Let me begin by saying, motherhood is beautiful. It is the most heart-warming and rewarding thing I have ever done. I am eternally grateful for my boys; and just as grateful for my village. But motherhood also has its challenges, and I must admit, when I came across the above quote as a meme on Facebook recently, I laughed out loud. A support network is a most wonderful blessing - but sometimes, you really do need that glass (or two) of wine.
An avid book lover, I attempted, during my first pregnancy, to zero in on a reasonable number of books that would help me prepare for the task ahead. I thumbed through ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ eagerly; I poured over Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)’ every night before bed (and thanks to my pregnancy insomnia, in the middle of the night too). I purchased ‘The Wonder Weeks’ and displayed it proudly on my bedside table, ready for when baby was born and due to go through his first ‘leap’ (which is actually not until four or five weeks post due date).
But there is, of course, a big difference between reading about parenthood, and experiencing it. My first son was born just weeks before Covid reared its ugly head in Malta - a story for another day - and all things considered, motherhood hit me like a tidal wave. It calmed down eventually, as waves tend to do, and I’ve found, as time goes by, that it gets easier. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a seasoned mother. I am very new to all this. I only have a one-year-old and a three-year-old (and some days, it’s all about keeping them both alive). I’ve often asked mothers of older children about this, whether it gets even better as more time goes by, and I am mostly told - much to my chagrin - that it doesn’t. But I still dare to hope that in many ways, it does. I am a lawyer by profession, and in my line of work, no assertion is valid unless it is supported by evidence: in this case, the majority of the witnesses attest differently, but I have three opposing corroborations of my own.
Firstly, time begets acceptance. Life changes when you have children, and while it might take a while to truly adjust to new responsibilities and routines, it does happen eventually, even earlier on in motherhood.
Secondly, you get better at it. You get better at running on little sleep and a truckload of coffee; you get better at handling tantrums, at leaving the house in under an hour with two clean and well-dressed toddlers, at juggling work and personal life commitments, at making time for yourself and your partner. You get better at dealing with the stressful aspects of it all; at living with, or even, I dare say, ignoring the pressure society throws at you from time to time.
Thirdly, and finally, I firmly believe that parenthood has vast potential to teach us - amongst other things - about patience, selflessness and courage. Raising little people and shaping little hearts and minds takes a great deal of patience, a whole load of selflessness, and a good dose of courage.
Thus, I argue herein: if you accept that life has changed, and you get better at this new way of living, then it automatically becomes easier, even if the responsibilities don’t lessen, the to-do lists remain there and endless, and worry persists as a constant companion. Life changes with children, but you change too: and especially in this, I truly feel that motherhood (even if accompanied by that mandatory glass of wine or two!) has made, and continues to make, me a much better person.
By Roxanne Meilak Borg
Roxanne Meilak Borg is a lawyer by profession, a wife and a mother of two young boys, and a lover of words. She writes opinion pieces, and stories in poetry and prose on her blog, A Love for Stories, and on Instagram .