1993 – here I am, a successful Front Office Manager of a 5 star hotel in Darwin, Australia, now pregnant and picturing this exciting “my heart is full” change in my life that is called “motherhood”. This was what I pictured – move to Canada, BC – the land of Christmas trees, gorgeous scenery and a new life. Baby snuggled in my arms as I glide back and forth in my rocking chair – my baby looking adoringly up at me and smiling. Husband by my side bringing me cups of tea and loving our life.
I packed up our life in Darwin, and moved, 4 months pregnant to the top of Vancouver Island, B.C. ready for this dream to become a reality.
Zooming ahead a year and my reality was quite different. My hubby was away with his work more often than not; we had a beautiful, healthy baby girl that I couldn’t “manage”; I was so stressed, not coping and definitely not a natural born mother. It seemed that I could manage a 5 Star Hotel along with approximately 30 or more staff in my department, however I was at a loss as to what to do and how to make this gorgeous baby girl happy. Demanding/drunk/rude guests were way easier for me to handle and appease than our baby was. I could never figure out what it was she wanted or needed – this was not the way I pictured Motherhood unfolding.
Parenthood was not getting any easier for me as the weeks of Motherhood turned into months. I was constantly stressed with scheduling every little thing (bad idea in hindsight), I had insomnia and was constantly collapsing into tears. By the time Morgan was 9 months old, I could picture myself walking past that Christmas-Tree-lined beach whilst my baby slept, and sliding into the ocean on a one-way ticket out of my self-believing incapabilities. This was not how I thought my life as a Mother would be. By the time our baby was 10 months old I was diagnosed with Depression.
As Morgan grew older my support network grew larger, (click here to read about some of those ladies) my medication seemed to be kicking in and my confidence grew as a Mother. By the time Laura was born I had more of a handle on my “Motherhood” situation, and had started to settle into it, relax and embrace this new role in my life.
Looking back over my years as a parent, I would say that although Motherhood is an ever-evolving job through the years of our kids differing phases, it took me at least 3 years from the birth of my first child, to start to feel like I’d survive and do OK as a mother. I wouldn’t kill myself, my kids or Mike and would actually love this role, and love it – I certainly did!
Fast forward to the teenage years, and I’d like to say I “came into my own” as a Mum. I loved this age where they were exploring their boundaries/world/life and figuring out their future-selves and paths that they would take. Being part of this process was a wonderful thing and I’m so blessed that we came through those years with only a few small bumps in the road. Now I have the most wonderfully solid Mother/Daughter bonds with both my girls. Compared to the baby years, this stage of my kids’ life was easy, joyous and so much fun as I saw my years of nurturing unravel in these amazing young women who evolved to be confident, caring and loving.
I had a “lightbulb” moment last week when I realized that it took me a good 3 years to be comfortable in my role as a Mother, so maybe it would take me 3 more years to find my comfortable space as an Empty Nester? Maybe I should not beat myself up about it and stop worrying about not having the next part of my life all planned out. As my Grandmother used to say “all good things come to those who wait”. Let’s hope so anyway. I’m waiting and searching for sure.