This week…Tessa Mills, my mummy, mother of three, grandmother to two.
In honour of Mothering Sunday this weekend, I have asked my very own mother to take part in the Mothers on Mothering series. She is a mother of three and a grandmother to two and has been doing it for over 35 years! Below she shares her motherly wisdom.
My little Munchkins are… Emma, Laura and Sophie; and my grand-munchkins are Elsa and Rupert.
No-one ever tells you that… every day is a juggling act of trying to retain your sanity amidst baby paraphernalia, relationships, work, life, admin. And that disciplining your children is much harder than you expected it would be – their little crumpled faces and pleas of ‘peese, Mummy peese I want …..’ can reduce even the most resolute of mothers to total surrender.
Birth was… unexpectedly something that I enjoyed, though the first was a complete unknown experience which started in a cottage hospital, with a very severe matron and my husband excluded, Not surprisingly, I didn’t ‘progress’ especially well in this environment, and ended up being transferred with blue flashing ambulance lights to a bigger hospital where moments later Baby 1 popped out calm, peaceful and sucking her thumb! NCT breathing was a great help and guided me through the next two births with relative ease.
I couldn’t have survived the first three months without… Guinness! For a working breast-feeding mother it was essential! And a pram was great for leaving your baby just out of earshot, while both of you regrouped… Also, the older mothers that I worked with were wonderful – they looked after my little one, and, with the benefit of experience, reassured me that I was doing OK and that it was all was going g to be OK.
I wish I’d known before… how different every baby is, and what works for one may well not work for your subsequent babies. And how early their individual characters, likes and dislikes appear and develop. And that both the good, and bad, phases all pass.
It used to drive me mad when people said… “Oh she’s teething.” when the smallest amount of dribble or crying happened. And “How old is your son?” when my darling little girl was sitting there in a pink dress. And “Oh they do look like …” – I thought all my children looked just like themselves, gorgeous, perfect and individual.
The best present anyone ever gave me was…. a holiday. A friend looked after Emma at ten months, so we could have a proper grown-up holiday, not looking over our shoulder all the time, eating a meal uninterrupted. Or the unexpected flowers I received after the speedy birth of our second baby from my husband, with a note that said: “Well done and so efficient – a beautiful daughter and all in a morning’s work.”
Our first family holiday was… to Khalkidhiki in Greece with my mother when Emma was three months old. Our tiny tourist complained not a jot as we explored the cultural sights in the hot midday sun. Honestly what was I thinking…!
The most important that I’ve learnt is… you never stop worrying about them, and that all your mothering love and instincts massively reawaken when you have grandchildren
I worry about… the great and seemingly unstoppable advances in technology, and especially how children now seem to have so little freedom – it makes me sad that they won’t be able to experience the glorious freedom of being out all day with siblings or friends on their bikes, taking a picnic to the park, and never having to worry about anything.
I wish… that a child’s joy of life, their magical enquiring minds, their belief in the tooth fairy, Father Christmas, and their general and delightful enthusiasm and innocence could continue to be real for them for so much longer. And that we lived more as continental families – all together in a great extended family group sharing, living, contributing and combining all our different and varied skills.
Motherhood is…. such a gift and a pleasure. Once a mother always a mother, and no matter how grown-up your children are you continue to fight for them tooth and nail, and long to still be able to kiss it better or put a plaster on their hurts and worries.
Work was… sanity – and a place to be grown-up. Being self-employed, it enabled me to combine the very best of both work and motherhood, so, while I did have to work some weekends and many evenings, I could do the morning school run, go to school plays and not go into meltdown over childcare when they were sick.
I want my children to know that…they continue to fill my life with love, joy and pleasure. That I am extremely proud of all that they do and have achieved and that they continue to discover that almost anything is possible. And that I did my best to bring them up and to equip them for this big wide world in the best way I knew, however flawed it may sometimes seem to them…!