Forever connected

Gumboots

I wrote recently about needing some breathing space, from many things, from my family, my children even. I enjoy the moments where I don’t feel responsible for anyone but myself…..like when they’re asleep.

Adjusting to the responsibility of caring for little ones 24/7 was a challenge when I first became a mother. One day I was an individual, primarily responsible for myself, then suddenly, I was a mother, responsible for a baby who was totally and permanently dependent on me. It was like a switch was turned on the day my first child was born. But it took me several more months to understand what I was exactly feeling.

Almost four years on, and truth be told, my children are so intricately knit into my heart that I always feel a piece of me is missing when we are not together. I am a mother to the core of my being. When I’m shopping, looking like a lady of leisure (well, I’m not sure grocery shopping is all that leisurely!), and I see mothers with children, I feel like I need to announce, “I am a mother too. I’m in the club.” Maybe that sounds strange but it’s how I feel. Motherhood has become a huge part of my identity.

We tried for a long time to have children. In those days of longing, I wondered, hoped, imagined, even after each initial disappointment, that I would become a parent. I used to see in my mind a little child, holding onto my hand as we walked side-by-side, saying, “Mummy. Mummy.” Now it’s reality.

I suppose it’s best summed up in this beautiful quote:

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
– Elizabeth Stone

Yes, she is her own little person, but it is still my heart out there.

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Linking with Jess from Essentially Jess for IBOT.

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32 thoughts on “Forever connected

  1. I know what you’re saying, I too feel the need to wear a sign that says “I’m a mum too!” when I’m not with my kids, which is very rare. I don’t think we’re ever really prepared for the fact that we’ll never be the same again.
    It was lovely to meet you on Saturday x

    • You are so right, Kelly. We are not prepared for the fact that we will never be the same again. Becoming a parent is quite a profound experience. Thanks for dropping by. It was lovely to meet you too.

  2. Beautifully and honestly put. Sometimes you just want a break so much but like you if I am out without him it feels strange. I too want to say to complete strangers around me “hey, I’m a mum, he’s just not here”. Nice to know I’m not alone I that.

  3. That’s so true. Even without my girl around sometimes, when I see other kids I think of her – the way she laughs, plays, cries. I do enjoy my little me-times, but I cannot imagine life without her now.

    • Yes indeed, Ai! You just reminded me that when I hear laughter or the sound of children, it often reminds me of my girls and their quirky little ways. They really leave such a deep imprint in our hearts and lives.

    • It’s interesting you say that, Rhi. Motherhood was part of our plan but we just started really late. I have a friend who became pregnant the same time as I and it was definitely 100 percent unexpected. They’d given up! I know the adjustment was hard but I don’t think they can imagine life without their little one either now.

    • Motherhood is so unexpectedly transforming. I never realised I would never be the same before it. I think I’m learning more about life on this end of it in many ways, Sophie!

  4. So beautifully said. I can relate to this very much.

    The other day I rolled my eyes at a woman while her daughter was throwing a tantrum. The woman gave me a dirty look instead of a knowing glance. I realised later that I didn’t have a kid with me, so she must’ve thought I was being rude.

    Being a Mum is the hardest thing and the easiest thing to do.

    • Thank you, Martine. The other thing I love about becoming a parent of multiple children is how the love doubles rather than splits. There is always space enough in my heart for both girls. I’m sure you feel the same with five. xo

  5. I’ve seen that quote before, and love it. It’s a beautiful sentiment.

    I also know what you mean about the need to announce club membership! My eldest daughter is now in Grade 1, so during the day when I’m running around with errands to do, it’s just my 3 year old that is in tow. People comment on her, and for some strange reason, I want to let them know I have another daughter too – that this one isn’t my first, I’m not *new* to the club. Not sure why!

    • When it’s just you and your youngest, I can imagine some people asking when you’re having another one. It’s a strange thing. I think every commenter has felt the same!

  6. What a lovely post. I feel this way to. Like I need a label to announce my ‘mumness’ when I’m alone, thought it’s happening less as they get older and I’m embracing the chance to appear to be just a ‘person’ sometimes. When my first-born was a baby though, I felt like I needed to announce ‘I have a baby! I have a baby!’ if i ever ducked up to the shops alone. You’re never whole without them though.

    • I don’t think they’ll ever be far from my heart, even as they grow up, Kim, but I do hope I won’t ever feel lost in the “incompleteness”. I must say I never really appreciated the meaning of bittersweet till I had children and they started to grow up so fast!

  7. So beautiful Veronica. I feel the same walking around child-less and you see other mums with kids. I usually give a smile that says “I know the feeling!” especially if a child is being particularly funny or challenging. I also feel, since becoming a mum, that I’ve known Nick my whole life. Like he has always been a part of me, it’s just now he’s here, in flesh and bone. x Aroha

    • I do the smile too, Aroha, then sometimes I wonder if the parents think, “Oh, she’s another mum. She understands,” or if they worry, “What’s this creepy lady doing smiling at my kid?!” Lol.

  8. I feel this too. But sometimes I also feel the opposite, that people can’t see “me” because I have kids dripping off each arm.

    • That’s a good point, Danya. Sometimes the kids are a great barrier, talking point, distraction from ourselves for when we want to hide ourselves. But sometimes we need to be seen too as our own person. This parenthood gig is teaching me so much more than I ever expected!

  9. Oh Veronica, I love this post! felt exactly the same when Mia was first born, I really struggled to comprehend the fact that here I was, responsible for this little being and that my life would never really be my own again. I think sometimes, 15 months on, I still struggle with that. I also get the bit about shopping and wanting to let people know that you are the part of the ‘club’. I wouldn’t chance anything for the world though, and while its been a huge adjustment it really does feel like she was always here, its like the part of my life before she was born is just a little dimmer than what its been since she’s been here.

    • I can relate to feeling torn between having my own space and yet needing to be responsible for another, Kylie. I’ve written about that before. It was a huge adjustment with my first child and one I didn’t expect or fully comprehend till I was lost in the middle of it a few months in. I remember wishing someone had told me about that side of parenthood, about the “loss of self”, but maybe I wouldn’t have understood. I eventually came to terms with defining “a new me” and letting go of the old me. I still have my days but I’m much more at peace with it all.

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