I had lunch last week with a couple of people I work with. None of them have kids and I sometimes feel like I am a voyeur in their lives of freedom. Their worlds are in complete juxtaposition to mine and yet, that is how my life was 9 years ago (pre kids). How quickly you forget.
I love to hear them talk about their weekends, nights out, dinners and holidays of freedom and fun. This particular day a girl joined us who doesn’t usually. She was half way through her lunch and rolled back in her chair and said ‘I am soooo tired’.
Those words hit me like a tonne of bricks. The definition of tired has changed so much for me in the past 9 years. Right then, I suddenly had a whole new appreciation for the job we do as mums.
If you are a mum reading this, I don’t have to tell you that the word ‘tired’ doesn’t actually do justice to the state of being we get to. Sheer exhaustion more adequately describes it – especially when we have babies or toddlers who are up every few hours and we might get a two hour straight stretch of sleep a couple of times during the night and still have to get up in the morning.
It is amazing and almost super human how little sleep a mum needs to function. I can’t say that the lack of sleep necessarily helps us function on all cylinders, but we do it! And I think the more we do it, day in and day out, the more it becomes part of the life of being a mum.
When this girl said she was tired, my week I had just had flashed before me and I thought of the late nights, early mornings and how much I had actually packed into the week juggling kids, work, husband, dinner, swimming, dog and ballet. It dawned on me that I was living in a state of permanent exhaustion but I had not even noticed.
The fact I had not even thought ‘I’ was tired has shown me that ‘I’ have become ‘we’ and I selflessly keep going and doing everything I needed to do in a day or a week because I have three other little lives depending on me to be that person. When you are a mum, the whole concept of self disappears. I have seen friends blossom when they have had children as it is no longer about them, but about their children and little family they have created.
So next time you are living in a state of exhaustion, remember that our children are actually doing us a favour! We are no longer thinking about ourselves. We are acting out of a connection we have been lucky enough to make with our children and that makes us pretty lucky.
Along with being selfless, another great gift my children have given me is the capacity to love and love unconditionally. My daughter was in the bath last night and she was singing me made up songs. She was covered in bubbles and her songs made absolutely no sense but she thought she was the greatest singer in the world – and so did I. She looked at me with her young, innocent eyes and I melted. My children have taught me unconditional love. Without even know it, my heart is able to love openly. I heard a saying the other night that to hate is to only take a snapshot of a person and think that is it. So this is a powerful lesson to learn.
My children have also given me the gift of knowing exactly how quickly it takes to get to the children’s hospital from my house and for knowing how to hide a million vegetables in any meal I cook and for knowing how to diffuse any situation in less than 3 seconds. There are millions more.
I love that I work with people who have totally different lives to me and our conversations can remind me how lucky I am to have my three little kids teaching me invaluable gifts each and every day and lucky to be a mum.
What ‘gifts’ have your children given you?
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About Anna Partridge
Anna Partridge is a passionate educator, mother of three young children and founder of parenting and education blog, BombardedMum. She also runs parenting workshops about ‘Raising Confident and Resilient Kids’ and works with mums to find their ‘big picture’ of parenting and fall in love with being a mum again. Through her work, she is building a community of like-minded mothers who share the inspiration and challenges of raising the next generation. To work with Anna, book a call with her here.