I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

This is an excerpt from an article I recently wrote about my own attitude to motherhood:

I didn’t start out wanting to be a Mum. In fact, I was one of the least clucky people you might meet—I never ooh’ed and ahh’ed over babies, never was one to chase after the kids at family events, and never really thought about having children of my own. My world was going to be filled with an amazing career, travel, and adventures long before I would even consider the concept of having children. Kids were something which happened to other people! Then my older sister had her first child. In all honesty, at first I wasn’t all that interested in her either! She was born while I was still in high school. I was much more interested in applying to college, being in the school play, and other time-wasting activities. Every once in a while, though, my sister would ask me to baby sit, or I would be left alone with my neice...and I’d look at that gorgeous face (even when it was a crying face), and think, “Welllllll….maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all, this whole motherhood thing.” I still was not particularly convinced, even after my sister had her second child. Adorable as he was, he still was not enough to convince me that motherhood was for me. Time passed and I eventually met the person who would be my husband. He made it clear (pretty much from our first date), that he wanted children. He really was one of the clucky ones; having always dreamed about becoming a Dad, wanting nothing more than to cuddle a child of his own. He did make the googly eyes and funny noises at other people’s newborns, played with the kids at the family events, and had truly spent time thinking about how many children he wanted...you get the idea! By then I still didn't love the idea but I had warmed to it ...although I wasn’t totally convinced, since he was so keen I went along with it.

The rest of the story you probably know—we ended up parents of triplets. For someone with little or no interest in kids, this was one heck of a shock. I’d managed to get through my niece's and nephew’s childhoods without actually bothering to learn anything about the care and feeding of babies. How was I supposed to take care of three of them at once? It was almost like some sort of great cosmic joke. The good news, of course, is that I managed to take care of them (with a significant amount of help from DH) and thus far their nearly-five years of life have been without any great disasters. I love and adore them with a strength and protectiveness I didn't think I was capable of. Along the way I have learned an enormous amount about myself, and for those lessons I am grateful to my children. Among these lessons are:

· Learning that I am brave in the face of danger: Imagine walking into a room where you know there are three kids with gastro, and you’ve run out of gloves…

· Learning that I can roll with the punches: We’ve taken them overseas three times and not once did I find myself beating on the plane doors shouting, “Let me out of here!”

· Learning that I am a woman of wisdom: I know why the sky is blue, why everything is always unfair to the person whose turn it isn’t, and the importance of not continually answering the question, “But WHY Mummy?”

· Learning that my sixth sense is my best sense: When all is quiet in the house, you had best go investigate. It’s amazing how quietly three kids can tear apart a house brick by brick.

· Learning that while maternal instincts are not always natural, they can be learned: Without having to stop and ask for directions, I knew which end was for feeding and which was for cleaning. I didn’t necessarily enjoy it, but at least I knew what to do with it.

Above all else I am glad that on a daily basis my children remind me of the importance of being able to laugh at oneself and with others— long, loud, and hard. Being a parent is hard work – far harder than I ever, ever could have imagined...but it is also far more rewarding than I could have imagined either. I’m still not ‘clucky’ when it comes to other people’s children ...but when I am left alone with a baby, I find myself thinking, “This motherhood thing is DEFINETLY not too bad!”

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