I have parented in many different forms. I have learnt so much at each point. Like everything its a journey along a path with many twists and turns. Some of the twists I’ve chosen, some of those slip roads I’ve had no say in travelling down. I’ve been a young Mummy, a solo Mother, a blended family Mama, an older Mum…
First I was young, in a loved up relationship with my best friend. Not that young in years, but emotionally young. This was when I carried then met my son. The day he was born it was like a door had opened to an entire new world, one in extreme vivid bright 3D with fireworks that I knew nothing about. People around me had children already, I was so close to my nieces and nephews, but still, I knew nothing about the reality. I was completely blown over when I had him, my first child. I was reinvented overnight. What was this? This world with something so precious, where you are so physically fragile, your heart lives outside your body, where everyone else’s children capture your heart too, where tears are always so close to the surface, where the sight of suffering hurts more than it ever has before? Baby days, fumbling through mistakes, loving fiercely, surviving on no sleep. Holy Hell. Sleep.
Guess what, I’d become a Mum.
BOOM! I became a single parent. I thought our relationship would last forever but I was wrong. He wanted different things, was a fundamentally different person. I was proud of him for becoming his true self but we both wept for me. I took care of our little son, still a toddler. I had to learn how to ask for help, something I found so hard to do. These days were raw. I became an adult. I needed my parents like never before. Allegedly the difficult days are when a person grows the most. Each tough moment and hard decision saw me shedding layers. So raw. I had two friends who were also single parents. #gratefulforthem. I had friends who understood my journey – and friends who didn’t.
Later, I met a new partner. He called my son ‘the world’s cutest kid’. Time passed, we moved in, we had our daughter. My child #2. Magic. A boy became a big brother. I became a Mum of 2 in a blended family with stepdads and weekends-on-weekends off. It all felt very modern and at times so strange. Constant adjustments had to be made.
Child #2 had allergies. Hell on earth with eczema. Another steep learning curve full of anxiety. She was so patient through her suffering. Her Mum held her close. As she grew, it settled.
And then child #3, another daughter. I had the sleep deprivation down pat by then and just got on with it. Never have I been busier than those baby and toddler years with 3 children. Everything else was pushed aside, some things discarded altogether. Again, I needed so much help and had never been so exhausted.
Then #3 turned 5 and things changed again. One thing I’ve learnt, its that things constantly shift.
I have a decade between children. I am an old Mum and a young Mum at the same time. There’s a family of 2, a family of 5 and a family of 4 in our house. And all 5 of us are constantly adjusting. Every day I learn more.
I guess that’s called ‘life’.