To the Mums who have been there before: I salute you.
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Do you know that feeling when you step into a plane with a baby and everybody looks at you like you have the plague?
Hey! I totally get it. I also would like to sit as far away as possible from my own children sometimes. In planes and restaurants, 100% of the time.
But in some of those horrible flights, I have been offered a helping hand. A total stranger coming to me with a big smile and saying "hey, let me hold your baby” while you go to the toilet. “Because if you're not too stressed, well I guess your baby will be less stressed too".
Yes, it's always been a fellow Mum, with older or grown-up children, who "has been there and gets it".
I remember my first year as a Mum.
It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Dragon Ryder used to wake up every 45 minutes at night and I was a wreck. Mums who were in the trenches with me couldn’t be of much help. Yes, there was some relief in the fact that they were not sleeping either, but the only idea we could all come up with was to google can you die from sleep deprivation and nothing more.
But back then I had regular visits from a Mum with two children: a school boy and a pre-schooler.
I used to look at her in awe. Yes, she survived babyhood! How could that even be possible?
She used to talk about the light at the end of the tunnel and she promised me there would be a day when I would come to enjoy motherhood.
She gave me lots of advice and accepted my stubbornness in doing whatever I wanted.
And mostly, she was there listening to my sobs.
A year passed, Dragon Ryder started sleeping better and slowly she started being a sort of interesting human being.
But I still have a very special place in my heart for that Mum.
And that’s why, still now, I always try to reach out to those Mums “who have been there and totally get it”. The Mums who have teenage children and are surviving. The Mums who have grown-up children and somehow have managed to have a relationship with them.
Those Mums who from a distance and from experience, can see the wood for the trees.
Because being a mother of little children feels so much like being stuck in a plane: most people don’t help but they are very quick at judging you when the kids start to misbehave.
And sometimes you just need somebody to hold your screaming baby for a few minutes or to distract your pre-meltdown toddler with a passing butterfly, to make it to the next minute.
But most of the times you just need to hear that this too shall pass, about a million times, in between your sobs.
I hope that when I become one of those Mums “who have been there”, I remember to offer a helping hand to the Mums in the trenches.
In the meantime, thanks very much to those Mums. I look at you in total awe, because you made it. I mean…How could that even be possible?
Anna is a journalist and a mother of three children under the age of 7, Dragon Ryder, Gecko Princess and Baby Anaconda. She spends most of her week being a stay-out-of-home Mum to tire her three energetic girls while she thinks and writes about the joys and struggles of parenting.