Some weeks back, I was telling my sister about how every time I call our parents, I had to be sure to have plenty of call credit, as the kids would insist on talking to each Grandparent. Even if all they say is “Fine” when asked “How are you?” or remind them to buy their birthday cake, (thank God, the birthdays for this year are over). We would spend sometimes 15 minutes or more talking. These are the same children, who, a few years ago, would not really care.
My sister has been on the receiving end of this situation more times than she can count. She is the superwoman, with whom they threaten themselves, and others. That got me thinking about how my maternal concerns change as the children grow. From the time when I knew I was pregnant, I worried about birthing healthy babies, to when they came out and the issue of feeding came up. The timing and what milk to give them, because at a time, I was not producing enough milk to satisfy both of them.
Then it came time to make the decision about weaning them. Should it be on their first birthday, or when they turned 18 months? Which was also the case with the younger twins, prompted mostly by the guilt of leaving them for work, when they were just four months old. Or maybe at the age of two? I never did cross 18 month mark, or else I just might have disappeared, because unlike some people, I lose a lot of weight when I’m breastfeeding.
Now, instead of thinking about when next I would have to buy diapers, I’m thinking of school shoes, school bags, uniforms and other school supplies. A whole new array of things to worry about.
This is a feeling that was shared by a fellow mum of three boys. She noted that her kids once accused her of buying diapers every time she goes outs. “I laughed and told them that, ‘before you people came, I used to spend my money on make-up, jewellery, clothes and food.'” And she indeed had a phobia for not having diapers in the house. At a time, she had two boys in diapers, so it was a necessity to keep buying these diapers.
For another mother, whose children are mostly teenagers and pre-teens, she recalled the days when she, in her job as a journalist, used to carry her son with her, when she covered events. Her colleagues still refer to the teenager as “Editor”, because he spent his early years in the newsroom.
“Now, what I worry about are school fees, school supplies and the ultimate unified matriculation examination, which my eldest child is writing soon.”
These are phases that we go through and don’t even realise it. Motherhood is like a bus ride, you get down at different bus stops but what (make that who) determines when you get on the bus again are the kids, and when you will get down at the next bus stop. So, I have tried to identify some of the bus stops below.
The pregnancy bus stop
While you determine the start of pregnancy consciousness or not (unconsciousness in my case, *covers face*), your babies more often determine when they come.
The pre-school bus stop
Now, they are not babies you can put in a corner and expect them to stay there. They move. They don’t call toddlers “terrible twos” for nothing. The kind of trouble they can get into at that age can baffle you. You are considering diapers, potty training and sleeping patterns, which can help a lot. When a child sleeps well, there will be fewer tantrums.
School bus stop
First of all, you would have visited different schools from your list of schools you would like your child to attend, before you settle on the ideal one for your child. Thereafter, you then deal with the demands and rules of the schools, socks have to be one embroidered with the school’s name, hats on all the time, and you can fill in the rest.
Then, the waking up early for the school run starts. Fixing breakfast, lunch and snacks becomes a daily routine with rests at the weekend. That is a journey that will last for a while. But it comes with changes every school session as they learn new things and they begin to ask more questions.
Examination tension bus stop
Although my kids are not old enough to understand exam tension, as they told me calmly recently that they would be starting their promotional examinations soon, I can just imagine what it will feel like, should my kids decide to read all night with the house lights on, as I did that to my parents. Or work on my old typewriter, with the noisy clang-cling able make one go crazy, but they accommodated it. They tried sha.
University admission stress bus stop
I can imagine that stress. My mother was stressed when I was trying to gain admission into the university, as I am her first child, and it was her first time of doing it. It was not a funny situation back then. I hope I will cope better when the time comes.
Marriage bus stop
Yayy! This one is celebration time. It might not favour my pockets but then, why have I been working? They can have part of their inheritance for the wedding ceremony. Of course, I won’t be telling them that. And the best part, I can have my home back for hubby and I. Just imagine what you could do with all that space. Hmm, but it’s a long way off.
I’m still mothering, but not just my kids but also grand kids. This is pure joy and another bus stop that will live in my head for a few decades more.
I did not add the bus stop where you have to answer all the questions on sexuality and be truthful; else someone will teach them outside. Why, you will be doing it alongside some of the other bus stops.
So happy bus riding, Moms (and future Moms). God speed to us all!
Oluwakemi is a member of The Fertile Chick family, and she is a writer, dreamer and mother of two sets of twins. She is passionate about issues that concern women, and does not shy away from airing her views. And words are her weapon of choice! She is reachable on her handle @oluwakemine