My baby turned 5 years old! I can hardly believe it. Just the other day, she was a tiny human living inside of my tummy and randomly tickling my lady bits. Now? She’s a sassy pre-tween begging to wear my heels and lipstick! Time has zoomed by.
The past 5 years have shown me the happiest and hardest moments of my life – I remember the inexplicable joy I felt the day Ella popped out of my hoohaa and was placed on my chest. I also remember the feeling of utter despair while collapsed on the kitchen floor one night, desperately tired, with painful nipples and a screaming newborn, sobbing my eyes out and wondering how I could be so miserable .
Motherhood has tested, taught and damn near torn me apart over these 5 years. But I’m still standing, and quite happily at that! Here are the 5 lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1.Motherhood is NOT a competition
There will always be that one mom who makes you feel like you’re completely failing at motherhood. Maybe her kids are all perfectly dressed up and on time for Sunday school at 7am while yours are sprawled on the sofa watching Team Umizoomi. Maybe her newborn has been sleeping through the night in his own crib since he was 2 months old while your 2-year-old still sleeps with you and wakes up every night at 2am for a bottle of milk. Maybe she gave birth to twins naturally, without any painkillers. Maybe…maybe she has 4 kids and still looks like Beyoncé in a bikini.
Whatever it is, there will always be that one mom. But here’s the thing, motherhood is not a competition! There is no panel of judges handing out “Super Mom” trophies. There’s just you and your kids. And all you have to do is love them and be the best mom that you can be. Stop. Comparing.
2. You Will Survive
Few things will toughen you up more than motherhood. Sleepless nights, washing projectile vomit out of your hair, terrifying trips to the hospital, stretch marks …you will experience it all and survive! One question that I get asked very often by new moms is, “does it get easier?” and my answer is always YES. Why? Because moms are like ninjas! We adapt, we survive, we love to wear black.
Did I know that I could survive on only 3 hours of sleep a night for almost 10 months? No. But I did! Did I know that I would completely lose myself to motherhood and then find a better, bolder me on the other side? No. But I did! Motherhood shows you just how amazingly badass you really are. Badass like a what? LIKE A NINJA.
3. It’s Never That Serious
Sometimes as a mom you get so caught up in routines, expectations and appearances that you forget that it’s never, ever that serious. So what if your toddler is taking a long time to potty train? So what if your daughter’s hair is not looking absolutely perfect for picture day at school? So what if your 3-year-old peed his pants while your judgmental sister-in-law was visiting?
There was a time when I was so bent on maintaining Ella’s schedule of activities that I would go into panic mode every time we were off schedule by even a millisecond. One day, my wise father watched quietly as I raced frantically to get Ella to her crib for her nap. I was a whole FIVE MINUTES late! As my hysteria mounted, my dad gently asked me, “What will happen if she misses her nap just for today?” I froze dead in my tracks. The realization hit me like a tonne of poopy diapers: It’s never that serious.
Life is hard enough already. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Live, love and laugh whenever you can!
4. Don’t Judge
Stay at home versus working moms, single moms versus married moms, moms whose kids don’t watch tv versus moms whose kids are obsessed with iCarly…we are all different and that’s OK. You never know what the mom next to you is going through. You have no idea what works best for her kids. You don’t know why she’s letting her kids eat Oreos and drink Fanta Blackcurrant at 8AM. You don’t know her life. So don’t judge!
And you know the funny thing about motherhood? You often end up doing the exact same things that you judge other moms so harshly for! I remember being pregnant and thinking how I would never allow any child of mine to watch tv. Little did I know that I would buy several Wiggles DVDs for my 15 month old in a desperate attempt to get a few precious minutes of peace! Don’t. Judge.
5. You Are Loved!
My daughter has this thing where she always wants to snuggle next to me on the sofa. There’s just the two of us in the house and we have plenty of seating but she will always pick a spot squashed up right next to me. Every single time. When I get home from work, she peeps out of the window, screams excitedly and then races to meet me at the front gate. Every single day. Motherhood has shown me not only how much I can love, but also how much I can be loved. That’s the beauty of little kids. Their love is deep, pure and constant. They love you, even when you’re feeling unloveable.
Now, I won’t lie, when you’re trying to take a shower and your little one is wailing outside the bathroom door, “Mommyyyyy, you’re taking loooooong” it can be a tad exasperating. But when you’ve had a really rough day, there’s nothing sweeter than a tight hug and an “I love you mommy” from your precious little one.
Those are my 5 quick lessons over these 5 blessed years with my little one. What are yours?