This sounds odd, but one of the first things that comes to mind about how life has changed since becoming a mother, is that I sleep differently. Lighter. My senses never switch off.
And I can hear her, even the slightest sound (and especially now that she’s no longer in a cot, the soft shuffle of her feet as she sneaks into our room in the dark of the night, over and over again), even in the deepest of sleeps.
All around me, my life is a series of question marks. I’m not where I thought I’d be at this age. I don’t own my own home, I gave up my business in search of a greater passion (although I’m not 100% sure what that passion is), we’ve struggled financially as my husband started his own business and I stopped working to have a baby, I feel old and lost in my body. But as a mother… I am unwavering. Never in my life have I been so sure of something I’ve done.
I was made for this. There are days when frustration overflows, and tears spill, and anger and exhaustion make me long to just lock myself in the bathroom and ignore everyone, but they are just emotions. Valid, of course, because parenting is f*cking tough some days, and we are all only human. But deep down, past the venting and threatening to disappear into the sunset, in my heart of hearts, I know I’ve got this. Because I was made for this.
“I worry a lot. I experienced terrible pain and suffering in my past. I worry for my girl’s safety as she goes out into the world. I worry about the state of the world she is going out into.”
My girl is strong. A true Taurean, she is dedicated to her cause (aka stubborn as all hell). She is incredibly bright, witty, and when she feels like it, the sweetest, most loving creature I’ve ever had the privilege to share my life with. She has my ridiculous sense of crazy, is obsessed with babies and diggers and drawing. She loves to sing, and dance, and run, and play in the sand, and has a cheesy ‘Wallace & Gromit’ style grin. Her favourite phrases are “no Daddy” and “Tilly do it”, and I thought people were crazy when they said they missed their kids when they were away from them for even the briefest amounts of time, but even when we’ve had the most challenging days, and I’ve had to practically superglue her into bed, the second she’s asleep, I wish I could hold her again.
I worked as nanny for many years. I loved the kids I looked after, but I also loved being able to hand them back to their parents at the end of the day. When I was pregnant, a little part of me was terrified about having to be around this little kids 24 HOURS A DAY. But it turns out, most of the time, I’d prefer to hang out with her than anyone else anyway. Sure, it’s nice to have adult company, and talk about things other than the colour of diggers or the importance of not using markers on dolly’s head, or the status of someone’s bowel movements that day, and I do enjoy time by myself too, but I actually enjoy her company. So much so that even though I complain that my husband never does the putting to bed bit, I don’t really want to ever miss putting her to bed.
I’m pretty sure I’m a fun mum. Okay, I’m being modest, I KNOW I’m a fun mum. I’m a firm mum, but I’m fair, and I’m fun. I’ve learnt more and more not to sweat the small stuff. She wants to sit fully clothed in the sandpit that is full of water from three days of rain? Ah well, she’s already up to her knees, so why not. She wants to practice pouring water from cup to cup, leaving most of it all over the bench, creating a waterfall down onto the floor? Grab a towel, it’s just water. She wants to eat a tub of hummus with a spoon? It won’t kill her (although that grosses me out) so good luck to her. As far as I’m concerned, as long as she’s not hurting herself, another person, or being disrespectful or destructive, why not have fun?
“Parenting is f*cking tough some days…But deep down, past the venting and threatening to disappear into the sunset, in my heart of hearts, I know I’ve got this.”
I think what I’m most proud of, is how I understand her. I know when she says “bumby” she means bumblebee. I know when she freezes ever so slightly, she’s becoming overwhelmed and doesn’t know how to get out of a situation. I know when she’s capable of trying something for herself, when others may think she can’t (or when she claims she can’t, such a ham act!). I know when she needs a chance to talk about all the things going on in her little head, even if it’s babble and I don’t really know what she’s saying.
I worry a lot. I experienced terrible pain and suffering in my past. I worry for my girl’s safety as she goes out into the world. I worry about the state of the world she is going out into. I place a lot of pressure on myself to get this parenting gig exactly right- forever conscious of the fact that there’s no do-over if I get it wrong. But then I look at my girl- happy, confident, thriving. And I know, I’m doing the best that I can, and when I tell her that I will always be in her corner, I know in my heart of hearts, that will never waiver. I will forever be her home.
Read Felicity’s previous article here
Instagram: Felicity Cook @felicityannecook