While I was pregnant my husband Jack bought me Jacinta Tynan’s book Mother Zen. I don’t believe in parenting ‘how-to’ books, but Mother Zen became by bible. Jacinta quickly became my working-mum role model, a post that I was lacking and one I was so desperate to fill. I don’t have many friends with children, let alone friends with children and careers. Jacinta showed me that it was possible to love motherhood while still having a career, ‘me’ time, a personal life and more. Reading Mother Zen felt like I was having a conversation with a friend – finally, someone got me!
What stood out for me the most was Jacinta’s challenging of the “cry of mothers’ martyrdom” with the premise that motherhood could be easy. Almost everything I had read about motherhood told me how hard it was going to be and how I would have no time to shower, let alone work or do anything else I enjoyed pre-baby.
After Lilly was born I learnt very quickly that I loved being a mum. It didn’t bother me that for the first few weeks of my daughter’s life I stank of stale milk, never managed to eat a meal before it turned cold or that I was sleep deprived. Yes, motherhood is tiring, exhausting at times, but I love it.
I kept my happiness to myself, anxious to admit how much I loved motherhood, lest it change on me. I kept quiet when others complained about babies who fed ‘too’ often, woke frequently or who needed to be rocked to sleep.
I told one friend how happy I was. She replied ‘Don’t get used to it. It will get harder.’ I’m sure she meant to be supportive, and perhaps it will get harder. I don’t know what it is like to have a toddler or to have more then one child. But I do know that a positive mindset is crucial – why focus on the negatives when there are so many positives! I would have much preferred an ‘I’m pleased for you’ or a even cliché ‘enjoy every moment, it goes so fast!’
Jacinta was right, it is absolutely possible to balance motherhood, a career and a personal life. Yes, my life has changed. But I am still me. I feel like I am living a rich life. One that is so much more fulfilling than my life before I became a mum. I don’t think I have ever been so happy.