Motherhood is the toughest ‘hood you’d ever join as a woman, but raising kids, despite the chaos, is infinitely rewarding, writes VERONICA STEWART-MONRO.
I just learnt that a good old friend is pregnant (Congratulations!), plus a few babies were recently born, so I got all warm and fuzzy.
I gotta tell you, isn’t being a part of the mother’hood the most amazing thing in life?
Vee's children Phoebe and Miles
Vee's children Phoebe and Miles
You walk up and down and see other mums – frazzled hair, toddlers hanging off their hips, early lines on their faces from sleepless nights, stained clothes and strangers frowning at what some might otherwise call a ‘mess’.
Yet you walk with so much pride even when your head is low and the day is tough after the umpteenth nappy change, ponytail fix, boob swap, face wipe, hands cleaned: all the while random bits of food, milk, and at really tying times, poo, find their way into your hair, clothes and ears – and it’s only 10am.
There are so many embarrassing moments that really test your dignity as a woman.
The labour, the intrusive doctors appointments, childbirth, the first time you breastfeed at the local park, the first time a hot guy with better hair gives you a hand after dropping your shopping trolley down a flight of stairs.
The childbirth, the first time some teenage dude skating past you while breastfeeding stacks it after getting a glimpse of boob (yep, happened to me!), because as discreet as you try, odds are always against every mother covering their feeding child with a muslin cloth. The wind blows, the phone rings, or worse, the older child runs away mid-feed so you’re left running after a child with another stuck on one boob. Y’ALL KNOW IT HAPPENS!!!
Have I mentioned childbirth?
Mums, so busy caring for others and out of sheer exhaustion, usually trade breakfast for a shot of coffee, or Tequila if the day really calls for it, and the leftover toast.
Phoebe and Miles
Pre-baby preening usually go out the door (well, for a long time anyway), and any social life is reduced to time on Facebook and/or befriending the household cockroach and/or befriending your clients once you finally start working.
They don’t tell you how lonely it can be at times. You usually lose friends along the way, and nobody to call during the day when everyone else is working.
You’ve just sacrificed the potential satisfaction of an unlimited career – a grand idea when deciding to procreate – until finances become so tight that many times an imaginary trip to the hairdressers is as good as a real one.
Travel and new worldly experiences usually take a backseat (Ladies, if backpacking is on your bucket list, do not plan on doing it after kids. a) you will be too tired. b) by the time the kids are old enough, so will you … so get it outta the way now), and God knows girlfriend nights spent gasbagging at the local pub become a rare luxury and, ironically, at the most crucial time when female company and time for decompression is needed most.
But … all of it is replaced by something so much more powerful.
Kids, along with the chaos, bring something so good, that no words are good enough to describe it.
There are many kinds of love that one goes through in life to compliment many kinds of relationships…but I believe none are as profound than the kind that children bring with them.
There are days that are hard…but for every hard day, there are a thousand beautiful moments that make you wonder what good you must have done in your life to deserve them.
It really is like a clumsy magician with a good magic trick. There is so much fluff and smoke around the trick, you’re at times tempted to walk out and get a refund!
But at the end of the illusion, is something so pure, magical and amazingly clear, it literally drives you to your knees, takes your breath away and makes you a believer.
So, there is something very special and satisfying about walking past other mums and being stared at by strangers. Though tired as all hell and probably struggling to get through the day awake, you will nod and smile at each other. And it’s not just some nod right? I reckon it’s more like an invisible secret handshake, as if you both know something others don’t. As if you both knew the secret behind the magical illusion.
I dedicate this to all the strong women, friends and teachers around me, and to anyone who is, or would like to one day become, a mum.
And to my Mum, for teaching me how to be a decent one.