I am a mother - I can't go back... but I can learn going forward.

I remember this day 14 years ago all to well. The birthing process was about 24 hours long - the anticipation, the drive to the hospital in the sports car knowing that I wouldn't be driving home in it, the wonder, the pain, the body spasms that nurses called labour (I called them something else!), all the mixed-up emotions, the funny bits, the exhaustion, the overwhelming feeling of the baby crowning, the blood, the nurse jabbing me with a needle of oxytocin afterwards, and finally the squishiness of her little body on mine. Then came the few days afterwards where I was thrust full throttle into the worry of motherhood as I watched her in the incubator into the wee hours of the morning... wondering if she was ok. It was all a process of beginning.

But that moment - that moment when she first looked up at me with those big brown eyes and stroked her own cheek with those tiny wrinkled fingers is etched in my brain forever. Her eyes seemed to contain the wisdom of the universe and I was mesmerised. I was a MOTHER.

Now it is 14 years later and again it is my first born’s birthday. Her eyes widened and sparkled as she opened up her present. “Wow. How did you know I wanted one of these?” was her question. The split second response in my head was “because I am your mother! How else?!”

As I reflected on that, I thought about all the ‘little’ things I have learned by being a mother (not just reading about it.)

Here are 14 of my favourite things that I have learned....and have to keep telling myself every day!

1. You can't go back. You are a mother now for the rest of your life. OWN it!

2. BALANCE is crucial for your sanity and well-being. Take care of yourself FIRST so you can take care of everyone else

3. TRUST your gut; trust your maternal instinct; believe in yourself. Throw out the books some days.

4. Tantrums are about not being heard and feeling out of control - join in the drama and empathise first. BE A CUSHION, not a wall.

5. The grandparents will do what they want anyway. LET IT GO along with everyone else’s advice.

6. Don't take a long plane trip when your kid is just learning to potty train or walk. TRUST me, it is NOT pretty!

7. Lean into it and lean on somebody. It is ONLY YOU that expects you to do it all perfectly on your own.

8. Impromptu DANCE parties are the best!

9. They will treasure more the things you do WITH them than what you do for them. Be present.

10.When they ‘dump’ something on you it's because they can’t handle it and are trusting you with it. Don’t worry, they will come back and deal with it later. TAKE THE BULLET.

11.NATURE is the best PlayStation but some Minecraft isn't going to derange them.

12.LISTEN more and talk less. You have two ears and one mouth use them in those proportions

13.HUGS are good and NAPS are important for your children AND YOU.

14.Your kids love you, want you, and need you no matter what they say. You are their MOTHER.

Big hugs to all mothers out there and a big hug to Little - who transformed me and my world more than she will ever know. xxx

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