Don’t worry, I know it’s not Thursday ;).
Typically I share my girl mom posts on Thursdays but tomorrow I have a pretty special announcement lined up. Morna was sweet enough to change dates and share her post today. I hope you love learning more about her life in Scotland and her girls.
Take it away Morna…
I applied to be part of the Girl Moms series several months ago when I was a new blogger. The series has been so popular that I’ve waited months to write this post. During this time I’ve read through lots of the other Girl Mom posts and I feel humbled. So many of the mothers in this series have overcome adversary of one type or another either to become a mother in the first place or in bringing up their kids. I feel so lucky to have what I have, and that it has come to me with relative ease.
My name is Morna and I live just outside Edinburgh, Scotland. I work full-time as a doctor and I am lucky to be a mother to my beautiful little girls Helen who is five and Sally who is four. I have been blogging over at Awesome Austerity
for around six months now. It started out as a money-saving blog and somehow morphed into a parenting and lifestyle blog with the odd bit of money-saving thrown in!
I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was around nine, but I’ve wanted to be a mother for my entire life, and I’ve always dreamed of having a little girl.
When I found out I was pregnant we decided not to find out what we were having. We wanted to experience the surprise. Thinking back I don’t know why I subjected myself to such trauma, perhaps it was so I could secretly keep hoping for a girl for a little longer. I spent my entire pregnancy convincing myself I was having a boy. By the time I went into labor I had given up on any idea of having a girl. I’d even bought some boy clothes in preparation for the arrival of ‘Little William’.
I still remember my first view of Helen, I thought the cord was a penis and it took me several seconds to realize that it was a little girl they had placed on my chest and not a little boy. I was over the moon.
When I fell pregnant again I didn’t even really dare to hope for another girl. I knew that all the dreams I’d had of having a little girl had been realized with Helen so I would be happy with whatever I got and I know if I’d had a boy I would have loved him just as much. I didn’t have a boy though, another precious little girl was placed on my chest, I felt like the luckiest woman alive.
What surprised me the most about the arrival of Sally into our lives was that despite her having the same chromosomal makeup as her sister she was completely different. Who knew two genetically similar little girls would be entirely opposite in almost every way? Where Helen is dreamy and thoughtful, living more in her own fantasy land than in the real world Sally is honest and stubborn, strong and athletic. Parenting Helen gave us no clues as to how to manage Sally!
The first couple of years of parenthood are just about keeping your child alive really. It’s exhausting often thankless work adjusting to the massive change in your circumstances and learning to put someone else’s needs before your own every single time. Then you get to the stage we’re at, the stage where your kids really start to develop as people and all of a sudden it’s your job to make sure they turn into decent human beings.
“Sisters do everything together”
I had an amazing childhood. My sister and I grew up on a small island off the West Coast of Scotland. We were part of a tight-knit community, living in a safe and nurturing environment. We played outside, swam in the sea and had our own ponies. We also had wonderful parents who we could talk to about everything and a mum who stayed at home to look after us until we were in secondary school.
I knew I wanted to give my children as wonderful a childhood as I enjoyed but it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. We moved to Colonsay from Edinburgh just before Sally was born but after a couple of years we moved back to the city.
“Sally playing on the beach on Colonsay”
Although I loved living on Colonsay as a child I didn’t enjoy it as an adult. I missed my career and my friends on the mainland and I could see that my children were missing out on certain things. Things like swimming lessons and ballet which have become important to them since we left Colonsay and which I longed to do as a child. Their social network on Colonsay was limited. Now they have so many school friends I can’t keep up with all their names. I can see that they have a good life living where we do. I’ve had to learn to accept that there can be more than one perfect childhood. Just because something was ideal for my parents doesn’t mean it is ideal for me. My children still spend a lot of time on Colonsay. Most of our holidays are spent there. They know so many people on the island and are definitely part of the community. But they are part of a separate community on the mainland too.
I try so hard to talk to my girls the way my parents spoke to me. As though they are sensible, sentient human beings whose opinions are worth seeking. I don’t always find it easy though. My parents are so patient – me less so. I feel so cross with myself sometimes when I grump at my girls, I work full-time and my time with them is precious. It’s not fair to spend that time being at cross with them because I’m tired or because the house isn’t tidy enough.
Because I work so much and because we have chosen to live on the mainland I sometimes feel that I should give in to every request and whim my children express. They should be having gymnastics and Highland dancing lessons along with the ballet and tap that they already have. They should be having piano and recorder and martial arts lessons, we should say yes to every play date and party invitation, to every request for new toys or sweets. Of course that’s not practical. I also want my girls to know that resources are finite. That sometimes you have to work for things and that ultimately you can’t have everything you want.
I’m so proud of my little girls. They are inquisitive, intelligent, kind and thoughtful. They both have amazing imaginations and they are learning to play together and forming a bond that I hope they will carry with them into adulthood.
I’m growing to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect childhood, nor a perfect parent. All we can do is our best. If we treat our children with love and respect, set them clear boundaries and appreciate their concerns then hopefully they will turn into happy young woman who look back as fondly on their childhood as I do mine.
Thank you so much Morna for sharing your story with us today. It was so fun to read about your life so many hours away from us in Scotland and be able to identify with you as a mother.
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