24 years a mother

November 17, 2016
mother, mum, mom, baby

mother, mum, mom, baby

In two days, on 19 November 2016, it will be 24 years that I have been a mother. 

As much as that seems impossible, because … you know … I don’t look old enough to have children THAT old … it is true!

At 11:19 am on Thursday 19 November 1992, the first of my twins (Twin 1) was pulled from my belly via caesarean section.  One minute later at 11:20 am the second twin (Twin 2) was pulled from my belly.  My Gynecologist had a warped and dry sense of humour that appealed to me.  He made me laugh a lot and that calmed my nerves.  As each of the boys were born, I remember him sitting their little balls and bottoms on my face to show me they were boys.  Both boys had a good set of lungs when they were born.  They were born at 36 weeks gestation – 4 weeks early.  I was meant to be having them at 38 weeks, by caesarean still, because they were breach (though one turned before being born), but I went into labour. 

Twin 1 was 5 lb 3 1/2 oz and Twin 2 was 5 lb 1oz.  As they were born early, they had to go to the Special Care Unit, but I did get quite a lot of time with them when I first got back to my room, before they were wheeled away.  During that first week, I was regularly wheeled to the Special Care Unit to deliver my expressed breast milk to be tube fed to them and to visit and cuddle and to try feeding them until the day came that they had matured enough to learn the sucking reflex and they could then come up to the room with me.  One started feeding before the other, so I had one with me for a few days before his brother joined him.  I felt a bit guilty about that but it wasn’t too long before the second twin joined us.  I was in hospital for 2 weeks.  I was pretty weak.  I’d had major surgery after a long, long pregnancy most of which I had spent in bed due to a threatened miscarriage at 14 weeks (a long story for another day).

Anyway, HOLY SMOKES, I was now a mother!!

I was so euphoric!  However, I do recall having ‘a moment’ when the reality of the responsibility descended on me and I felt a moment of blind panic and questioned if I would be up to the job.  Would I cope?  Was I good enough?  Could I be a proper mother?  Could I keep these little miracles alive?!!  Could I ever be as good a mother as my own mother (oh it’s so true that it takes becoming a mother to truly appreciate and understand your own mother)?  Does everyone have this moment I wondered?  Is this normal?  And then it passed ….  as euphoria took over and I could not get enough of those two beautiful little faces … and nature took it’s course … and I naturally became a fiercely protective and devoted mama to those babies.

Of course, a bit over two years later, I had another baby – my beautiful daughter. 

So after 24 years of mothering, I thought I’d share 12 things (1 for every 2 years I’ve been mothering) I have learnt along the way:

  1. Gratefully listen to advice from others.  They always mean well.  Ultimately though, do what feels right for you, not what you are told is the way to do it by others.
  2. Don’t expect perfection from yourself.  Mothering is a tough gig!  Give yourself a break where you can.  Housework can wait, for example.
  3. Every stage eventually ends. Try and remember that when you’re exhausted and feeling like it will never end. Ever heard the saying “this too will pass” – yep that – it’s true!
  4. Ask for help when you need it.  There is no shame in doing this.  It does not mean you are a failure as a mother.  In actual fact it means the opposite.  You are awesome to recognise when you need some support and to ask for it!
  5. Take lots of photos and home videos so you can relive precious moments when the kids are all grown and so they can show their own kids one day!  Don’t forget to get yourself in some of those photo’s and video’s too! 
  6. When you’re at wits end and feel like you’re losing it or about to, put the baby or toddler somewhere they are safe (like in the cot or playpen) and get yourself away from them and the situation for a while. Take some deep breaths. Make  yourself a coffee.  Step outside in some fresh air.  Whatever you need to do.  Regroup and then return.  If things are still no good, refer to No. 4.
  7. Start as you plan to go on.  For example, if you want to be a family who eat together around the table, have kids with good table manners, and use this time to communicate with each other and find out about each other’s day … introduce this early so that it becomes the norm.  Think about traditions/routines you would like as part of your family and get started with them early. 
  8. Don’t be a martyr mother – a mother who puts herself last all the time, who never does a nice thing for herself ever, who gives up all that she enjoys in order to serve her family.  Don’t do it!   Take time out for yourself – regularly!  Look after yourself.  Don’t forget to keep up your regular dental and medical appointments.  Keep in tune with who you are, what you like to do and what makes you happy.  You are a mother now YES but you are also still YOU.  So still do the things that make you YOU.  See your friends. Do that sport. See that movie. Have that manicure. Whatever it is – do it.  You will be happier and you will be a better mother and will therefore have a happier family.
  9. Keep the lines of communication open with your kids, through all their ages and stages, even the teens.  This is particularly important for those boys who seem to lose their conversational skills (only with parents) and can only manage a grunt.  Don’t let that stop you – still talk to them, still try and get them to talk to you and still hug them (even if it IS like hugging a board).  They still need you and they still need to know they are loved.
  10. Don’t take the words ‘I hate you’ from your kids to heart.  Trust me, at some stage through the parenting ‘journey’ you are most likely to hear these words.  They don’t mean it – it’s just their frustrations and anger coming out and who better to take it out on then the one closest to them?!
  11. Pick your battles.  Honestly, some things are not worth the energy and mayhem caused.  Save it for important stuff.
  12. Look after your friendships with your best gal pals.  They are most likely in the trenches too, they understand and will save the day, lift your spirits, make you smile and  laugh many times over.  These friendships are like gold! 
twins, twin boys, babies, collage

A collage of photos of my boys from birth (top left hand corner) through to the age of 3 (bottom right hand corner). There’s also a cameo appearance of Grandma Betty who sadly left us in October 2015.

If you’re a mum – how many years have you been mothering?  What’s one thing you’ve learnt along the way?  Did you have ‘a moment’ like I did when you had your first child (or children, as was the case for me!)?  Did you spot Grandma Betty in the collage? She used to make THE BEST chocolate pudding – find the recipe HERE.

Ciao for now,

Min-Signature

lovin-life-linky

Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit, Johanna of Lifestyle Fifty, Lyndall of Seize the Day Project,
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age, and Deb of Debbish
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs


 

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22 Comments

  • Reply Deborah November 17, 2016 at 7:17 am

    What a lovely post Min and great pointers! I’m often agog as I look at my niece of friends’ kids – time passes in the blink of an eye! I see pics of friends’ kids at Uni and wonder how that is possible, but realise it is…

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Sometimes it seems like so long ago my kids were babies and other times just a blink of an eye ago! Generally though, it is hard to believe I have kids in their 20’s!

  • Reply Kathy Marris November 17, 2016 at 7:22 am

    It is so nice to learn about one another and hear that your have twin boys and a girl. I can’t imagine the work involved with having two babies at once! It must have been tough going, but as you say fully worthwhile. I have been a mother 28 years and I have a lovely boy who has his own electrical contracting business plus a very independent girl who is a doctor. I feel so blessed to have two such wonderfully talented and successful kids. They are both my world and I’ve totally forgotten about all those really dreadful teen years! This is what we do as mums. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Having twins was a lot of hard work – that is for sure! lol However, it was fortunate I had them first when I knew no different. Having my singleton daughter was a breeze in comparison. Lovely to hear about your kids Kathy and haven’t they done so well! You must be very proud. πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Vanessa November 17, 2016 at 8:17 am

    A friend of mine told me her doctor (or someone when she was pregnant with her first) said the best thing a mother can do is to pop the baby somewhere safe for a short time and go sit outside with a glass of wine. I think that’s advice we could all take!

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

      That sounds like a very good idea to me! Wise doctor or whoever it was! lol πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl November 17, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for sharing your parenting wisdom, Min!

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 11:31 am

      My pleasure. Thanks for visiting! πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit November 17, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Love this!
    I’m sure your boys would prefer not to have the “balls and bums on your face” reflection in any of their birthday speeches though. LOL.

    I am 17 years a mother. I will never forget the feeling of being a mum for the first time. I was in shock for the first 4 months I think. I think the best thing I learned was ditch the books. Parent with your heart. If your child wants to sleep with you and you’re OK with that, then forget what the “experts” say. Just parent the way your heart tells you to. And keep talking. Never stop talking to the kids and LISTEN to what they have to say so that they’ll want to continue talking with you forever.

    Great post Min! Thanks for sharing.

    #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Their 21st has long been done and dusted and there was no mention of the balls & bums on my face! LOL I agree with all your snippets of mothering advice Leanne! πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Sue November 17, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Hi Min! Happy birthday to your twins – my son will be 34 on the 20th November so I’m feeling the same type of memories as you at the moment. Some great tips here in your post. When I had my son we were still living in the ‘Superwoman’ era where we thought we had to do everything and perfectly as well. Lovely photos and enjoyed your post thanks!

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks Sue! Wow, your son’s birthday is only 1 day after my twins’ so yes you would be having some similar memories and reflections as me right now. I think it was still a bit of a ‘superwoman’ era when my kids were little. I don’t know how I did it when they were small – juggling work and school and their care and running the house and all their co-curricular activities. I’m quite enjoying a more reasonable pace of life these days! lol πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Jo ~ Lifestyle Fifty November 17, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    What a sweet post Min πŸ™‚ It’s always lovely to read about other women’s experiences having children and bringing them up. I love your list of 12 tips too. I especially agree with loving kids and accepting them unconditionally during the grunting teenage years when life can get tough and confusing. I always remember the headmaster of my son’s school calling all the Mum’s into a meeting when our sons turned 13 and he said to us: “However loving and sensible your son is today, is likely to change any minute and you’ll be rearing a very different, more aggressive animal. But treat it as normal and don’t stop loving them.” #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks so much Jo! I can recall a similar meeting as the one you had at your son’s school, with the headmaster of my daughter’s school – warning us about eye rolls, door slams, attempts at testing the boundaries, puberty blues (moods) LOL. Also think we had a bit of a talking too about ‘boys’ during the teen years at the boys’ school. There’s been some testing times but so far we have survived them all! *phew* πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Lyndall @ Seize The Day Project November 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Love your gorgeous post Min. You have plenty of great worthwhile advice for mothers and mothers to be – all 12 tips are fab. I especially like the one about being at your wit’s end. My daughter had reflux as a baby, so she cried – A LOT! I remember one day she cried and cried and I couldn’t take any more, so I put her in the cot and went out into the backyard and sobbed my heart out for 5 minutes. I felt a lot better and when I went back inside, she was asleep – little monkey! Being a Mum is not without its challenges (I have 2 teens now!), but it is so very rewarding too. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Thank you Lyndall! OMG I know about reflux! My twins both had it and it made life very difficult. I barely had any sleep for the first 12 months of their life (not joking). Back then my hubby used to travel away a lot with work too, so I was alone with them 24 hours a day, day after day. I had many moments like the one you described – putting them somewhere safe and getting away for a bit and sobbing my heart out (exhaustion didn’t help). Anyway – we’ve survived! LOL xo

  • Reply Trish November 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Great advice. I didn’t know you were a mother of twins or I forgot:)
    Lots of sound advice here.

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Trish! Yep I’ve been a mother of twins for nearly 24 years now! lol I’m sure I’ve told you before (probably ages ago), with you being a mum of twins too and all. πŸ˜‰ xo

  • Reply Denyse November 17, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    That was a beautiful read Min. Such wonderful memories and sage advice. I have been a mother for over 45 years. I had our daughter when I was a scared yet happy mum aged 21. I had a bit of a health scare late in the pregnancy and was induced. I had NO idea ..but she was well and born naturally and no epidurals back then. I remember the euphoria with clarity. My hub wasnt there for her birth as he was 2 hours away still teaching! Never mind. Back in those days he did not see her in the flesh until she was placed in my arms in the car to go home..one week after her birth. Yes. So different now!

    • Reply Min November 17, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks so much Denyse. 45+ years a mum – you’ve definitely pipped me at the post! lol 21 seems so young now doesn’t it. My daughter is 21 right now. Sorry to hear you had a health scare towards the end of the pregnancy and were induced. Thankfully all went well for you! I was 28 when I had the boys and it was a scary pregnancy with a threatened miscarriage and me being told to stay in bed and ony to get up to go to the toilet or have a shower. I was in bed from 14 weeks to 36 weeks when I had them. I did lots of knitting, cross stitch, tapestry, crochet, crossword puzzles and so on. It was long and boring but I did it to keep them safe. It was hard when I had them though because I was so weak but anyway we got through and here we are 24 years later! Yes things were done differently back then. The hubby’s were very involved when I had my babies – expected to be there, cutting cords and all that jazz! πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Kerrie @travelswithmum November 17, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I have been a mother for twenty two years and five kids later I’m still learning and wondering what this parenting thing is all about!!! Thanks for sharing your outlook and helpful tips !

    • Reply Min November 18, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Thank you Kerrie! Wow five kids! Hat’s off to you. I’m actually the eldest of five kids! πŸ™‚

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