By REBECCA SPARROW
I have a habit of comparing my four-year-old to deceased foreign megalomaniac dictators.
I have, in conversation and online, likened my daughter Ava to Stalin, Idi Amin and, yeah okay, Pol Pot but that was only because she had a particularly severe haircut at the time and was stamping her foot at me a lot.
I fully acknowledge that I’ve written many a post about my reluctance to play ‘shops’. About how at the end of some looooong days with a 12-month-old and a four-year-old I want to sit under the dining room table with a bottle of gin and have a cry.
Last week I may or may not have said to Mamamia’s Style Editor Nicky Champ that I’d be willing to try the new camouflage fashion trend if it meant Ava couldn’t find me without the aid of night-vision goggles.
Am I joking when I make all these statement? Of course.
Is there truth to all of it? Well yes (am expecting camo flak jacket to arrive in the mail any day now).
But today, for once, I don’t want to write about the harder aspects of ‘motherhood’ and I won’t list them because lets face it – we all know what they are.
Nope, today I want to park the jokes and I simply want to write a love letter to motherhood. I want to scribble some words to my dear friend Claire who this week is giving birth to her very first baby. A baby that has been talked about and dreamt about and longed for since she and I were, well, 15-year-old girls sitting together and not paying attention during Madame Luttrell’s French class.
And what I want to say to you Claire is this: Motherhood is amazing.
The moment that little cub, YOUR little cub, is placed in your arms, the moment your eyes connect, a planet of emotion, of love and fear and joy and terror is about to spin inside your heart.
You may be flooded with joy in those early days, weeks and months. Feeling as though you have just embarked upon the single greatest love affair of your life.
Or you may feel nothing but scared and overwhelmed and a whole heap of freaked out (if you do feel that way, it’s TOTALLY normal but always, always talk to someone about how you’re feeling).
But what I want you to know is that in the big picture, the scheme of things, those early feelings matter little so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not on Cloud Nine – there’s no right or wrong way to feel, other than tired.
Instead know that what lays ahead – being someone’s mum – is (to quote my friend Chrissie) like the best song you’ve ever heard. The best party you’ve ever been to.
You see your heart is about to split open in only the best way possible.
It’s that moment when a fractious baby is immediately soothed at 2am because you – mama – have picked him up and he is now snuggled and snuffling and comforted safe in your arms.
It’s the beaming smile, the lit up eyes, the utter joy your 18-month-old baby has when you walk into her room first thing in the morning.
It’s the lying together in the dark having a cuddle in bed with your four-year-old whispering about tomorrow and whether Madeline McKenzie is really going to bring a lizard to kindy.
It’s the puppet shows and the dance concerts, the soccer matches and the stories. It’s the crayon pictures – where you’ve been depicted with pink hair and a club foot and your head is strangely 18 sizes too big for your body – that will crowd out your fridge door.
It’s the cuddles and hugs and kisses. The “You look so beautiful mummy” comments when you know – actually – you’re so tired you look like your passport photo.
It’s the rituals and the traditions that you get to create or continue for your own little tribe.It’s the fact that the most vile day fades to black when your little one instinctively reaches up and holds your hand on the walk to kindy.
It’s the fact that this little person trusts you implicitly, loves you unconditionally and BELIEVES in you more than you would ever believe in yourself.
It’s the continual moments and chances to show Who You Really Are.
It’s all of that. And then some.
Is motherhood easy? Not always. But nothing worthwhile ever is.
But it is amazing. And I can’t wait for you, my friend, who has always been the greatest and most generous, endlessly patient and loving aunt and godmother, to experience motherhood for yourself. To finally hold your own baby in your arms and not have to give them back.
Motherhood is amazing. The song, my dearest friend, is about to begin.
What advice do you give to first time mums? What moments would you put in your love letter to motherhood?