Before becoming a parent, ultimately you only have yourself to please. You eat when you’re hungry, you drink when you’re thirsty, you sleep when you’re tired, you go on holiday to luxurious places, you play loud music at any time of day (or night), you can hide away in grumpy days, you can arrange big get togethers for special occasions, you shop until you drop, and you can pretty much do whatever you want to.
When you become a parent that all changes. All of it!
You eat when you have chance, sometimes not at all. You drink cold tea, cold coffee, and the odd pint of water when you’re head is throbbing from another night of no sleep.
You sleep when there is chance, which is pretty much never, and less than ‘never’ when germs are thriving.
You go on holiday to child-friendly places. Mojitos are replaced with Mojo the Monkey, or some other holiday club children’s mascot. Instead of relaxing by the pool you’re holding a flailing toddler in the pool who you are begging not to poop! Instead of that holiday spa treatment you normally indulge in a few times during your two-week break, you spend half of your holiday convincing a toddler to let you rub sunblock onto their sand-ridden skin, and the other half of the time trying to convince them to wear a hat so they don’t burn.
You don’t listen to music loudly, you don’t listen to music full stop. Kids TV does not count!
You spend your evenings being as quiet as possible, and you make every single person who enters your house aware of the unwritten rule when it comes to your babies – You wake ’em, you take ’em!
When you’re grumpy it doesn’t matter – the show must go on, and on it must! You have to paint on your smile and carry on being Mary Poppins! Your 2yo does not care if you’re feeling grumpy, they care if their raspberry jam has seeds or doesn’t, or if their orange juice is smooth or has bits!
And Shopping! O dearest shopping, how I miss thee! My children have made me despise you! I cannot go into this in too much detail, I am still grieving for the shopping days of old. The ones that were stress free, and enjoyable, and didn’t involve anyone’s tears but my own!
Being a parent makes you feel like you have sacrificed your life and put it on hold. Although you love your babies more than life itself, it can be pretty daunting feeling like you are now just a mum, and nothing more. Your life seems to be on pause, and often we lose our identity.
Let me tell you this, you are not just a mummy!
Being a mummy (or daddy) is the most important job I have ever known. You are responsible for raising the next generation: the next prime minister, the next genius, the next doctor, the next entrepreneur, the next parent, the next designer, the next brain surgeon. Your role is vital. You are vital!
You may go to bed each night and lay there defeated after a other mundane day of wiping tears, cleaning grazes, cooking three meals, preparing snacks, breaking up fights, doing laundry, tidying toys, preparing crafts, baking, vacuuming, giving time-outs, yelling, wiping noses, washing hands, yelling some more, doing the school run, going to your other jobs, naptimes, ill children, shopping, and the like. Your pillow may often be soggy and mascara ridden. You may look in the mirror and dislike the reflection. You may replay your failures from the day before over and over again. You have to stop!
You matter! Mummy, daddy, you really matter!
Those tears you wiped have reassured your child that you love them, that you are their safe haven. You have instilled another fragment of self-worth into them, and in this world they need their self-esteem bucket brimming over. You restored their hope and vanquished their hurts.
The grazes that you cleaned up were not just physical. You cared for them, you helped them, you loved them. You hurt when they hurt. You have magical kisses! No other job role can brag about those! Cherish them!
The food you prepared, the snacks you made, and the thought behind it all are not just small parenting acts, they are huge. You ensure your child is healthy and happy. The broccoli battles are normal. The tomato tantrums are all part of being a child. Stand your ground momma, you know best!
The tidying, the vacuuming, the laundry, and the housekeeping is all appreciated. Without you the house would not be a home. Your zest for organisation and a clean home are admirable qualities that your babies notice, but get the balance right. Who needs sparkling floors anyway? You won’t use your last breath regretting the shelf you didn’t dust! Give yourself a break, the dust will still be there tomorrow! Your house does not define you, or your momma abilities.
Those five minutes you took to read a story matter, they matter every single day. They make your child feel worthwhile. The way your child told you a story about something they find exciting, and the way you looked them right in the eyes the whole time, that matters. They noticed. The gentle care you take when brushing their hair, and their teeth, that matters. The way you apologised after yelling at them today, that matters. You’re not a perfect human being, and nobody but you ever expects you to be.
Mummy, you matter. You matter a whole lot more than you think. You see the flaws, the chores, and the mundane, but your babies see their safe place, their security, their everything. Everything does change when you become a parent, but that’s because your everything has changed – it’s now in the form of a mini-you! A mini-you who watches your every move – go love yourself mummy!
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