This week Matthew will turn 10. A whole decade of being a mum. Ten years that have been so long and so short. Here I am in May 2010, days before giving birth for the first time:
So what have I learned, what words of wisdom can I impart to expectant parents and exhausted newborn ones…?
You will never be an expert on children, even your own. They will continue to surprise you, annoy you, delight and frustrate you. I know this from what my own parents tell me!
Not every day will be good, calm or happy. But there will be moments that shine.
Days, and especially the nights, will seem endless and relentless. They are when you are going through them but the years fly by.
Be disappointed not angry. Have expectations but be realistic. Use kind words. They will last a lifetime.
You will not always like your children and their actions or behaviour. This doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad parent. It makes you human.
Stay true to yourself. I particularly struggled with this after having Matthew as I felt that I was Mum and never Laura.
The simple things in life can be the most wondrous. You don’t need to spend a fortune on toys; give them your time. Read together, go for a walk, have a picnic, snuggle up in bed, dance around to music, cook together.
It is not your job to make your child happy. You need to give them the tools to find contentment in their own lives. Let them be bored, acknowledge their opinions and emotions, always be there ready to listen (even when you have spent the last 30 minutes hearing about dinosurs or trains!)
Embrace the crazy. Just love and laugh!
I feel astonishingly lucky and blessed to have three beautiful, intelligent, funny, eccentric children. I miss the newborn and toddler days but seeing the kids become such wonderful individuals eases my heartache a little. I can’t imagine what the next 10 years will be like: teenage years, what could go wrong?!