I am every mum.

I am anxious. I lay awake at night worrying about today, tomorrow and the next day. What the future holds for my kids. Am I a good enough mum? Am I setting my kids up for success? Am I enough? I worry about screen time and nutrition and giving my kids enough attention. I worry that I worry too much.

I am loved. So loved.┬áThe little arms that find their way around my neck. The tiny hand reaching for mine. The perfect lips that kiss my cheek at night. Even when they don’t say the words, I know they love me. My heart is full of love.

I am guilty. Guilty when they cry at daycare drop off. Guilty because I forgot we had a birthday party. Guilty because we don’t go on big holidays like other families. The guilt fills me and takes over my thoughts.

I am complete. From the moment that tiny person was placed on my chest I felt complete. I never knew I was incomplete until they arrived and yet suddenly my heart was full of a love I never knew existed. A love totally incomprehensible until you have felt it.

I am exhausted. The days are long and sometimes the nights are longer. How I manage to get through some days, I do not know. The exhaustion is sometimes physical but often mental. The challenge of no sleep pales in comparison to the challenge of a toddler with their mind firmly set on an objective.

I am strong. I have a strength that I never knew possible. It is quite amazing to be able to create, grow and carry another person for nine months and then bring them into the world. But that is the easy part, isn’t it? The real strength comes from the resilience and patience, perseverance and compassion that motherhood demands. Not only caring for another person but also raising them to be good and kind people with strength of character themselves.

I am judged. Breast or bottle. Co-sleep or in a cot. Working mum or stay at home. On my phone at the park; with a toddler mid-tantrum at the supermarket; enjoying a weekend away with my girlfriends. But am I really judged or is it the guilt creeping in? Does anyone else really care how I am raising my kids? And, if they do, does it even matter?

I am happy. Hearing my kids laughter or seeing them doing something kind for another person fills me with such joy that I think I might burst. Cuddles in bed on a Sunday morning; sharing a joke that only makes sense to us; watching my baby take their first steps. Nothing in life compares to these moments.

I am overwhelmed. Will the constant chaos ever end? The mountain of washing, sleep regressions, tears, tantrums, arguments and everything else that kids throw at me. I am everything to everyone in my family and sometimes I just want to be me.

I am privileged. I am blessed with good health and a happy family. I wear the name “mummy” with pride knowing that there are other women who would do anything to bear that title. I have the privilege of showing another person how beautiful the world can be and leaving a legacy in what I teach them.

I am melancholy. One day my babies are going to grow up and leave the nest. One day they will realise that I am not perfect, that I am human. One day they won’t need me anymore, not in the same way they do now. I want time to stand still so I can commit every second to memory and soak in the sound of their laughter and the peaceful quiet of them sleeping.

I am amazing. We all are. We are all mums, on this ride together. Sharing it’s bumps and bends, the highs and lows. Be kind, and encourage each other, without judgement. Share your tears as well as your laughter. Listen with compassion and give without expectation for no-one else knows what it is like to be a mum.

Images by Elise Garner, www.lecoco.com.au

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