I am not a great mother. I am too selfish to be one. I often complain about the things I have to do. I lose my temper at times and run out of patience all too often. Goodness gracious me, I even entertain thoughts of running away from all this when things get too much to bear. All this coming from a woman who longed for a child, who has chosen to be a mother. I am not proud.
When we were planning for a baby, I wanted to be the mother to my child, like my Mama was to me. She took care of us all by herself, had no help and gave everything up for us. In spite of the challenges, she loved us unconditionally and never once vented her frustrations (even if she felt any) on us. My father had to work hard as the sole breadwinner, and my mother managed somehow. I didn’t know how she did it, but she was and still is a strong, selfless, deeply loving woman, and I wanted to be just that. I thought I could be.
I thought wrong.
Weeks into being a new mother, I couldn’t quite keep up. The fragmented sleep, the sudden lack of freedom, the prioritising of my daughter’s needs before mine, these almost did me in. I hated mothering the very being I love most…oh, the painful irony. That quickly gave way to despair, as I realised that I wasn’t cut out to be the parent I wanted to be.
Almost nine months on, I still doubt myself. I can’t go through what I set out to do. I still lose it when I am frustrated. And I get frustrated, too easily, one too many times. I hate myself for that. I didn’t expect to hit the bump on the road and NOT go over it; after all, my can-do personality has helped me emerge largely unscathed from most of the trying times in my life? Why can’t I stop whinging, suck it up and get on with things? Surely I know that parenting is hard work and that there are no two ways about it?
Yet, Faith grows, so beautifully. She is happy, healthy and brings so much joy to everyone around her. Damn, she makes me look good as a mother but you and I know that I haven’t done much to raise such a delightful, loveable bub. She just is. Yes, I cry in frustration when I feel breathless from keeping up with her needs, but oh, she makes me smile through my tears. I suppose I have done something right along the way, amidst tempers lost and harsh words unleashed…to still be here, to still be a mother to her, to be able to say that she is growing well.
I may never be the mother that my Mama is to me, or the mother that she is to my daughter. I may be selfish and weak. But I guess, I am what I am and what matters is, I try my best to do whatever I can, to be a mother to Faith, to love her as much as humanly possible. What matters is I am still trying.
A very happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, to those who struggle, to those who want to be, to those who let me revel in their joy and cry with them, to those who inspire me in more ways than one, to those who laughed and cried with me…you know who you are.
Most of all, Happy Mother’s Day to my Mama, who already is, who forever will be.