This morning, I sent my two little cherubs off to school with their father. Two boys that are now six and four.
Has it been easy? No.
Has it been the best time of my life? Yes.
You have to understand that I did not want to become a mother, that does not mean I hate children. In fact quite the opposite, I love children even other people’s kids! However, I seriously doubted that I could be a good mum. Burdened with my own emotional issues, scars and dealing with depression, I had convinced myself that I would make the worst mum. I needed my life and my mind to be in order before I even considered getting pregnant.
So when I discovered that I was pregnant in the second year of uni, you can believe my utter shock but…I was also excited. This was when I started to really pray. Consciously asking God to bring me through what seemed like an impossible task, having a baby and finishing my degree. When I look back at that time, it brings a smile on my face, it was the first time that I had experienced God’s faithfulness to me, not being told about it or my mother telling me but my own first hand experience. My family and my partner surrounded me and help me to achieve this goal I have always had.
When I graduated with a six month old baby and 2:1 degree in English and Creative writing I knew what I had to do. I went to my local church and gave thanks to God, it was really funny, because I really intended to go only once to honour what God had done for me but fast forward a year later, I had become a regular attendee.
When my youngest came along, my first-born was nearly two and a half. My first slept and hardly cried, my second came and was the complete opposite, but thankfully both were really good eaters. It was shock to the system that I was now a mother of two beautiful strong-willed boys. Life seemed to step up a gear, it demanded more of me and so my dependence on God also grew.
While all this was happening externally God was also working on my heart and mind. The depression, the emotional issues and scars that I thought I had successfully suppressed God slowly and gracefully began to bring them forward. He placed around me a church that listened, prayed and guided me to a deeper relationship to Jesus. It did not make these things any easier to deal with, but it was a process of bringing those things to God and all the circumstances and people who came with them. It was about me learning that Jesus makes all things beautiful and the story of Joseph and his family and faith is reminder that what others meant for evil, God uses for his glory. I am still going through that process and their days that seem like a black hole but God always lifts me up, through his word, people or a song.
One of the biggest realisations I had, was that I did not have to be the “perfect mum.” Of course doing my best was important and understanding the needs of my family as a whole and individually was a bit tricky, but God is the ultimate parent. I had to hand over my family to him and know that he is with us. This helped me with my growing anxiety of being all and everything for my family and protecting them, something I can do to some extent but not the way that God can and does from moment to moment. This truth really came when my eldest started school, suddenly he was away from home so much and I began to pray more fervently about him, his friends, his school and ultimately giving thanks that he is safe in God’s hands.
Now that I am faced with my youngest heading to school, I am coming up to another milestone in my life. That I have two young boys and what looks like so much time that they will be away from me, making their own choices, learning about themselves and others and I pray that they will know that their parent love them, but that God loves them too!
What I am most surprised about is that I LOVE being a mum. A complete 360 of the girl who was even afraid of the word. The boys actually make it very easy for me to enjoy my role as mother. Of course they have their challenges and some days are ended in tears, prayer or two glasses of wine (it has rarely happened that I have done all three), but I actually want more kids. Am I crazy?
That is not to say that I didnt struggle with the period of “losing myself” in motherhood, but my mother gave me some wise advice one evening as I poured out my heart to her on the phone, “it’s only for a short time, soon they will be at school!” Perspective is a good thing.
Having a wonderful support network of family and friends made the hard times easier to bear as well as celebrating the high points has made life at least up until now a wonderful experience. I look into the eyes of a bright six year old who has an answer for everything and the mischevious and happy eyes of the four year old and I know that this is exactly what I should be doing in my life. Looking at them, remembering how much they have grown already, telling stories about who they are as people and praying for their future.
Now, I haven’t left my partner out on purpose. He is a wonderful man, a fantastic father and looks after his family with dedication and a lot of patience. He is careful and understanding and loves his boys to the moon and back. Their relationships as father and sons I believe, is different to mine as a mother, no less important or worthy just different.
Our journey together as a family is a continuing one, especially for me as a mum because I am the only girl in the house. Even our cat Tiger is a boy! Sometimes, I have to remember that I am woman and can paint my nails and enjoy my femininty, as well as join in with the rough and tumble play that happens a lot in our house.
I can safely say that at this point, as a mum, I am doing o.k.