Motherhood: a thankless yet fulfilling job
Flying kites on Good Friday, I received a lovely compliment: “I always enjoy your column,” I was told. “Particularly the most recent. What was the title again?”
I was drawing a blank. My mother chimed in: “This week’s was spontaneity, last week’s was Oscar-winning moments.”
Mine is one of those mums who knows everything.
“You’ve got a fan there,” said my friend.
Yes, my number one, biggest fan. She’s kept my poem that won the Sunday school poetry contest, the playbills for every show I’ve been in, and she reads and cuts out every single article I write. Having written weekly for four years, that’s a lot of snipping.
Mothers. They are powerful forces in our lives. We can instantly be reduced to our 13-year-old selves in their presence.
They can evoke such an array of emotions within us — from love to calm, to fear, to guilt, to security, to the need to please — all with a look or a word.
Our connection to them runs deep and their impact reverberates throughout our lives.
I was very fortunate to get such a good one, although her hard work and sacrifice went fairly unnoticed until I was much older; perhaps until becoming a parent myself. I couldn’t wait to have children. It seemed an obvious thing to do as an adult, like driving a car.
I pictured motherhood would roll just as smoothly. Ha! I had no idea parenting would be so hard. My mum had made it look easy. Perhaps nobody tells you it for a reason, but it’s a minefield! And we are only as equipped as what we’ve learnt, and our best judgment at any time.
I’d venture we all want to do right by our children, but what even is that? We want to give them everything, but we don’t want them spoilt.
We want to protect them always but recognise they have to stand up for themselves.
We want to support their interests but doubt that video games are going to teach them the life lessons we feel they need.
We want to decide what’s best for them but also let them make their own choices.
We want to feel in control — and how destabilising and frustrating it is realising we are not. I overheard one mother asking another: “Honestly, if you’d known how hard it would be, do you think you would still have become a parent?” There was hesitation before the reply.
I think motherhood — this term includes all its various forms — is the most thankless, all-consuming, gut-wrenching and soul-fulfilling job we can undertake.
We open ourselves up to more risk of heartache and worry than skydiving. And even with our best efforts, our children are likely to roll their eyes, resent them and grow up blaming us for all their ills … maybe until they become parents.
All we can do is keep trying, and loving the best that we can. Keep being our children’s biggest fans. This weekend, send some love back to all the mums, stepmums, adoptive mums, dad-mums, foster mums, grandmums and aunt-mums. From me, particularly to my mum, thank you, you are so appreciated!
• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For more information, contact Julia on 705-7488 or visit www.juliapitt coaching.com