"Motherhood takes the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, the faith of Abraham, the insight of Daniel and the courage of David!"
I'm not exactly sure if I want you to read this when you are older as you might not be ready for all the hard truth about me and motherhood. But promise me, please read this letter (and probably a few more to come) again when you are pregnant and another time when you've officially become one!
Looking back, I was rather naïve when I thought I was ready to have a kid when I was 24 and had just started my degree. I was buried in books for most nights and weekends during the school terms! So, I am really amazed at how God has his own perfect timing and he certainly knows that I wasn't ready back then.
Finally came the day for me to be a mother, the joy and fear in me just can't stop growing. I tried my best to prepare myself well by reading up and learning from experiences. However, I found out that things are more than what I thought would be.
Then again, I doubt anyone could be 100% ready to be a mother, especially for the first time.
1. Physical well being
2. Mental health
3. Emotional health3. Social needs & development
4. Spiritual health
5. Learning & development (Communication & Language)
6. Upbringing & discipline
7. Career development
8. Financial health
It's no longer about ourselves, we need to look into many various aspects for the kids as well. We nature, educate and provide for our kids. We played so many different roles and our mothering load just keeps increasing. We are the housewife, planner, cook, entertainer, teacher, playmate, stylist, discipline master and many many more.
Then comes a whole different story about living in this highly competitive and digital world. All the information that we got at our fingertips slowly creeps in and naturally raises the invisible benchmark set by the world. Many are for good course, but it eventually makes it harder for us to be a great parent. Agree?
So, why would one want to be a mother since it's so overwhelming?
In the past I wanted to be a mother as I thought we were ready to be parents and it just natural progression of marriage to bear the fruit of our love. After being a mother, I learnt that there are actually so much more to being a mother. It's indeed a blessing and the most rewarding yet humbling journey.
I gained faith, joy, love, discipline and strength that I never thought I could have more. Every milestones, smiles and hugs from you just light up my world. I learnt how helpless I am and understand myself more. I lost a little of my old self and was stripped off couple of bad habits along the way.
I finally understand how was it for my parents to take care of my brother and I. Even though they seems to have so much lesser in every ways, they actually have so much more. They are definitely more courageous, capable, patient and persevering than I am.
How could one embrace motherhood?
The start of motherhood marks the beginning of a really long and seemingly endless journey. It has been closed to 2 years (since pregnancy) and I am still learning how to embrace motherhood with wide opened hands. I'm sure that there are so much more learning points in the years to come, but here's 10 points that have helped me so far.
1. Worry less, have faith and pray more
I usually worry most when you are unwell and don't eat well. It's probably after a few episode of illnesses and under the influence of a super chill Daddy, I learnt not to jump at each one immediately. I also witnessed how God has watched over our family and grow my faith day by day. I am still learning to read bible daily, pray more and trust God totally. There are many times that my fear and worries just overtook me that I had to struggle on before I get beaten down. Many times, it gets so tiring and I could only just pray for more strength to move on. ASAP!! Always say a prayer.
2. Do my best and improve along the way
As a full time working mother, I constantly wish that I could spend more time and do more things with and for you. I feel down at times for not doing more and I know that I am not the best. I know I shouldn't be too hard on myself and always have to remind myself that it would be good enough when I do my best. I made many silly mistakes that sometimes I get upset at myself. However, I try to take it, sometimes repeatedly, as learning point after I get over the emotions.
Then linking back to the first point; I know that you are a precious child of God and he will watch after you since the day when you were baptised. I just need to do my best and let God do the rest.
These days are filled with lots of joy and love, however, there are also times when you cry the house down and transforms into a little terror. I always got to remind myself to calm down and enjoy every moment, even if they aren't the most pleasant one, as you are growing up so fast!
3. Treasure moment, even the simplest one.
Since time is always so precious with you around, I always do my best to set aside time for you and to be with you when I am with you. Some things can wait so it's often requires prioritisation. Other than snapping photos, I usually avoid phone and laptop when I am with you. As for those times when I need to work around the house and leave you alone, I would still pin my eyes and watch how you get through the time independently.
4. Keep calm and mother on
It's definitely a test of patience to handle a fussy, crying and rejecting baby along side with other responsibilities. Sometimes, I just wish to hide somewhere or pass you to Daddy and take a breather. However, I learnt that the situation tends to go downhill really fast when I was affected. So, it's really important to keep calm to turn the situation around. Besides, I hope that you would learn to control your emotions and temper well.
5. Inject some humor and laugh it out
Daddy and I are usually light-hearted and playful. We love to make fun of each other and it does help to tide through some situations and move things on. Look like we certainly need a lot more humor in the years to come! Cheerful heart is a always good medicine!
6. Be ready for changes and keep trying
It has happened so many times, you like to challenge me - you pepper in some changes just when I have "mastered" a certain skill, approach or routine. You used to love white rice but then suddenly reject it. After much experiment I found out that you love noodle and soup. I guess we just got to keep trying and explore different ways as we moved along the various stages.
7. Keep learning, unlearning and relearning
Every month seems a little different from the previous and there always seems to be new things to pick up - how to communicate, cook and teach etc. Even the smallest things like how to get brush your teeth seems like a big project. So, it's always constant learning, unlearning and relearning through advice from people around, readings and experiments.
8. Get support and be supportive
Daddy has been supportive in many ways even though I do nagged at him. I am also thankful to have families around to help out when we needed. Besides, I also received great support from the mummies groups and enjoyed watching how the kids of same age grow up together. I'm thankful for the mummies around and those at church too as they gave many helpful advice. I would probably go nuts without these supports. I have gained so much and I hope to help others in some way or another.
9. Guard my heart, mind and mouth - and be thankful
Motherhood is such an emotional journey and it is often filled with many other feelings apart from joy and love. The truth is we battle with incompetency, inferiority, inadequacy, confusion, pride, jealousy, injustice and frustration. These are original sins that we carried after the fall of human. However, we shouldn't allow these to rob us away and need overcome them with good spirit and thankful hearts. It's certainly important to guard my heart, mind and mouth so that I could provide a positive environment for you to grow up in. It is especially so when you learn a lot from imitation. Thus we got to watch our words and behaviours. By the way, you just learnt how to say "huh" after hearing it once.
10. Take care of myself
I think it's important to be a healthy, joyful and pretty (both inside out) mummy. We need to fill ourselves up before we can give. Nevertheless, I also learnt that there are lots of sacrifices to be made as a mother. It's either a facial or a playtime, a friend's gathering or nap, more sleep or early morning cooking, and blog or housework. It always seem a trade-off. I'm still learning how to strike a balance and manage my time while I focus on the top priorities.
Let's embrace motherhood together!
Emma, I love you deeply and am beyond thankful to be your mother. As much as I long to be a good and better mother in years to come, I'm not sure if I am able to. There would probably be many times when I will disappoint or run up the brim along the long journey of motherhood, so my greatest prayer is that I would hold on to the great faith, press on and not give up.
I know you would one day outgrown my arms and fly on your own, but you always be in my heart for a lifetime. May you walk with strong faith, good health, boundless love and pure joy.
This post is part of the "Embracing Motherhood" blog train hosted by Dominque Goh from Dominique Desk. Click on the badge below to read about how 25 other mummies embrace their unique motherhood.
Next up on the blogtrain, we have Estella from So Oddly Dreamlike.
Mama to 3 year-old Joy, Estella works from home and is an occasional singer/host. She is passionate about living fully, breastfeeding, fashion/beauty and organisation. On So Oddly Dreamlike, Estella writes about Joy, her passions and the family's journey towards getting their new home.