Enjoying the cuddles throughout the struggles
I have heard the phrase ‘Motherhood has to be the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done’ countless of times in my life, but I never truly understood the meaning until my first bouncing baby entered the world.
My pre-baby life
Let me put this into context, I haven’t lived a quiet, sheltered life where my whole existence centered around one day raising children. I’ve dived with sharks, raced high-powered motorbikes, owned my own business and backpacked alone around Europe. I’ve shattered bones, won a young achievers award and spoken in front of thousands of successful businesswomen.
But none of these things in any way compare to the highs and lows of motherhood.
The first year
It feels like the whole first year of motherhood was a whirlwind of emotion, a blur of unfathomable joy and profound frustration, how could such a little being have such an immense impact on your life? How could my perfectly planned natural, relaxed labour turn to a 3 day ordeal ending in an epidural and forceps?
And then there’s the well thought-out routines and sleep arrangements that turned into breastfeeding and co sleeping for 20 months?
There is hope. Things do get better!
Around the time my little boy turned 2 things started to get a little easier, he was less reliant on me and we all seemed to ‘find our rhythm’ as a family unit. So much in fact that my husband and I decided we were finally ready to try for another.
Of course once you’ve had one child you know what you’re in for second time round right?
I was so wrong.
Doing it all over again, and it sure was twice as hard
Even though the birth of my daughter was an amazing experience and the love that my little boy showed for his tiny baby sister was completely overwhelming. Having a newborn baby to nurse and care for is put into a whole new realm when there is a toddler vying for your love and attention.
That first year with a newborn and 2.5 year old was the hardest year of my life. (did I mention we were renovating and all ‘slept’ in the same bedroom?) Though I LOVED being a mother, I completely lost my sense of self and fell into a routine completely revolving around my children which left little to no time or energy for my friends, my husband or even occasion to wash my hair.
I was so accustomed to having a fast passed life, a high-powered job, setting goals and the exhilaration of achieving them. All of a sudden the only thing I managed to accomplish in a day was folding a load of washing and peeling a few carrots.
Life as a stay-at-home mom
However I promised myself that I would stay at home to raise my own children no matter what the cost. I was also reminded from my mother-in-law just how quickly this chapter in our lives would be over. That soon I would be wishing to once more have those tiny little arms wrapped around my neck knowing that I was their entire world. And most importantly to not wish this time away but to take the struggles with all the cuddles and just enjoy the wonder of watching their beautiful little personalities blossom.
Surviving on a single wage isn’t easy but I truly wanted to be around and present for those first impressionable years of their lives. I wanted to instill those essential principals like empathy, compassion, perseverance, tolerance and the importance of knowing that it’s normal and ok to fail as long as you get back up and keep on trying.
That being said, although I am at home with my children on a daily basis, somehow life still does get in the way of real, quality time. The constant piles of washing, the meal preparing, food shopping, nappies, nap times, sickness, bedtime routines, reading, cleaning…
But… there is one thing that always resets my focus and inspires me to remember to slow down and just enjoy my family.
Something that instills the importance of that irreplaceable bonding time with our little ones that if missed can’t be re-claimed.
Camping with the family
It’s camping, where you leave the routine of everyday life, the digital world and society behind and just exist with your family.
Why camping you ask? How can it benefit your family, your children?
I have written a whole article on these 5 reasons why you should take your kids camping and how beneficial it can be.
- It helps you reconnect
- Fresh Air is like Magic
- It teaches us that ‘Less is More’
- Your kids Sleep better!
- It creates Confidence
If you haven’t ventured out camping with your kids before then please check out Camping with Kidz for loads of other tips, tricks and insight on the world of family camping.
~ Lisa Aroney
Celebrating Motherhood is a space on Deexterous where real moms can share real stories. Drop a note if you would like to share your story.