If there is one word that would define most mothers is balance. As a mother, wife, worker, sibling, child, Christian and plain human being. I find myself a juggler of sorts valiantly trying to balance the various expectations and responsibilities placed on my lap. If not careful, it is possible to find that in this fast paced life, my family, and more so my children, take the back burner.
Yet if there is one area in my life that I have purposed to guard with all due diligence it is that; my family. That decision has taken me through various journeys first as a stay at home mom, then as a woman working flexible hours and then as a fully fledged working mother. It has limited my options significantly and sometimes even affected my finances. I have had to refuse career opportunities that would have made a significant difference in terms of both career and economic advancement because it meant more hours away from my children. It has meant doing with less sleep as I play catch up with assignments first as a student and later as a lecturer; it has also meant cutting down on chamaas and other social events to create time to be available. Choices that have sometimes been painful but for which I have no regrets.
It has been one roller coaster of a journey. Times when I have felt on top of the world and validated as my children begin to act out lessons painfully taught; but there have also been times when I have wanted to put a brown bag over my head and move to never never land in hiding. As a younger mother, I definitely had more energy to deal with some of the drama when Tj and Toriah were growing up, but as an older mother to Thayu where I lack in energy I make up in the wisdom of realising that it takes a village to raise a child and it is okay to accept help sometimes. I have less energy true but I also have less false guilt.
Light years ago, when I still had a waist line and was caught up in the corporate dream, years before I became a mommy; there was nothing more I dreaded than the thought that one day I would become a mother and have to trade in my ‘exciting’ life with the dull reality of diapers, poop and drooling babies. I could never have been more wrong. As I have journeyed on this path, I realise that nothing could beat the excitement of hearing your child speak the first time, first as a toddler learning to speak and later as a teenager making a speech; or the joy of receiving a gift from your baby albeit it being weeds that you must wear in your hair because they make mummy pretty.
Yesterday we went to visit a friend as a family. The children were playing in a different room while the adults visited. After a little while, Thayu came to me holding a white rose which he gave me with a hug before returning to play. Everyone was impressed. I have no idea where he got the flower from but I can guess he must have taken it from a bunch somewhere, but the message was very clear to me. Mom I love you. It brought flash backs of many other flowers most picked, some wilted, that I have received over the years from his older brothers. Flowers that quickly fade as girls and other more interesting pursuits pick their interest as they age.
Although I thought my life as a mummy would be one big drudgery, I could not have been more wrong, because no matter how many more books I write or degrees I acquire or people I mentor, nothing can beat the feeling of pudgy hands on my cheeks as my son plants a wet kiss on my face or the exciting journey of helping this little boy become a man.