Melissa and Dylan
Melissa and Dylan
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As Mother’s Day approaches, it means reflecting on what it means to be a mother. For those mums who have only recently started to celebrate the occasion, the joys and challenges are very real but only just beginning.

We asked some new mums what it means to them to be a mother, as well as what have been some of the most surprising things they have learned about becoming a mother and how they have found balance, if any, in their lives.

Anne Allain

Mother to Benjamin, two.

What has been the most surprising thing about being a mother?

The most surprising thing for me has been how much I enjoy it, and also that I can function on little to no sleep and find the energy to play dump trucks with my two year old and chasing him around the house. 

What have been some of the challenges of being a mother?

Living in Bermuda as an expatriate and being so far away from family has been the biggest challenge of all. Making sure that my son has a relationship with his grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins is important to us.

We do Skype and Facetime and try to see family as much as we can, but the distance is real and especially noticeable around holidays.

Not to mention that it would be a nice perk to be able to drop my little guy off with family so that I can go for a haircut or dental appointment without it being a strategic planning exercise, and know that he is in the best care possible.

How do you manage creating a balance in your life now that you are a mother?

Truthfully, I’m not sure that I’ve achieved much of a balance in my life yet. My day revolves around the needs of my son and my desire for him to be healthy and happy and experience his environment and learn as much as possible.

He won’t be young forever, so now is my opportunity to have the biggest impact on his life.   

Although my husband works outside of the home all day, he does play a huge care-giving role in our son’s life.

When he comes home from work, he takes over for me and gives me a chance to catch up on the management of our household and time to take a break.

He feeds our son supper, plays with him, takes him golfing or to the playground, gives him his bath, brushes his teeth and gets him ready for bed. 

What are some tips you might give to other mums about ways to find time for yourself?

Lock the door when you are in the bathroom! LOL! 

 

Melissa Fox

Mother to Dylan, two months.

What do you enjoy the most so far about being a mother?

Ask me in five years, I may have an answer for that.

Seriously though, it’s the surprises that keep me going. I created this little person that I get to watch grow up into something amazing. I get to be a part of shaping her life and her future. I’m so curious –– what is she going to look like, act like? What music is she going to listen to, and will she be into sports or science?

The downside, I’m terribly impatient. There’s a good part of me that wishes she were a book so I could skip to the last page and find out the ending already.

How have you been managing to create a balance in your life now that you are a mother?

For the time being, there is no such thing as balance. We’re two months in and I expect by the time we hit three months –– or, more realistically, I pray that by the time we hit three months –– things will settle down but for now, there is little more to my day than tending to her needs: feeding, changing, and trying to get her to nap.

Every time I think we figure out some kind of schedule she reminds me just who’s in charge. And here I was thinking I wore the pants in this family...

What are some tips you might give to other mums about ways to find time for yourself?

If you have the opportunity to, hand your little person off to someone you trust (emphasis on the trust part) and get out of the house. For 10 minutes, for an hour, it doesn’t matter how long.

Other than sleep, the one thing you need in your life is time to yourself to remember you are an individual apart from your family. Remember how you used to be that?

Nurturing a newborn is a 24/7 job and even the most independent woman can forget herself in it (we’re not counting the women who are so put together they deliver their children with a full face of makeup).

Getting to spend some time to yourself without spit up in your hair or a baby scream-crying in the background will remind you of that.

Personally, I think a woman who gets opportunities to revisit herself, so to speak, will be more confident and comfortable when it comes to raising her children. 

 

Laura Fortunato

Mother to Ella, 16 months.

What has been the most surprising thing about being a mother?

I don’t think anything can ever prepare you for how much you are going to love your child. The feeling of such intense and powerful love was so surprising.

Just when you think you can’t love your child anymore, you do. I had Ella when I was 36 and I can’t even remember what life was like before her. She has filled my life with such joy.

I was one of those people that wasn’t even sure I wanted kids and now I feel like that is what I was born to do.

What have been some of the challenges of being a mum?

There are many challenges. In the early months, the lack of sleep was brutal and I had much difficulty breast-feeding in the beginning.

I was scared to leave the house. I was frightened Ella would start crying and I wouldn’t know how to make her stop. I hadn’t really been around babies before.

Now it’s all about having patience with Ella when she is being a headstrong toddler.

The biggest challenge though is being confident in myself and my parenting. It is hard not to compare your child to others. Everyone always wants to give their opinion and two cents.

I have to remind myself to take what I can from each comment and to not let the rest bother me.

I can worry about everything (teeth, speech, crawling, walking, etc) but all babies develop and hit milestones at different times and Ella will do them all in her own time.

How do you manage creating a balance in your life now that you are a mother?

Creating a balance is hard as being a parent can be all-consuming. I definitely feel I have to work at getting quality time with my husband and friends.

It is also hard when Ella is at daycare during the week because I want to spend all my free time with her on the weekends.

Sometimes I have to force myself to do something social and then I am so glad that I did it. I am sure it probably makes me a better mother for it. 

How are you planning to spend Mother’s Day?

I don’t know what our plans are for Mother’s day yet. I am hoping that we can spend some family time together.