in Family Life, Mothers

How Many Lists Would You Have To Leave Behind?


Recently my husband and I were fortunate enough to have the grandparents here.

We were able to leave the boys with them, while we slipped away for three blissful, child-free days. Oh, and how indulgent that was. No fighting, no yelling, nobody to feed and put to bed, lazy late morning lie-in’s, time to sit down and read. Heaven on earth. It was in fact, the longest I have ever left my boys behind. It was a sobering thought and to be quite honest, a bit scary.

As it goes, we left a huge amount of “notes”. The do’s and the don’ts, the what’s and the what not’s.

Just before we jumped into the car, I took out my medical aid card and handed it to my mum-in-law. “In case of emergency”, I said. But as we drove away, my mind wandered to what if it was us who ended up in an emergency? What if I never came back again? My little list of instructions made to last for a long weekend could never contain enough info for that scenario.

Where do you start leaving behind those type of instructions?

Is there a notebook with enough pages for me to write down all the things you would need to know about raising my kids?

Where do I start to explain the little intricacies of their personalities that I have by now (almost) figured out?

How long will it take someone else to realise that they eat cucumber at home, but not if you put it in their lunchboxes?

It doesn’t matter how many people our children might have in their lives that care for and about them; if you, like me, are the primary care-giver to those kids, no-one (not even their amazing and wonderful fathers) can completely write that list.

Encouragement for the mother who doesn't think she's enough | Motherhood and parenting | Raising a family | #motherhood

There is not any person on this planet that knows them as well as we do.

As I pondered on these things driving along in a perfectly quiet car, I felt a bit daunted by the responsibility. That sense of once again, the buck stops with me.

Just before I could start resenting the notion though, I was filled with an immense sense of gratitude. Gratitude for being in such an incredibly blessed position to have little people so dependent on me and to love so deeply and so fiercely. To be the one who is always there. When they wake up, when they go to sleep, at school drop-off and again at pick-up. I can tell when they are not themselves, I can anticipate sickness (usually when the appetite drops…), I know when to let things go and when to push them a bit harder. I know when they need a bit of a break or when I need to tighten the reigns.

I don’t like going to that dark place of imagining my kids having to grow up without me.

But in doing so I not only realised again the blessing of being their mum, but also became reassured that just maybe I’m not doing such a bad job.

If ever you feel like you are failing as a mother, just think of the gaping hole it would leave in their little worlds if you weren’t in it anymore. Then you will remember again just how special you are.

Magda Pienaar

Magda is a mother, budding entrepreneur and a dabbler in words. She is originally from South Africa, but Perth became home in 2015. Her happy place is spending time with her husband and two boys, all 3 of them redheads! Most of her spare time goes into washing underpants and putting down toilet seats, but if there’s any left, you will find her with her nose in a book. Other passions include coffee and chocolate and sometimes she runs too. She loves encouraging women to be authentic, ignore the opinions of others and to become the best possible version of themselves.

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