Mother – the word brings to mind warm, fuzzy feelings for most of us, and for the sentimentalists out there, the ideal image of a 1950s domestic goddess, dolled up to perfection with a husband and children to match.
My reality was definitely far from these idealistic notions of motherhood, however my daughters will tell you stories of the times they came home from school to the smell of freshly baked banana bread, or homemade scones on a Sunday morning. These moments were both special and rare, that is perhaps why memories such as these have stuck in their minds as the most memorable.
The generic stereotype of a mother is long gone and has been replaced by the modern woman. These days, a mother’s role extends beyond baking and beauty, how put-together their children are or how shiny the inside of the oven is. Amongst the outdated images of motherhood which the media bombards us, it is important to remember one thing, we as mothers are teachers of life skills, and that is what makes this job so rewarding.
A mother comes in all forms: single, gay, divorced, adoptive. Whichever it may be, the overriding factor is that we all nurture our children to adulthood and try to equip them with the skills they need to live full lives.
My girls are now twenty-two and twenty-four so I am a bit far down the track to talk about how it feels to hold your child for the first time. That memory is like a movie flashback, but it remains one of the most beautiful. The teen years were trying, to say the least, and for now I am not ready to relive the moments without getting a nervous tick that can only be relieved with wine.
As mothers, we must also learn to adapt to the role for which we are needed. I am now at the stage where I have taught my daughters all that I can and my new job title is Advisor. I love watching them from the sidelines as they pave their way through their own life journey. Sometimes I find myself reverting back to my earlier roles, that of nurturer and protector. For mothers, it is incredibly hard to watch life happen. Nobody wants to see their most precious creation be hurt in any way, especially when we feel we could step in to help. That’s why this stage of motherhood is probably the most difficult. It’s all about letting go. I’m waiting for this to get easier. Any day now.
My journey, as I’m sure many others can relate, has been a roller coaster of emotions. At times, I did want to put a return sticker on both my girls and send them back, or sell them on eBay. In retrospect, I now realise all the moments were necessary. Seeing the women they have become has reassured me that there is no one-size-fits-all model for what a mother should be. I never followed any guidelines. I went with my heart and I’m proud to say that my daughters are strong, intelligent, creative and eloquent and have a good idea of what they want from life. As a mother, I can feel satisfied knowing I was a key reason for that.
It’s safe to say the ride is far from over. We still have many milestones to get through, but I can relax a little now. I think.
On a final note, I can hear many of you saying that Dad’s weigh in heavily these days in bringing up children and I definitely agree. There are some awesome Dad’s out there, but today is about the girls. I will give Dads the stage on Father’s day!