When I became a mother for the very first time, I had a newly defined purpose in life, and a greater understanding of what it meant to express and feel love. In my last six years as a mother, I've also found that as my children grew, I also grew as a person.
My two, four and six year old daughters have challenged my ability to sacrifice, to love, to become a happier and wiser person. It's been a journey full of ups and downs, but one that has taught me a lot about myself and about life.
I am so grateful for the ways motherhood has made me a better person.
If 'disorganised' was a middle name, it would have been mine. Before my life as a mother, I struggled with waking up on time, getting ready on time, making it to appointments on time. I had a real difficulty with devising a plan and sticking to it. But after having to juggle meal times, naps, bed times, housework, and the onslaught of appointments, I'm now someone who always stays on top of things. I now write shopping lists and plan our family dinners two weeks in advance. It's a massive change in the person I used to be.
With all this planning, my health has benefited too. Until I had my first child, my cooking skills weren't exactly up to scratch, and eating well wasn't much of a priority. But once my children entered my life, I realised I had a responsibility to be a good role model for them. I stopped relying on fast food to get me through the day and night, I cooked more often, became more active, and learned that even healthy food can still taste delicious. In three years, I lost 25kg of my own accord, and have kept it off. I am very proud of the fact that I've made my health a priority.
After giving birth in a room full of strangers, it really made me lose my inhibitions; I realised that there are more important things in life than worrying what other people think. With all my attention and focus on my children, I gained a new found confidence in who I was. I learned to love myself. I became more accepting of who I was on the outside and on the inside. Now, if I ever receive criticism, it's easier to deflect negativity.
One of my favourite sayings is, “Love is caring for each other even when you're angry”. Becoming a mother has taught me that a person can sometimes upset you, push your buttons, and stress you out, but you can't let that define your whole relationship. Even when my children have dumped a truckload of toys all over the kitchen floor, even when they've drawn all over the walls with crayons, even when they've refused to do what I've asked of them, I've never stopped loving them. They may test my patience at times, and be the reason I scream at the top of my lungs, but they are also the reason why I know the true meaning of unconditional love.
Because of my children, I've learned that all relationships require sacrifice, compromise, and forgiveness. I am a better mother, wife and friend, because of this life lesson.
My three children have taught me how precious life is. Once my days became filled with changing nappies, tending to the never ending pile of laundry, and the craziness that is school runs, I learned to cherish each and every moment. I learned that I should value the right people and things in life, and to appreciate the small things, like spending time with family and friends, because that is more important than all the money in the world.
My children might drive me up the wall sometimes, but I would never give up being a mother for anything. I wouldn't take away how their faces light up when they're happy, the cuddles they give me when they're sad, the pride I feel when they've accomplished something new. I would also never give up the life lessons that motherhood has taught me, and the way it has helped me to grow as a person.
I know that no matter how hard things get sometimes, what I'm doing as a mother is worth it – for my children, and also for me.