These four years of motherhood have brought me so much joy and fulfillment, as well as many tears and moments of angst. It is undeniably one of the most precious journeys any woman can take in life, and yet not one to be entered into lightly.

Mummy and child

No more personal space

Becoming a mother has meant giving up my personal space. Honestly, the words “open concept” take on new meaning when you have a baby or toddler around! There is hardly a moment to myself, as long as my children are awake. And so, their nap times are a precious commodity for me.

Make-up? What make-up?

I have no beauty regime to speak of now – there is no time! Or rather, there could be, but it is not a priority anymore. All my face gets is a good wash in the morning and the occasional mask. As for haircuts and putting on make-up – these are reserved for special events like wedding dinners.

Exotic holidays with Hubby? Not anytime soon…

Both my husband and I have had to put on hold those dreams of travelling to exotic locations for extended periods of time. At least for these early years, we have unanimously agreed not to travel overseas without the boys – anywhere we go, we have gone as a family. And so, these past few years, we have contented ourselves with long weekends spent around the region, in Batam, Bintan or Malaysia.

Sleep is a luxury.

One of the hardest things to let go off has been the lack of sleep – uninterrupted sleep, that is. For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I slept more than six hours in one stretch! Most nights, my husband and I clock in about 5-6 hours of total sleep – but this is rarely in one block of time, as our younger son doesn’t sleep through the night yet. It looks like our eye bags are here to stay for at least a couple more years.

My children are growing up. Real Fast.

mumy dining with child

Perhaps the greatest loss for me has been the moment-by-moment passing of time, moments which cannot be replayed or returned to. What do I mean by this?

Every day, I am conscious that my children are growing up. From the very first breath that they take, they are growing up, and away from me.

This might sound morbid or depressing initially, but I don’t mean it to be. Instead, it is a sobering thought that adds weight and richness to my every day. In the mundane duties of motherhood as well as the high points along the way, I am reminded that every second counts, and every day is precious.

Some nights, I sit by their beds for a while, watching them sleep. I marvel that these lithe young bodies once fit inside my womb. I am amazed at the things they have learnt in the past week. I breathe in their familiar scent and am grateful that the day has passed, the trials we have overcome, the joys it has brought.

My children are truly a gift to me, as are all our children, but if I’m not careful, this moment will pass in the blink of an eye. Memories made are precious, but they are ultimately, memories of the heart. We cannot relive these times, we are “losing time” daily.

And yet, at the end of the day, I have no complaints. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I wouldn’t exchange this journey of motherhood for all the wealth or fame or freedom in the world.

It is an honour and a privilege, and a great gift, to be a mother.

By Dorothea Chow.

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