leave her with anyone but you. Doesn’t really work for a date. Leaving her with anyone else felt terrifying; it meant I’d think all the bad thoughts. Doesn’t really work for a date.

I’m sorry I’m not as ‘wild’ as I was. I want to be wild and free too. But only if I’m back in bed by midnight and you are looking after HQ. One day we’ll be wild again together. One day we’ll be free.

I’m sorry if I suggest I’m more tired, more ill, and more unhappy than you. I know that’s not necessarily true but I am louder, more emotional and more needy than you. Please don’t stop hugging me; there’s a hug in there for you too.

I’m sorry if you think I’ve made my career more important than yours. It’s not. You count and you are truly amazing at what you do. I just want our daughter to know mummy had a job too and she made the most of the choices that some women don’t ever get the opportunity to make.

I’m sorry you keep slipping. You’re the bloody Royal Daulton of men. I want to be an amazing wife but I’m also busy trying to be a shining example of what it means to be an amazing mum, woman, sister, daughter, teacher, friend, and human being too.

Love you lots

xxx

P.S Can you catch a plate?

P.P.S I know I eat all the cake and chocolate too. That aint ever gonna change.

When I became a mother…

When I became a mother, I developed a wonky smile. A smile that encapsulates the all consuming love and extreme fear that now coexist inside my heart. The heart that now wanders around on the outside of my body.

 

The wonky smile that hides the sadness that our first baby didn’t make it and often wonders, at each milestone, what she might have been. How life might have been different. The furrowed lip that hides the guilt of wondering how a different path might have meant a different future.

I found a painted side smile that hid the anxious, non-perfect glassy eyed mum within me at every early parent group, doctors appointment and health visit. A nervous giggle adding weight to a wonky heart, needing to prove to the world it was winning at life.

I grew a half-smile of a wonky woman desperately protecting her child from the massive unknown while tentatively nodding softly spoken encouragement on the precipice of every huge leap.

I’ve got a caffeine induced smile of a woman delirious on zero sleep but fuelled by the determination to keep life real. To spin the plates like a crazed, circus clown, occasionally allowing one to smash dramatically on the floor before glueing it back together and sending it back in the air again.

I’ve got a trembling, weighty smile of responsibility for the quality of life ahead. The smile of contentment for the life I already have gently cradling the sadness that our family is yet to grow in the way it was promised. The promise of hope battling the sadness of loss.

I’ve got a sighing, gritted smile of an occasionally admitted defeat. Yes, I’m sometimes sad but I am also lucky. I sometimes feel fed up but I’m always in love. A smile that so often says, I have no idea what I am doing but I will always manage somehow.

There’s also a smile that lights up a room. It’s one that’s sometimes uncaged. Its wild and untamed and it takes my breath away. It’s pure happiness and it’s found in the reflection of all the people I love.

It’s my wonky smile and I wear it with pride. It sums up all that I became when I became a Mum. This post was written to enter a competition being held by @dontbuyherflowers