There is absolutely no doubt, being a mum is the best job in the world. Nothing else compares. My tots give me so much joy every single day. They are adorably sweet comedic geniuses and I am forever in awe of their ability to make everyone around them smile from ear to ear.
Yes, being a mum gives me a sense of fulfilment that cannot be filled by any other feeling, or experience but I have many struggles along the way. I thought I would share my top 5 challenges with you all. Here we go:
- Balancing work and home.
Like many other mums out there I work full time and balance this with my home life. Leaving at 6:45 every morning, barely getting any time with Letoya & Ethan is really difficult. I often arrive at work, sit in my car in the car park reflecting on what I have just left behind and what I am missing. Work is often very stressful and when I get home, I really want to spend time with Letoya & Ethan, but balancing that with homework, making dinner and attempting to keep my house looking less like Toys R Us and more like a home is a challenge. I always make sure I have time to play with them for even a short time, read them a story and tuck them into bed. I just miss them desperately when I am away from them and feel such guilt for not being able to take them to school and be there when they get home. Rationalising it, I see it as an investment in our family security & their future, but who really knows if it is worth the cost of missing so much of their childhood.
2. Being patient
Having both a 7 year old and a 2 year old, I encounter different types of behaviours that would test even the Dali Lama. My 7 year old daughter Letoya, is so confident and has will power like nothing I have ever seen. My 2 year old son is a spirited bundle of beans that has so much he wants to say. At times, this can be very testing. As much as we all try to keep our cool, when you are being pulled in so many different directions, with tantrums in the ‘terrible twos’ and strongly opinioned seven year olds that question every instruction, it is not easy.
A perfect illustration, as I was telling my close friend, ‘How is it that I have said the word cheese 10 times before 8am?’. ‘Is this a challenge every mother has?’ After refusing to let Letoya have cheese to eat at 7 am, at least twice, Ethan overheard our discussion and before long they were both pleading with me for some cheese. Fast forward 15 minutes and I have said the words ‘no’ and ‘cheese’ at least 10 times. Thankfully I can look back and laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, but that Is not to say that all encounters are so easily laughed off. I have come to realise after 7 years of parenting experience, you have to pick your battles.
3. Teaching my children right from wrong
We are all faced with moral dilemmas from the moment we wake until the moment we sleep. Navigating through life as an adult, knowing what and how we should be operating isn’t easy. Passing this on to our children, is crucial to their personal evolution, and no doubt a hard task. My fiancé and I try to reinforce sympathy and empathy as values, encouraging both children to treat others with love and care. When they are faced with testing situations, children often act emotionally. As much as possible we try to get Letoya and Ethan to think before they speak and act, considering other people’s feelings. Above all other things we want to raise our children to be kind, caring individuals.
4. Mornings & Bedtimes
No doubt the most challenging times of the day, mornings and evenings present all parents with a multitude of tasks, with sleepy little humans who are not always as enthused as we are about getting them done. We are all early risers in our house, and I wake at 5 am on weekdays. You can guarantee that the moment I step one toe onto a creaky floorboard, my two are awake and there is no chance of them sleeping for any longer.
Throw two tired tots into an early morning work/school rush and we have a recipe for chaos. As much as best intentions set the framework for a calm morning, things don’t always go to plan. Some mornings I can spend a precious 15 minutes discussing what cereal is on the menu for breakfast, negotiating somewhere in the middle for a non-sugared variety. Showering and attempting to put my make-up in the semi-dark is definitely an interesting feat. Arriving at work I usually look somewhere in between pantomime star and bleary eyed party-goer.
This being said, bedtimes are usually calm, up until it is required to actually remain in bed and go to sleep. That is when the fun really begins. It is truly remarkable how many questions/queries/problems my little darlings have in or around the 30 minutes following their being tucked into bed. When they finally surrender to their tiredness, I love to creep into their rooms and just gaze at how absolutely perfect they are (and try to sneak an extra kiss goodnight in!)
5. Valuing the right things in a consumerist society.
I often think that children are like magpie’s, drawn to anything bright and shiny. And who can blame them? When I take a brief moment of reflection and nostalga, looking at my childhood, I recall toys and television, but it was not present in the abundance that it is today. As parents, we are battling with the commercial breaks, online advertising and increased awareness that all children now have. Having the ‘latest’ and ‘best’ of everything seems essential to survive socially. As all parents do, we try to keep our family-time balanced with both play & time dedicated to being together. We continually reinforce the importance of people and the time that we have with those we love.
We all have our own parenting challenges, but who would have it any other way? Certainly ot me..