Left: My first son at 18 months, 2013 | Right: My eldest with his brothers at a recent kite flying day out, 2021
My first born is turning 9 this year. Looking back at old memories, I cannot imagine this day where my once tiny cheery bubs is now as tall as my shoulder and talks like a little man.
I vividly remember how the first few months of motherhood was. Even though I had read a tonne of parenting books, attended 3 baby classes, talked to many mommies, the reality of motherhood hit me like a rock. Sleepless nights, postpartum body, hormones, pain everywhere... the only thing keeping me sane was an unspeakable love whenever I gaze at my son and he gazes back at me. That tiny living thing, totally dependable on me and my village - loving hub and grandparents.
One year later, I'm not sure whether because I stopped breastfeeding, or managed to get most of myself back, or my son was more interactive and started to walk and explore, I began to truly enjoy motherhood. We explored parks, little nooks and crannies in our neighbourhoods and I saw wonder through the eyes of a child.
His first day of preschool was tough for both of us. He cried, I felt such immense guilt for leaving him with 'strangers'. My hubs and I began to seriously explore the topic of discipline because as to all new parents, we were afraid of moulding a horrible human being in the future. Every few months was a new phase of parenting challenges. Fast forward today, our latest challenge was getting him to take responsibility in his school work. We learnt how to help him navigate friendship issues in school, tackle life questions, making sure we set a good example to a little man who sees what we do more than what we say.
So the question remains, does motherhood gets 'easier'? If it's the sleepless nights, 24/7 caring for a newborn, losing your individuality to motherhood, yes, it does gets better eventually. You will find time to find yourself again. You will be able to sleep through the night again. Your baby will grow up. When the time comes, it's common to find oneself scrolling through old photos, wondering where your little baby went to.
But honestly, I feel motherhood in essence never gets 'easier'. It's the world's most challenging yet rewarding job. There's no foolproof manual at every stage of motherhood. That's why mommy communities are so precious. I am thankful that I have a community of mommies I can turn to whenever I encounter new challenges. It's like we are fumbling around in the dark sometimes and those who had gone before us can show us the best way forward.
My boys still have a long road ahead of them. Earlier, they asked me what's it like to serve in the army. Of which I directed that question to my Hubs. I stared at all my boys, especially my youngest. It's impossible to imagine him when he's 18. For now, I will enjoy every stage of motherhood to its fullest. Granted there are things I don't enjoy - like the sleepless nights and nonsense sibling squabbles. But I know one day I will look back at all these memories and smile, knowing I will remember more of the good ones than the bad.
Do you have a mommy support group? Feel free to email us at email@example.com and I will try to connect you to one.