In celebration of motherhood, I wanted to write a blog that has five of my learnings in the past 13 months of being a Mum, and what it means to me on this momentous day. I acknowledge that this is a heavy topic for some, and appreciate that every relationship is unique and important in their own way. As a *relatively* new mum, I hope that this blog helped you relate and find yourself in some way.
My way of showing love, learned from watching my mum from young, is sacrifice. My Vietnamese mum who would show her love through cooking, who would ensure I had a hot packed lunch at school even if she had to wake up at 5am every day. She taught me sacrifice doesn't come in one form, as she mastered the art of working full time, yet still being an incredibly present and loving mum and an emotional shelter for us growing up.
In the past year, I've learned one important thing about sacrifice. Often when a sacrifice is made, you call out to it, as if acknowledgement of such sacrifice is the goal. But when you become a parent, your sacrifice and the love you give is unconditional, and such is my way of showing love. Your child who grows within you and then separated from you, become your world and your sacrifice.
2. What is 'Mum'?
Don’t listen to other people on what it means to be a mum. I learned for me, it might not be spending every single minute of every day together, but spending meaningful time that is cherished. I often felt incredibly guilty of being judged for deciding to come back to work early or stopping breastfeeding when I did. What would others think? The key is work out what it means to be the version of motherhood you want to create. If it means letting them eat sugar after 7pm, then you do you. I love celebrating how other mums parent, and I have found it so liberating to be able to let go of others' expectations of myself and be the version of 'Mum' I want to be.
3. Who's in your village?
The importance of support should never be undermined. In my first year, I constantly needed help (of course, as one does!). I've never done anything like this before, and I missed my mum incredibly, and thought she was the person I NEEDED in my village. But it's often those who are in the same boat who have the most wisdom. I realised my village felt whole with those around me, especially Alex (my husband) who was incredibly giving with his time (hello 6 months off so I can go back to work!).
So find your village, and find it fast. Even better if you can find those that don’t bullshit around, and those that love and support you unconditionally. And always go back to point #2.
4. This too shall pass
It's no wonder why the first year of a child is so well documented, so laminated in society as the year to pay attention to. For one, you are completely in a new world. But it is also incredibly fast-paced, full of changes that are also so fleeting. The late nights holding your little one through their teething pains, the brief worries about whether or not they're eating enough, the incredible overwhelm of raising a human being. But you know what? It all passes, time is so so short, it’s hard to do it, but stop and smell the roses when you can.
5. It's okay to cry
I cried a lot in the first year. From overwhelm of whether I'm doing it right. From guilt of not being there together and choosing to pursue my career as a business owner. From feeling not beautiful enough. From hormones.
All of that is okay, let yourself feel it all.
Then go back to the people in your village, make a plan to help yourself feel better, whether it being an extra five minutes to yourself in the morning, or outsourcing your mundane tasks, and talking to a psychologist. I cannot stress enough, it's normal and human to feel this way. I found a good cry was sometimes all I needed.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the learnings I've had as a Mum, but I want you to know that regardless of where you are in your motherhood journey - you are doing amazing. I hope this blog post helped you somewhat, or was an enlightening read. I can't wait to hear what motherhood means for you!