Photo by Melissa Jean Babies of Tamika Milgate
“Start as you mean to go on”.
I read that quote across many parenting books, ones that would make me think that somehow I would go into motherhood knowing exactly how I was going to parent from the get go, that I would know exactly what I was doing and all would be fine if we started something the “right way”, whatever that is.
What I didn’t realise is how much things would continue changing, how I would evolve with them, how they would actually be my greatest teachers if I just stopped reading all the text books and read them instead.
I’ve realised how beautiful their world is, when I finally follow them into it instead of trying to pull them into mine.
I’ve realised I need to slow down, the age they’re at right now won’t keep, but if I keep my head and just watch them, soak it in sometimes, the memories will.
I’ve realised my greatest moments will be wrapped up in them and not by crossing off my to do list. I am who I am and I like getting things done, but I take comfort now in knowing that if my list grows it means I’ve spent time with them.
I’ve realised they are watching everything I do, sometimes when my husband comes home I’ll leave him with a quick peck on the lips. I’d feel unfair resentment towards him if I had a really hard day. But the whole house softened when he walked in, including me and I want them to see the love we have for each-other, even on the hard days, it doesn’t disappear.
I’ve realised I don’t need to be this “perfect mum” with perfect lunchboxes and perfect rooms that look like an interior designer has come in with a Pinterest paintbrush. They just need me, as I am, to see me smile and care for myself too.
I’ve realised how resilient I am, and how far the heart can stretch to match an immeasurable love. While they mine they aren’t mind to keep, but to guide and nurture, to love and hold space for. I’ve honestly never known a love like a mother has for her children. It’s unbreakable and yet it leaves me feeling so fragile I could be made of glass.
They taught me that to “Start as I mean to go on”, means starting with trusting myself, even though it didn’t happen right away and some days I still doubt myself, I realise I know them better than anyone. Every day we are growing and learning and their love for me has made me realise I am enough for them, just as I am.
The most beautiful realisation that I was always enough for me too.
Words by Jess Urlichs for DockATot
Follow Jess on Instagram - @jessurlichs_writer