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10 lessons from 10 years of motherhood

We did it … the big 10.

Today we are celebrating him hitting double figures and a decade of motherhood. It’s been a wild ride that’s for sure but I am so grateful for every single second.

I became a mother two months after I became an adult, so I have sort of been learning how to mother and how to adult simultaneously, and I am positive that motherhood has made me a better, kinder, stronger, gentler, more fierce, more determined, more loving adult than I ever could have been without it.

There are many things I have learnt, but here are 10 things I have learnt in 10 years of motherhood;

1. Don’t fear the chaos

Motherhood is delightfully messy and beautifully chaotic at times, we can try and run from it but we can’t hide; no matter how calm and peaceful we are there will be moments of complete and utter madness, but that’s where the magic happens, just be prepared.

2. If mummy falls apart, everything else does too.

As parents it is so easy to give and give pieces of ourselves until we have nothing left; motherhood is so open ended that we could literally give every waking moment to it, but that doesn’t mean we should, we have to know our own limits. We have to plan in time for restoration, for that yoga class or coffee date or a glass of wine with a friend before we feel the fire under our feet.

3. It will be fine, always

We all have those moments where we lock ourselves in the loo for five minutes peace and we all those moments when we think that this is just too hard and we can’t do motherhood any more. We have to remember this will pass and it will be fine, it always is. We will make it through, and we will be stronger from it.

4. Saying yes to everything means saying no to the things that matter.

In life we have to learn to say no, it is a battle shield for deflecting distractions that take us off course. It is so easy to fall into people pleasing; but when we realise saying yes to all those little things others ask of us actually means saying no to being full present with the kids, or answering emails during movie night, the things that truly matter, we need to simply learn a way to say no to people that asks too much of us. This can be hard, my response normally goes like this … “I understand you would like my help with X, I have other commitments at the moment, if I have time I may be able to support X, however I can’t promise anything right now.”

5. Be present, forget perfect.

Kids don’t care if the house is spotless, or if washing is neatly folded into piles, or if the letters are filed away … they care if we are there with them. If we get down on our hands and knees and play lego, or get in our old clothes and paint with them, or bake with them or catch with them, or scoot with them or read with them. They don’t care if we are rubbish at whatever we do together, they just want to do it together.

6. Their pain is your pain

When our kids are genuinely sad, not just a stub the toe kind of sadness, a devastated or lonely or broken kind of sadness, we feel it so deeply right in our hearts. This is a feeling we have to get used to, it never goes, even when our kids grow up, it’s simply an unfathomable, unconditional, everlasting connection between them and us, that can be painful, but that we are so blessed to have.

7. One purpose isn’t always enough

For some of us motherhood is everything they have always wanted and we are content with the monumental purpose of raising children, for some of us that purpose is not fulfilling enough; and that can be difficult to admit. We feel embarrassed to admit that we want more than to raise our children, but for some of us we simply need to go back to work, or write a book, or go back to study as mums because we realise we may have multiple purposes to fulfil in this lifetime; and we need to make peace with that.

8. A happy mum raises a happy child

We set the tone for our children, if we are stressed and exhausted, kids will absorb it and reflect it back to us. If we are happy and peaceful our kids will reflect that, and the times they don’t we are able to run with it when we are parenting from place of joy instead of stress.

9. Don’t forget you are more than “Mum”

It can be easy to lose ourselves in motherhood and forget that there are other parts of us too. We have to honour those parts, and make time for our personal, social, physical and professional development. No child will benefit from a mum who has lost who she is, if we work, we can take our kids with us every now and then, so they can see we have a life beyond our house, just as they do.

10. It is all those little mundane moments all lined up in a row that make life so with kids so beautiful.

Sunday morning snuggles, walking to school on a summers day, a kick about in the park, making a pizza together, reading about the dinosaurs, going to get ice cream, feeding the ducks; all those things we do every day without thinking, those are things we will remember, those are the things that make life meaningful.

Live life fully

Rachel x