To have a child is a wonderful and magical experience. Most married couples believe in starting a family the minute they tied the knot. For a first time mother, getting pregnant is an exciting piece of news that perhaps needs to be shared with everyone. Becoming a mother has always been a “wow factor”. Many believe that, birthing a baby makes a married woman complete.
But what is it like to be a mother? Once the novelty of excitement worn out, and the feeling of over the moon has subsided, reality kicks in.
Trust us, these are the top 10 things that make motherhood most challenging!
1. Labour pain
This is definitely the first (painful) step and the hardest thing about being a mom. Even before the baby is around, the mother is already screaming her lungs out! The unforgettable moments of bearing those pain, discomfort and soreness. But wait till she gets to hold that bundle of joy in her arms and touch those tiny feet and fingers, all the pain is just so “yesterday”.
2. Sleep deprived
Taking care of a newborn is hardwork; especially in the first few months of his or her life. Frequent feedings, nappy changings and colic in the little one are some of the common factors that contribute to parents, especially mothers, who have to endure those sleepless nights. The solution for sleep deprivation is to rest as much as you can, and catch up on those losses when the baby is also sleeping.
3. Toilet train the toddler
On average, kids start to show signs of toilet readiness at the age of two and the half, some, slightly later. Mothers have the option of using the potty or the toilet seat insert for toddlers. Either one, both are not easy. There is no hard and fast rule, all you need is practice and patience. Soon, before we know it, napkins are just a thing of the past.
4. Educating the child
There is no right or wrong method in educating our kids. What we deem right, may be wrong to others and vice versa. Teaching the kids must be in sync with the era that we live in and your own beliefs. Who could possibly forget how our own childhood games were more hands-on then, with “zero point”, “five stones”, block catching and hide-and-seek, rocking our memories. Today’s kids are more technologically inclined. Therefore, we have to be educated first, in order to educate our own kids. Keeping up with the pace of what’s in and what’s not and how you turn those experiences into teachable moments.
5. How to become a good juggler
With or without maids, motherhood will definitely make us into a juggling clown. How good we are at juggling, makes a big difference! It all boils down into great time management and having good organisational skills.
6. Rivalry among siblings
When we have more than one child, trying to be fair can be challenging. From attention to materials, it is not easy to justify why the eldest gets a yellow bag while the second child has an orange one. Or perhaps why both kids end up having blue bags. Communication, explanation and assurance are crucial in any relationship; including family ties. Always comfort our kids that we do not favour one over the other.
7. Handling compare & contrast
It is inevitable to have mothers who have kids around the same age to start comparing their children to ours. Statements like “oh, my Nick started talking when he was not even two”, “my girl is the same age as yours but she sleeps through the night”, “my kid is fairer than yours”, “my this… my that…”. We must always remind ourselves that every kid has different milestones and each step is an achievement. Tell ourselves that everyone is created uniquely and differently. Even twins do not share the exact time of birth, finger prints or even their personalities.
8. Accepting the differences
While other parents brag about their kids, it is indeed very hard for us to not secretly wish that it is actually our child that they are talking about. With all the good talks they have about their own kids, we may end up feeling envious or anxious. We should accept our kids’ shortcomings and concentrate in improving and teaching them the right skills and mindset. They are overall, a gift send to us, to love and to nurture.
9. Controlling difficult kids
Let’s face this. Some kids are just calmer while others are a little more adventurous in their behaviour. When we have kids who do not want to co-operate, and those that throw tantrums every now and then, we end up gritting our teeth more often than not. Things could be worse off when tantrums are thrown in public and we are the only one with the kids. When this happen, stay sane! Be in control and ignore glaring strangers. Do what we need to do if the situation permits. Otherwise, leave the scene as quickly as you can. Try ways to talk and calm them down, or you can distract them with what they like. Remember to talk to them about appropriate behaviours after the situation. Don’t forget to remind your kids, every time you head out with them! Be firm and consistent with them and when they are good, a little reward doesn’t hurt.
10. You know your kids best!
How many times do we get advices (and naggings) from the people around us, on how we should handle our kids? Perhaps in their eyes, they are just merely helping or advising, but when the whole throng starts giving us their own opinions without knowing the situation or our experiences, that could drive you crazy! Give it a rest please! We do understand that sometimes, some thoughts, sharing and advises are helpful. But, nobody understands our situations or children better than we do. Be nice and thank them for their advices anyway.
Motherhood is a nerve wrecking process. It is a learning curve. It starts from the minute a child is born and has no infinity. Isn’t it heartening to see how the kids that we have moulded grow up into a fine adult? From those first crawls to the moments when they soar high with inspirations. Our hearts can drop today with each failure and they can quickly blossom with pride the next day with every joy. As an old saying goes: “we never know what our mothers went through till we become one ourselves”.
By Noreen Yek Boussetta