Motherhood. It’s something we all have experience with. Maybe not being a mother, but we all know a mother. We’ve all witnessed the pressures, the fear, the joy and the pace of motherhood. And we’ve all been shaped into the people we are today by our experiences and observations of, motherhood.
So today, the day after Mother’s Day 2021, with our feelings & reflections of motherhood still fresh, we thought it would be a beautiful opportunity to explore the experiences of three mummas; Kayde, Emma and myself, Amanda.
Having worked together in the fashion and lifestyle space, we have all had the beautifully transformative experience that comes with raising kids in rural regions across Australia.
We wanted to dig into the similarities as well as the differences in our experience of motherhood. Because when we share stories, I know that it has the power to help others to feel less alone.
It can help us to sense that sisterhood solidarity that surrounds us—we may be separated by miles, but we’re all wading through this complicated and empowering journey of being women, together.
Motherhood is a big, tangled ball of lying awake-at-3am fear, excruciating loss, full-body joy and primal bliss, and if we don’t come together at times to share the wins, the tragedies, the desperation and the elation, then we miss an opportunity to reflect on the whole experience.
So mums, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, soul mates… now that the Mother’s Day marketing circus has left town, but our ever-evolving personal experiences are still fresh in our minds, let’s reflect on what ‘Motherhood’ is and how it’s shaped us, whether we’re mums right now, or not – and without the obligation to buy something!
I hope you enjoy our musings on motherhood, with thoughtful responses from Emma, Kayde and myself.
Did you always want to be a mother, or was it something that grew within you over time?
K: I definitely didn’t always have a motherly instinct—it was a feeling that slowly grew, getting louder and louder and intensifying when I met my husband.
A: I definitely always wanted to be a Mum, but I don’t know if it was my own deep desire as much as societal conditioning. I didn’t really know anything about the truth of it, I was 26 when I became a Mum and a very immature 26. I grew into motherhood, and owe any wisdom I have right now to my motherhood journey. I’m a better person for being a Mum.
E: I have always wanted to be a mother. It was something I never questioned and couldn’t wait to become even from a little girl and teenager. I was really fortunate in that my family modelled for me how loving, rewarding and inclusive family life could be and I couldn’t wait to have that for myself.
Were you ready for motherhood?
K: Yes, 100%—I was ready. I’d had two miscarriages before having my first, so the anticipation and nervousness were real. I couldn’t wait to finally be a mum and start the journey of motherhood, even though I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into!
E: I was SO ready to become a Mum, but as is so often the way, life had other plans for us… Infertility issues delayed our trip to parenthood, and we went down the IVF route. It was so hard and completely isolating. I often felt like I was ‘broken’ when I couldn’t ‘fall’ pregnant, so when it was eventually our turn we were SO ready, grateful and excited.
A: No way! My first pregnancy was not planned, but I was still happy and excited. I thought it would be a fun adventure and “it can’t be that hard, right?” WOW. So naive!! It was the steepest learning curve of my life and continues to challenge me to dig deeper every day.
Did motherhood align with your expectations?
A: I’d have to say, not really. I hadn’t really given any deep thought to what it might be really like and I think my impressions of motherhood were very one-sided; even though I’d seen firsthand my own mother’s experience and the realness of it, I still had an idealised vision in my mind that was a lot like a Johnson&Johnson baby powder ad followed by glossy cupcake making, tickles in the grass and non-stop giggling – it was obviously not that 90% of the time!
E: When I look back, I guess I never really had great expectations of what motherhood was meant to look like for me. I just knew that I wanted kids in my life. Everything else was a wonderful/scary/overwhelming/joy-filled roller coaster ride!
K: It sure did! If I’m honest though, the second time around wasn’t as magical because of how damn busy life had turned out to be, but I think I’ve always tried to raise my kids a certain way that was there from the beginning, or even from before the beginning!
How do you define success as a parent? Does it change from day-to-day?
E: For our family, success is a mix of nurturing, safety and full tummies, with a good portion of adventure, laughter, learning and growth mixed in! I love the happy mess that comes with living like this; knowing that success as a parent or a mother is always changing, evolving and it’s different for different people.
K: Success as a parent for me is knowing that my kids are both happy, and that they feel completely safe to be themselves and to express who they truly are. My parenting approach in achieving this has definitely changed as I get older and (maybe) wiser though!
A: For me, bigger picture success as a parent is raising kids who are in the strongest position possible to face the challenges of adult life. I believe that my kids are fundamentally good people who will find their way in life with the right guidance, so I guess I feel like my mission is to do everything possible to prepare them; ensuring they’re physically & emotionally healthy, teaching them to be respectful, resilient, helpful and kind, fortifying them with tools to manage the hard times like strong communication, perspective & boundaries. On the daily though it’s just getting something green on their plate, getting them to hang up their towels and making sure they get to do all the sports they want to do!
How do you process, comprehend and deal with the pain and joy of motherhood?
K: If I’m completely honest, sometimes I don’t deal with the intense emotional experiences of motherhood very well. My husband is away a lot and this gives me a heavy sense of responsibility. At the start of each day, I give myself a good pep talk about doing the best I can at that moment. Some days that’s literally parenting from bed with a pillow over my face, but other days I know I can give my kids all the energy and patience in the world.
A: I lie awake at night sometimes with a crippling sense of failure and guilt as a parent, it can be overwhelming. Other times I look at my kids and feel tremendously proud of myself as a Mum because they are such extraordinary little people; they really are doing ok! So it is a rollercoaster. Always coming back to the moment is the only way I can cope with the pain and joy of motherhood; looking too far back spirals off into feelings of guilt and failure, looking too far forward causes anxiety about their futures, the present moment is safe and manageable, it’s the place to be!
E: Dealing with the joy is easy, although sometimes the weight of the love you have for your kids will scare you to death… But dealing with the pain of motherhood takes patience and grace, mostly for yourself. You need to give yourself the chance to grieve, to change, to grow and you need to forgive yourself, as often as you need to.
How important are the women, and other mothers in your life?
A: I couldn’t get by without the women in my life. My mum and two sisters are my first-aid kit when I can’t deal. They all bring something different and helpful in hard times; Mum pushes me to soldier on, one of my sisters is great for listening & sympathising to a good old whinge, the other is a parent herself and gets it, but is so level-headed and calm when I’m not! My friends are all so different, again each one has something so special about her which I find to be so energising and such a source of solidarity & strength – I always know which one to call when I need them, together they are a force!
E: The ladies in my life aren’t just important but they’re my key to surviving and thriving in motherhood. I’m so lucky to have a family and friends who have all had kids at the same time, and well as a group of new mums that I’ve met through our local community. The women in my life are amazingly supportive and I can message them at any hour for advice, a whinge, or to share my small wins. I’m so grateful for the women in my life.
K: The women in my life are so important to me! Being able to talk through everyday frustrations, both life and business and everything, is such a sanity saver! And having people to share both the joy and the mess of motherhood provides such a lifeline for me and I’m always thankful for that.
Connect with these incredible women…
To connect with Emma from Little Wild Love Photography, reach out on Instagram.
To connect with me (Amanda!) from The Grampians Goods Co. reach out on Instagram.
Interested in the clothing in this article?
Earlier in the month, Kayde from Spinifex & Co. connected with us suggesting a fashion shoot featuring their amazing range of exquisite bush-inspired clothing, worn by me (Amanda, GGCo. Founder).