Growing up, I’m sure many of us heard this classic line from our mothers: “You’ll realize when you become a mother yourself.” Usually, the line was doled out after a bout of badtameezi or naashukri on our parts, and mostly during our teenage years, when we were at our worst (deny it all you want, it’s true.)
10 years later, I sit writing this with 2 children of my own, both girls, both under the age of three. This line resonates in my head quite regularly, because I really do realize what my mother meant, now that I’m a mother myself.
I’ve spent the better part of the last few years running on little to no sleep. My children have kept me up nights on end, whether it be due to colic, illness or even hunger (I’ve had my toddler jumping up and down on me at 4 a.m. asking for eggs). According to my mother, I was nocturnal, which I now believe still stands, because I’m writing this at 1 a.m. She gave up her rest for me.
I’ve changed thousands of diapers, literally. I’ve been peed, pooped and puked on multiple times. I’ve cleaned up after my children without breaking a sweat or batting an eye, but this wasn’t always the case. I remember being disgusted initially – it is shit after all.
However, one time, I was washing my toddler and she looked up at me and said, “Thank you, Mama.” My heart pretty much exploded at that point and then I got to thinking – I don’t think I ever did that, so I’d like to say it now. Thank you, Mama, for cleaning up after me for all those years.
I’ve spent my days cooking one thing after another, from purees to sugar-free muffins to sandwiches cut up in ridiculous shapes, all in an effort to get my kids to eat. Sometimes they eat their meals, sometimes I eat instead of them. I used to sit around for hours with a bite in my mouth, probably driving her insane.
I still remember her feeding me with her own hands when I was younger. Hell, she even did it right after I gave birth, while I was breastfeeding my own daughter.
Ah, breastfeeding. What a horrendous, twisted, beautiful journey it has been for me. I would cry every time I had to give my eldest a bottle, because I felt I wasn’t enough for her. I would stay up researching on things like milk supply, latching and God knows what else. It took six weeks of blood, sweat, and tears for me to get it right the first time around. I breastfed my first until I got pregnant with my second, and I’m proud to say my youngest has never taken a bottle.
My mother didn’t breastfeed me, but she did breastfeed my younger brother who is 10 years younger than I am. I still remember so clearly how she struggled. He doesn’t know it now, but he will when he becomes a father.
Today, whenever I go into a store I think around 27 times before picking up an item for myself, but for my children? It’s a fact that they’re better dressed than I am. Having two girls means countless dresses, bows and all around pretty things. I always make sure their hair is brushed, their nails are cut and their teeth are clean. This stuff’s simple enough when your kids are older, but believe me, tying a two-year-old’s hair probably burns around 300 calories.
There’s an old picture of me somewhere at my parents’ house – let me describe it to you. I’m wearing a purple and blue dress and my socks? One is purple and one is blue! Talk about color coordination. I’ve seen pictures of myself wearing the snazziest outfits, sunglasses on my head and a purse tucked under my arm. My mother always made sure I looked pristine, and she still does! I realize now the amount of effort she put into making sure I always looked like the best version of myself.
Motherhood is a journey that begins the day your child is born, and ends the day that you die. In essence, I’m still a toddler myself in motherhood years. So far, these are the things I’ve come to appreciate most about my mother, as I do them myself now every single day. I’m sure as my children grow older, I will have more and more to be grateful for, particularly when I find myself at war against two teenage girls in 10 or so years!
So thank you Mama, for the late nights, the hot meals, the clean bum, and the sassy outfits, as time goes by, I’m sure this list will end up a mile long. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day
Have something to share about your mother? Let me know in the comments.
Cover image via ayezakhan.ak/Instagram