BEING A MUM – Before and After by Sonja Švajhler
Sonja Švajhler, a supermum, better know as the blogger littlemisstwiggyblog and the co-founder of the portal “Supermame” (Supermums), dropped by the Roses shopping centre and took a few minutes of her time for our blog to draw a short comparison of life before and after children. We’re positive that you’re going to enjoy this excellent observation, bound to ring true for other supermums.
Life: before and after. As if they were two different lives. Which they actually are. I see myself as two completely separate and different people as well. You see, motherhood changed me from head to toe. A carefree, playful little girl turned into a caring mum. Supermum, as I like to put it. But why “Super”? Because that’s the one thing I’m not. But I try. And I know my kids see me as Supermum and the best mum I can be. But let’s go back to the beginning.
There are certain things I miss, back from the life before kids. Now, as a mother of two boys, I think about what I used to do with all that free time on my hands before having kids. It sounds ridiculous, but back then I also thought I “didn’t have time” to do all the things I had to and wanted to do. I guess it’s human nature to always be short on time and have an excessively long list of chores and wishes. Or, at least, that’s how we mentally organise things for ourselves.
The things I miss from the life I had before life appointed me a new role… Waking up “just whenever”. So… you know that feeling, opening your eyes, rays of sunshine peeking through the blinds, motes of dust flickering in the light, and you feel well-rested. Sort of tired, actually, from so much sleep. That’s what I miss. What are my mornings like now? Just as wonderful, but in a different way. I haven’t woken up “just whenever” for 3 years now, but I know what it’s like to wake up to my two-year-old’s tiny voice and the cooing of my second bundle of joy; I know how hard it is to open my eyes when my soul is aching for more sleep. I know what it’s like to pretend I’m unaware of all the noises, but I can’t fake it for too long, since my two-year-old is trying to pry my eyelids open, hugging me and accidentally stepping on my hair with his knee. I know what it’s like when he hugs the world out of me and yells that it’s time to make breakfast. It’s hard and it’s the best.
What do I miss from the life I had before life appointed me a new role? Leaving the apartment without a second thought. Where to? It doesn’t matter. I decided to go out, so I’m going out. When you have a kid, it turns out you need the kid’s permission to go out. Going anywhere is timed and organised more carefully and in more detail than a wedding. Time a longer drive just before his bedtime, but he can’t be too tired, because then he’ll fall asleep too quickly and wake up in distress halfway through, which means we’re screwed. Some might say I should relax, but my personality has always made me plan for everything and never be spontaneous. The kids add fuel to the fire of my organisational obsession, because they require a lot of organising.
When L got a little bigger, leaving the apartment became something that not only had to be planned to the last detail (because now there’s also a baby in the picture which needs to be fed before going anywhere), but my stronger half and I have to emulate tigers pouncing on prey. To clarify – the two-year-old, chock-full of energy (as if there’s any other kind of two-year-old) sees everything as a game. Loves running. He never walks. He runs. All the time. From the moment he opens his eyes to the moment he closes them at night. Running when it’s time for breakfast, running when it’s time to change his clothes, running when we leave the apartment to go to the park, running when it’s time to wash our hands. Actually, he doesn’t run, he RUNS AWAY. The husband and I have to sneak up on him in order to catch him and perform all the normal activities that used to take us 4.5 minutes before we had children. Having two children has turned 4.5 minutes into 45.
What do I miss from the life I had before life appointed me a new role? Shopping in peace. For groceries, if nothing else. Without the stress of whether he’ll throw a tantrum in the middle of shopping, whether people will turn around and comment, whether he’ll tear himself away and start running in the opposite direction… Although, the disobedient phase has started to abate when we’re out and about, which makes shopping interesting, even, and slightly less painful. But, all that aside, if we’re going shopping together, we make a trip of it. We take his little bike, appoint him tasks, and all of it makes it much more interesting for him. And he grows more serious each day, turning from a toddler into a boy. So we did the same with our trip to the Roses centre, planning it in detail and making an exciting day of it both for the children and the two of us. The trip was made complete by a fantastic lunch at the nearby “Kozjak”, a traditional local restaurant. That’s how shopping, which is something I particularly look forward to, also becomes an adventure and a source of excitement for my kids. To our mutual pleasure.
I thought that the list of things I miss would be a lot longer, but when all is said and done, my life is more fulfilled, happier, I spend my time better, I cherish every second of peace I get to spend with my husband, each uninterrupted bite; I cherish my kids’ every smile, I enjoy their communication, I get to watch Disney cartoons I watched in childhood, I draw and I play with toy cars. I’m learning how to be a mum, a supermum, and every milestone they reach blows me away and every day I discover they’ve learned something new. And I wouldn’t change any of it even for a second more to spend in bed, nor for a single peaceful exit from the apartment… not for anything at all… You see, motherhood, to me, is a chaotic world filled with emotions I never knew existed. The most powerful and the most turbulent of emotions, worry, anger, love, frustration, pride, fatigue, happiness. That’s what motherhood is to me. Wrapped in the most beautiful cellophane of children’s hugs and the most sincere kisses.