Becoming a mama from the view of an experienced kindergarden teacher
Being a mama is the hardest most rewarding and funnest role I could have ever imagined finding myself in. Ever since I was little I found great joy in looking after other little ones. I later turned my love of children into my career. One of my greatest passions was and still is to watch young children experience their world and watch them learn. You can literally see their brain work as they explore something new. I always knew that I wanted to have my own children and once I had found the love of my life and we were both ready, we fell pregnant with our first, a son.
I had many years of experience working in various childcare settings, doing special needs training and running my own successful family day care. I knew that consciously looking after little ones and giving them the space and love they need to bloom was a lot of work. I had looked after little babies, worked long hours and was used to not sleeping much (so I thought) but becoming a mama was a whole different deal.
First of all the love, wow the incredible amount of ever growing love I have for my baby. It was completely overwhelming for me. I had very close bonds to a lot of kids that I looked after from a very young age and that I still now count as family but no words could ever describe the love I have for my son. Everything about him is just so perfect. The way he laughs and smiles at me, the way he is so determent to do stuff and the way he looks so peaceful when he sleeps (drooling with a slight open mouth and quiet little breaths) Ahhh… I could just watch him forever.
Then there is the sleepless nights. Yes I am saying night’s. Not one night every now and then but night’s ever since he was born. I know there are these magical children that will only wake up once or twice a night but my son belonged to the norm who at 1 ½ years old still wakes up frequently to have some boobie. This is where the biggest difference for me lays in having my own children vs. looking after someone else’s. You get to sleep at night if they aren’t yours and you get breaks. So to all of the parents that always asked me how I did it looking after 4 under 2 on my own, providing food, quality time and naps for them: “It is different, it is easier you get to give them back at the end of the day, have a whole night sleep and wake up in the morning well rested and ready for another day of fun. “
After the first few month where yes even my little one slept very well and only woke up 1-3 times a night we went to feeding all night. I was starting to be very sleep deprived and not being able to do the things I wanted or thought I should do. That’s where it hit me I had no realistic sleep expectations for my little 6 month old. I thought surely by now he should be sleeping through the night and not wake every 1-2 hours. Lucky for me I had found a great circle of amazing mama friends and through their support and some research I adjusted my sleep expectations to become a bit more realistic. Still doesn’t mean that it made it any easier. I was tired and had never felt this exhausted before. Even though I had a lot of support of people trying to convince me otherwise in a way I felt like I was failing at motherhood. It took me a few month expressing and working through those feelings to regain my confidence and completely surrender to motherhood.
My journey of becoming a mama was a bit of an up and down and windy road. All about trusting and finding balance in and with the things that are. To just be in the moment!
I had to learn a few things about surrendering into motherhood. My impression about surrendering was to not complain and to just go with what was happening to me. I started feeling quite victimised and even more exhausted as I was just giving on a level way beyond achievable. My son grew bigger and so did his demands. I learned to set limits on how much I can give but also on how much I can take. I learned that surrendering isn’t about being a victim but about being in the moment and regaining the energy you may have lost over the weeks, months or years of being a mama. Over time I learnt that surrendering really was all about re energising and letting the energy in. Surrender became one of my new found best ways of dealing with challenging situations. That and Trust, Balance and Acceptance but more about these in another blog post.
What I want to say now is that yes having a lot of experience in the childcare/education field is great and has definitely helped me a lot in being a trusting, gentle and calm parent but it did not truly prepare me to be a mama and things are a lot harder with your own kids. I am learning new things everyday and am incredibly grateful for my little man showing me a whole new world that I can live in and explore with him.
Be as gentle and understanding with yourself as you are with your children. You deserve it!