I still remember very clearly the day my mother left after staying with me for two months following the birth of Giggles and Cuddles. It was a lovely day around mid-August, and I decided to take the girls out. We went for a stroll by the lake, and that day I just walked and walked and walked, only sitting down to rest for a bit and feed the girls, before resuming my walking until quite late in the day. It was the first time I was completely alone with the girls. I was panicking. I was anxious, and I just couldn’t face being alone at home with two helpless babies who were completely dependent on me.
That day I experienced another wave of the emotional roller coaster that mothers face all the time. Whether it’s the joy of being a new parent to healthy and happy twins, fear of the huge responsibility, excitement at each developmental milestone, disappointment in myself for not being the “perfect parent,” or anger at two defiant toddlers, these are some of the emotions that one experiences as a mother, sometimes even on the same day.
I have come to realize that these emotional ups and downs are inevitable, so I try not to be too hard on myself. We are human and we just cannot be overjoyed all the time. It is normal to be anxious and even angry at times, and it is OK to make mistakes. There really is no “perfect parent.” There are sunny days and there are gloomy days. But as long as there is a loving, supportive parent who is trying hard to bring up happy, confident, emotionally secure and successful children, that’s good enough.
One should not dwell on negative emotions. It is easy to get into a vicious circle of anxiety, anger and stress. Not only does that reflect on the children and their negative behavior, but it also robs us of the ability to fully experience and enjoy the happy times. It is important to remember that any phase that we are going through, no matter how difficult, will at some point come to an end. Just accept that these negative emotions are a normal part of being a parent, deal with the moment, and move on so you can really savor the delightful moments.
One way of dealing with the emotional and even the physical exhaustion is to try to take time out for oneself every once in a while. We all need to recharge our batteries to be able to go on. Meeting up with girlfriends, going to the movies, doing some sports, getting a haircut or even going out for a walk and a breath of fresh air always help.
Contrary to what one may think before having children, parenthood can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness, and even more so if you are living away from family and home. You get caught up in your daily routine and with the feeding, naps, bathing and bedtime schedule, and it can sometimes be difficult to plan activities, especially with friends whose children are at a different age and therefore have different schedules. However, nothing helps as much as being around mothers who can understand and relate to what you are going through. Talking about your worries and fears and exchanging experiences just make you realize that you are not alone. It helps you see things in the right light – that despite the lows, there are so many highs to celebrate, and that you are truly and utterly blessed to love and be loved unconditionally.
By Didi in Zurich
Didi is an Egyptian mother of twin girls living in Zurich. Before having the twins, she worked in the field of economic development. She is currently a stay-at-home mom focused on the growth and development of her daughters.
Illustration by Laura Munteanu
Laura has studied Journalism and Advertising, and has been working as a journalist and an illustrator. She has been illustrating for magazines, websites, charity and diverse campaigns. She lives in Zurich with her husband and six-year-old daughter.