Have you ever heard a mother say “My children turned me grey!”? It sounds cliché, but I learned the truth of this saying, just in a completely unexpected way.
Before I became one I had no idea what it meant to be a mother, or how the whole process would change me. And by change me I mean tear me apart, redesign me both physically and emotionally, before sticking me back together again.
The day it all changed…
When my eldest daughter was born changed my life forever. Overnight I saw life with both renewed clarity and newfound confusion. Things I had long understood suddenly made no sense or ceased to matter at all. The ‘selfish’ days of my youth were over; the weight of responsibility parried by the most overwhelming love in constant rebalance.
I wrestled with my thoughts of failure on a daily basis, and wonder just how badly I was fucking this parenting thing up. But we learned and grew together, and as her sisters arrived through the next few years the lessons changed. Some amplified and others faded away to memory, only to return in a different child years later. We didn’t give up and we made it through each phase and stage, it wasn’t perfect, but it was us.
Trial and error
As I constantly second-guessed myself I did what most parents do and searched the internet for answers. When we faced medical issues that doctors couldn’t or wouldn’t help with we sought natural alternatives, and the Wellness Mama blog was my go-to fountain of knowledge. When life was kicking my butt completely and I couldn’t see the light in any of it, Kristina Kuzmic saved my sanity and made me feel normal. And something awesome happened. As time passed I forgave myself more for fucking up and cared a little less about the things, people and opinions that didn’t matter.
I was less defensive, and more self-assured, and that meant I was less confused with trying to negotiate the confusing, ever changing behaviour of my daughters.
In the timeless wisdom of Dr Suess, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Honestly, I didn’t give this change much thought until my partner turned to me and said “There’s no black and white with you, is there? It’s all grey…”
And he was right.
I had become every shade of grey between the black and the white, the love and the hate, the naughty and the nice. Not a weird kind of ambivalent purgatory, not indifference, but a conscious thought pattern which enabled me to empathetically assess a situation, the behaviour at hand and how, if necessary, I needed to respond.
It was the voice of all my voices, the balance within.
Taking a brief pause to think it hit me; I replied, “I am every shade of grey…”, and not in some suggestive reference to those books or films, but because in that moment I realised where I had arrived, and in fact where I had been travelling for some time. I hadn’t applied this to just my children, but my entire life.
Motherhood had turned me grey
And I was not complaining.
Because every tantrum has a reason, every meltdown a cause and each time my children acted out they were trying to tell me something. I didn’t always get it right, I still don’t, but I try.
I listen. I evolve. I learn.
But most of all I committed to consistently try my best to be the best version of me that I could be. I can forgive the black, and bathe in their light, and one day I hope I’ll be able to tell them about how they turned me grey, and absolutely transformed my life.
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