18 Things I Learned About Being A Mum / My Son’s 18th Birthday

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It was my son’s 18th birthday a few days ago. I can’t believe that, my tiny 5lb 5½oz newborn has grown into the wonderful young man he is today. It’s cliche to say “where has that time gone”, but honestly, where has that time gone? It truly does feel like yesterday!

I’m sharing 18 things I have learned about being a mum… so far!

1. Love at first sight is possible 
When he was 16 I shared his birth story, direct from the diaries I kept at the time. 17-2-99’s entry says
“… and said “oh look, we have a little boy!” and burst into tears. When I was first able to hold him, it was love at first sight.

2. Cuddles are the best
They’re never too old for cuddle! Liam would often co-sleep when he was a toddler, so I was woken with lots of those in the early years! When his dad and I split up, my boy co-slept again for a while, and there were extra cuddles. Even this morning, he came in and gave me a big cuddle, and told me how much he loves me. That, right there makes my whole motherhood.

3. I’m glad he wasn’t an “internet baby”
We did have the internet back when he was born, but nothing like it is today, with social media, blogs, and forums. I didn’t have to feel the pressure of being a mum, magnified a million times, thanks to keyboard warriors, or other mums that think they know best. How mothers today cope with that, I really don’t know.

4. Trust your instincts
They are there, use them. I’m lucky that I had my mum close by that I was able to call upon for advice when my boy was little, but more often than not, I had to trust myself that what I was doing was the right thing. I feel like in today’s internet age we worry so much what other people do with their kids, and what is right, we can forget to trust ourselves.

5. Becoming a single mum was the making of me
I wrote about this a few years ago, and it formed the life that we have now.

6. You can’t keep everything, but keep something
It used to seem like every day he would come home from school with a piece of artwork, or other project. Naturally you can’t keep everything, there just isn’t the room. But keep some of their childhood work – they will bring back memories for them, and for you one day.

7. Take lots of photos and back them up
I’ve always taken lots of photographs, and I’m so glad I did – so many little memories I had forgotten, but have been instantly reminded of through a picture. We take so many photos these days thanks to smartphones and digital photography. Those photos are precious – back them up – on an external hard drive, on a disc, on a USB stick, in the cloud. In the days where we don’t seem to print as many photos as we do take them, if you lose the digital negatives, they’re gone forever. I know the feeling when you’ve lost photos, it is actually heartbreaking.

8. And make sure you’re in the photos too
I know a lot of people don’t like having their photo taken, but make sure you’re in the photo with your child/ren. Hair crap? Make up not done? Look fat? Who actually cares? Your child certainly doesn’t!

9. Who cares if they’re wearing the same clothes again?
I’m popping this one in here, because I’ve noticed that he is wearing the same top on both his 6th and 7th birthdays. I must have bought the top twice, or he just didn’t grow that much in a year! I guess you could have called me a slummy mummy back in the day – if his clothes weren’t dirty, they’d get another day or two of wear out of them – I have no shame – saves excess laundry!

10. You can’t get that time back again
When people say childhood goes fast, cherish every moment, it sounds so cliche; but it’s true. Life rushes by, and before you know it they’re 18. I’m really struggling with him “suddenly” being a young adult. I wish I had done even more with him when he was younger… and now I can’t.

11. Your heart can swell with so much pride and love…
Milestone firsts, doing something on their own for the first time, awards in school…

12. Yet it can crumble and crack too.
When they say things to you out of frustration or anger. You know they don’t really mean it, but it breaks you.

13. That letting them go out on their own is harder than you will ever think possible
That first time he went to school on the bus on his own… oh the tears that fell from my eyes! You know that they have to fly on their own at some point, but it’s just so hard to see them do it without you!

14. It doesn’t get easier as they get older, it’s just a whole other level
I remember when he was a baby, and people would say “oh it’s much easier when they’re a bit older” , it isn’t. It is never easier as they get older. Every age brings a whole new set of challenges, and I’m learning all the time. He’s 18 now, so I have to learn how to be the mother of a young adult… I think this is going to be the toughest year yet for me.

15. Your heart breaks for them when they are rejected
Whatever the reason – big or small, you feel their rejection too. There have been some key moments, which I do not want to discus here, but it has made me wonder what he did to deserve that rejection.

16. That I always did the best that I could
I didn’t always have money to buy the latest things, but that boy never went without. I remember one year saving hard for Christmas, and being a hawk on eBay to get the toys he really wanted at a more affordable price than in the shops! I’ve got a little video of him opening them – he didn’t know any different, and was elated.

 

17. That it is possible to not have done everything “the right way” and your child grows up into a wonderful young man
Along the way I’ve been told it’s not the right thing to do x,y,z – but I did things MY way, and he’s turned out just fine ♥

18. That being a mum is the hardest job in the world, but the most rewarding one too.
And I wouldn’t change our lifetime together for the world.

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