I had forgotten the reasons why I decided to get married and have a family of my own. These last few days, since my husband has been off on a business trip leaving me alone in my big bed, I remembered why. I didn’t like the thought of returning home to an empty room, an empty bed and most importantly an empty life. Parents, siblings and friends are a good distraction and fill most of the hours in your day but it’s when you shut the doors, and crawl into bed that you realise why God decided, ‘it wasn’t good for man to be alone.’
I had a fun filled life, as cabin crew I travelled the world free of charge and with strong family ties I always had weekends and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries to spend with people who mattered. My crazy bunch of girls/women and divas filled my day and sometimes until the wee hours of the morning with laughter, giggles, heart-warming moments and just raw girly fun.
As fulfilling and exciting the times were, eventually everyone retrieved into their own personal lives; boyfriends gave way to husbands, dirty nappies and the joys of motherhood-replaced pubbing & clubbing. Parents and siblings were always a permanent fixture but I was too emotionally attached to them and then I took a look at someone who I was destined to become in another 10 years.
She was attractive, confident, successful but lonely. A cabin crew trainer, looked much younger than her age; all those sleepless nights with a colicky baby really adds to those facial wrinkles! Confident, well dressed, successful but seriously lonely! The highlight of her days was spending time with her nephews & nieces. Her life had the ‘Always the bridesmaid never the bride’ sort of a theme that had lost its initial glamour. Every handsome man she dated was happily married and instead of romantic cards she received invitations to baby showers and weddings. The only guys who showed interest were the Casanovas who just looking for a chase or the straying husband looking for some excitement.
Every time she saw a happy couple she reminisced about that special one she let go off because she was too scared of loosing her independence getting stuck in a monotonous life full of nappies, tantrums and missed opportunities. Men are never faithful she often told herself, after all cabin crew are the preferred target for straying married men who often travel for business for long periods. (Note to self, need to call hubby and remind him how much I love him!)
I know many women who prefer casual flings as opposed to marriage and want a life that isn’t bogged down with family, children, in-laws and a demanding husband; I am not that woman. As much as I cringe and moan about how annoying it is to wake up in the morning to loud wails of, “Momma!” or 3am cries form a toddler who has wet her bed, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Wait a sec; I did trade it for the world!
You know what? I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I have been to the Sydney harbour bridge and I have seen the Sydney opera house many times but to see it through the eyes of my 4 ½ year old, to absorb all that wonder and amazement; there are some things that money just can’t buy. Some things are just priceless and free, occupational perks of being a mom to three kids all below the age of 5!
I have been to exotic locales, sipping ice tea while starring into the cerulean Adriatic Sea but nothing beats three mucky kids splashing water and mud at each other on a hot Aussie summer. Giggling, did I mention that infectious, innocent, pulling at your heartstrings giggling? The one that makes you smile and laugh without your knowing? The one that starts with your lips goes all the way to your eyes and warms your heart? Priceless!
I’m 36, a mother of three and until today, 9.30 am, I did not realise that I have it all. Until 9.30 am, I was hassled, stressed and like every other woman who has delivered three children in the span of four years, struggling with my weight. I could go on and on about why my life is far from perfect, the dark circles under my eyes from waking up repeatedly at night to tuck one of my toddlers back to bed, my potty training struggles, my husband who just doesn’t understand, my work deadlines that I just can’t seem to meet, my shelved ambition to be a writer, I could go on…
So what happened? Well, I was as usual in my home office, I write articles for my husbands digital services company, when I chanced upon a very loud conversation between my au pair and my youngest, 20 month old Freny.
Merieke: “Oh Freny what did you do, naughty Freny, naughty!”
Freny: “I pretty, pretty!”
Merieke: “No, not pretty, naughty!”
Laughter all around….
Or an earlier incident when I dished up something exotic to entice my 2-½ yr. old to eat. She took one look at it and screamed, “Dangerous!”
How many women can boast of being able to work and still not miss out on the precious moments with their kids? I work and I probably should mention that as an aspiring writer, writing freelance articles is as good as it gets. My hours are anywhere between 6 to 10 hours a day, all subject to deadlines and my workload.
My husband who I constantly label as unsupportive is the one who gets me this fulfilling job and pays me for it! I get to spend this amount on anything I want, mostly clothes and toys for the kids that are not budgeted for, gifts for friends and family that my husband would consider excess. My kids of whom I never cease to complain about how they are demanding, taxing and the reason why I haven’t had a decent nights sleep for four year straight are the highlight of my day. The happiest moments of my life are centred on them, the day they were born, when they cuddled me and said they loved me or when they pass smart comments.
I have what most women wish they did and regret missing out on, time with my kids whilst still working (doing what I love!). I have never missed any of their firsts, so much so that I don’t even remember to log it or keep a digital keepsake; I take it so much for granted!
As far as my weight is concerned, that’s another story, I am a great cook and I love food! Not a good combination if you want to be skinny! As long as my husband finds me attractive, I really shouldn’t stress on it but I do because that’s what a woman of today does.
That’s what I realised today at 9.30 am, I have the best of both worlds, I am truly blessed, praise God, and yet I moan and I complain. Why? Who has implanted this picture of this unattainable perfect life that my already wonderful life doesn’t measure up to? Who wants perfect? If my kids were absolutely well behaved, always immaculately dressed (meaning actually coming home with the same number of clothing, shoes etc. they went out with!), and slept peacefully through the night; then where would the memories be? Actually, in hindsight I would like the sleep through the night bit!
It’s their idiosyncrasies, their strong will and personalities that make every moment so memorable. The house is filled with laughter on account of their adventures and quirky behaviour. I have a really hard time with my 2-½ year old but when I look at her I see myself at that age. Apart form being an exact copy of me, she is an amalgamation of the strong personalities she has inherited form both sides of the family. It makes me realise what a blessed opportunity I have in the moulding of someone who is poised to do something extraordinary in life.
I am a mom, when did moulding lives and shaping personalities become such a mundane task?
Yes, 9.30 am today was an eye opener that my life is wonderful, and I am truly blessed. No, I do not have a model figure (probably never will), my kids are an unruly bunch, my husband is not perfect (neither am I), we are not rich but we are happy! I read somewhere that happy was originally derived form the meaning ‘lucky’ and wealthy actually meant ‘wellbeing’; both of which I am. At 9.30 am I realised I was rich with happiness, works for me.
by Antonia Rapheal
My short bio