What does motherhood mean to you?
Motherhood. One of the most powerful words and experiences. It reflects differently on each mother and is one of the most sacred journeys you will travel in life.
But what does it actually mean? What is motherhood? And what does it mean to be a mother? First you feel that there is a simple answer to this question, but is it really?
A human growing in your belly, giving birth or even adopting. You say yes to having a family. But being a mother is about much more than that.
And especially it is very different from personality to personality. Finding words for a feeling is hard and motherhood is all about feelings and our heart, isn’t? The love we feel. Towards our own children but not to forget our own mums too. The joys and difficulties, complex relationships, the sacred bond and dreams.
Motherhood changes you.
Motherhood is different around the world and it is kisses and cuddles, and late night snuggles.
It is wishing the day was over and then wishing it would never end. A roller coaster of emotions, life and a never ending story. A mum builds forts, fixes football shirts and tutus, teaches life lessons about broken hearts and self-esteem. A 24h job for every day of the year. You put somebody else in front of your own goals.
Motherhood marks a new chapter in every woman’s story.
And gives you an enormous boost of self confidence and strength in yourself. A new sense of purpose and meaning in life. You discover a love and passion that you have never experienced before. We asked a few mums to share their feelings and what motherhood means to them with us. A beautiful journal is the result. It carries the gift of nurturing, care, and superhuman love. Of the same goals and different ways of expressing and going about them.
Motherhood is emotional.
As much love as we have for our children, sometimes motherhood leaves us with an aching for things greater than what lies outside the walls of our home.
Motherhood is exhausting.
Between dreaming of what their future holds for them, and all the amazing adventures they will have. Worrying about lows, missed goals or disappointments. A tiring every day juggle.
Maggie from Chic Little List:
Everyone says it but it’s true. The moment you stare at your newborn, your life changes forever, beyond measure, uncontrollably. I remember in the days leading up to the birth of my firstborn, I had a wobble. What if I didn’t feel maternal? What if I didn’t bond? What if I was a rubbish mother? And then she came, a gorgeous pink ball with blinking big eyes, delivered by planned c-section. She starred right at me while rooting madly for the breast. That first latch had a profound effect. Here was a tiny new life that needed me for existence. It was thunderbolts and lighting love at first sight. I had no idea I was capable of such monumental and all-consuming emotion. My world changed overnight. Suddenly I could see danger at every corner – the simple act of crossing a road became a game of survival – with my instincts heightened to levels I didn’t know possible. Then and there I knew she couldn’t be my first and last baby so went on the have two more children. Every day, even if it’s a hard day and I’m stressed and tired, I feel blessed to have them. Now, my eldest is about to be nine and my middle girl is coming up to seven and my chubby boy has just turned two and I’m still learning from them every day. While I am by no means a perfect mother (does that really exist anyway?), the role has made me at least try to be a better person. To strive to look after myself and the world more carefully. I am invested in my kids’ happiness and wellbeing after all. Motherhood has prompted me to become involved in local environmental issues from campaigning to get safe segregated cycle lanes in our neighbourhood (we won!) to cutting down on plastics. I once heard a friend of a friend bemoaning people who procreate and the worst environmental offenders but I think the reverse is true. If you have a child, you are totally invested in the future. You want to world to be a better, safer, healthier place for them. In my experience, mothers are the strongest and most focused campaigners I know.
Tracey from The Bonniemob.
Motherhood for me is a constantly shifting job description.
The early days meant I was Mummy. Unconditional love, a care giver, a source of nourishment. It was a life juggle of time and emotions with a constant feeling of ‘am I doing this right?’.
The babies were nurtured, they blossomed and became boisterous toddlers and offered challenges of willpower and stand-offs over eating vegetables! Then first days at school, the achievements they’ve made and feelings of overwhelming pride, reassuring me that yes ‘you did some of it right!’. In fact, you did a fair bit of it right.
My kids are now nearly 11 and 13, so my role as a mother is moving into new territory. I’m no longer mummy (not in public anyway). Mum is my new name. I get a slight twinge of sadness every time I hear it. I need to be enough of a friend to hear the worries and enough of a mum to steer them through. Enough of a mum to say no when everyone else is saying yes. Staying strong in my belief that I’ve been doing it right for this long, it’ll be ok.
Motherhood is hard, it’s the biggest challenge I’ve taken on in life, but the rewards are so very worth it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Daniela from Loja Dada.
It’s difficult to define motherhood. Motherhood is something that first happens slowly and then suddenly. It becomes your natural state.
Life is about change and it is enlightening to learn how to be a parent after so many years of being a child and a teenager. And always feeling so distant from adulthood, parenthood etc. Then suddenly it’s your turn. And you start to learn new things about life, about yourself. Of course, you love this other human being deeply and with a kind of love that is different from all loves before. But it’s also a real test of patience sometimes!
Emma Paton from Finlay Fox.
Motherhood is a roller coaster ride. It’s a juggle that never gets any easier, you just get better at it. Motherhood means the world to me, it has made me a better person and bought a deeper meaning to my life. Motherhood means family, happiness, love and contentment. Motherhood is lucky and a gift that not all of us get. It brings out the best and worst in you. Some days are hard and some days are easy but ultimately the joy of raising small humans is so powerful. Motherhood can be boring and monotonous yet every day brings something new and I am continually learning more about myself and my kids. They never cease to amaze me with what they learn and how they change each day. It is unconditional love and a protective force that you never knew you had. It means putting your children’s needs above your own. It is madness and chaos and you always need a packet of wipes and rice cakes well within reach!
Kate from Tokyo Urban Baby.
I am an Australian mum living in Japan, and my children go to Japanese nursery school, so motherhood for me has resulted in adopting many wonderful Japanese customs. Motherhood in Japan actually reminds me of a mother kangaroo with her joey! Holding baby in a sling almost 24/7, keeping baby close with lots of skin ship and feeding as baby needs. And then as they grow older encouraging them to go out and be independent and explore the world. Then at night we all jump in the Japanese bath together, talk about the day and I listen to their stories or their troubles from nursery school. And then we all fall asleep peacefully together on the futons in the tatami room. Lots of challenges, but always fun and always learning something new about life along the way!
Uli our Editor in Chief.
Having children is an absolute godsend for me! I always knew that I wanted children. Whereby what I never expected before the birth of my first son is, how deep and different you can experience love. To me, being a mother also means getting to know myself again. From a completely different side.
Parenting also belongs to the life of a mother and is (for me) a daily challenge. Nobody leads me to my limits as much as my children. But they also bring me a lot of happiness. I feel more intense and pay more attention to the little things. If one of my children explains the world to me, talks to me about the meaningfulness of rules or shows me an earthworm, that he wraps around his dirty little fingers, or asks me if God is fair. Well, it makes me pause, smile and think. Being a mother not only makes my life more complete, but also much more exciting, more fun and more colourful.
What did we learn? There is no one definition of motherhood. It is a combination of raw emotions, experiences, and our hopes and dreams for our children.
Every mother has their own path to motherhood, but the rewards are the same.
Enjoy it, cherish it and embrace it.
This video by Chelsea Morley explores modern motherhood. From struggles returning to work to the loss of identity. The constant mum-guilts and roller coaster of emotions. She looks at the struggle, the juggle and the joy of motherhood. A video that portraits exactly what we think motherhood is.
Need more motherhood talk? How about these inspiring TED talks for mums or some great tips about self care for mums!