Becoming a parent was a life-changing moment, but as Natalie Moutafis reflects, it's not merely a moment in time but a continuous change.
Before I became a mother, I didn’t really stop to think about how it would be so life-altering for me. Of course, I knew I was about to experience a major upheaval in my life. You leave the hospital with a tiny new human that 100 per cent relies on you for survival and you do this with no instruction manual – but I didn’t think how it would continually change me.
I used to...
I used to think I was daring. Ride that roller-coaster that drops you over the side of the building in Las Vegas? Sure thing! Jump into a cage to swim with sharks? Sign me up! But then I had kids. Now I worry about driving in the car on a rainy day. Or I’m careful when we are out walking to make sure the kids walk on the side of the footpath away from the traffic, or I’m worried about tiny little fingers getting jammed in doors.
I used to think I was intelligent, reading books and knowing what was happening in the world. Now I fall exhausted into bed not too much longer after my children have with little to no idea what’s going on in our own country let alone the world or find myself trying to watch the latest Netflix series with my husband only to wake up and realise I’ve completely missed the plot – quite literally.
I used to be calm. Now I can find myself frustrated at the 654th request for a snack or drink and it’s only 10am or getting upset that a request to brush teeth requires a song and dance routine that is to be performed ‘just so’ for those teeth to remain cavity-free (hopefully!) or that I’m held up in traffic when I should already be somewhere else.
I used to be organised. The main skillset in my career before kids was being organised. But now I feel like I always have multiple tabs opened and I can no longer focus on a single task. I’ll be reading a bedtime story and thinking about the dinner I need to plan for the following day, or I’ll be working – in my paid job – and thinking about how I need to follow up on the kindergarten applications or buy a little friend a birthday gift.
With all these changes to how I feel and act, it would be easy to think motherhood has changed me for the worse.
But perhaps it hasn’t?
Perhaps this is what it means to be a mother?
Fragile, and soft while being protective and strong all at the same time. Being exactly what my children need me to be for them at that moment – being human.
I’m sure as my kids get older, these feelings will constantly change, maybe my organised self will return but I’ll have more time to be as I no longer need to kiss ouchies better, or maybe I’ll finally catch up on world events because I’ll no longer be snuggled down reading bedtime stories every night.
I’ll just try and savour the moments each day knowing that I, like my children, am continually changing.
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