If I had to summarise the year 2014 in 3 words, it would be…
It’s been a year marked with many transitions – and therein lies all the challenge, from adapting, changing, learning, growing… and just learning to be. I went from being a part-time working mom to becoming a stay-at-home mom, and the decision to stop working completely in order to be home with the children was much more difficult than I had anticipated.
My husband (let’s call him H) and I agreed that we wanted at least one of us to spend both quality and quantity time with our children while they were still young. We chose not to send them for academic enrichment classes, but for me to provide them with what we believe would be enriching outside of school instead.
When I stopped working, it was as if, to me, I was giving up something that I felt had given me an identity apart from being a mother. I had to constantly remind myself that my value did not lie solely on whether I was employed, but that I carried value regardless of what I chose to do.
One month after I stopped working, I found out that I was pregnant with or third child. And then began the onset of terrible, almost debilitating, morning sickness.
While the children enjoyed having all of my time, I did spend quite a fair bit of time sick over the toilet, or being cooped up in bed. It was a struggle for me, and I’m really thankful for my husband’s unwavering support during this time.
Despite facing a really stressful season at work, he tried to work from home on some days. He went about picking up the ‘slack’ without complaint, doing the laundry, feeding the kids, cleaning the house and more.
There were times when I could not plan meals for the children, so H would try to help out with meals. To ease my worries, he enlisted the help of our neighbour and a couple of good friends to help me with meals on days that he couldn’t.
The arrival of #3 is a major transition for the entire family, so one thing we constantly try to do at home is to involve them in our pregnancy journey as much as possible.
To make the pregnancy relatable to the children, I communicate with them about what it’s like, and what I felt when both of them were in my tummy. We also teach them about anatomy, the baby’s different stages of growth, and bring them along for the doctor’s appointments as often as we can so that they get to ‘see’ their little brother.
In anticipation of the arrival of #3, we’ve been teaching our two children that it’s important to do things together – from playing to making decisions – and this involves a fair dose of conflict management as well.
It’s not always easy, but I’m glad the kids are open and willing to learn. It gives me great optimism about what’s to come.
2015 is going to be a significant and new chapter in our family, where we grow from just the 4 of us to a family of 5. I look forward to enjoying my entire family – husband, myself and my three children – and treasuring the moments I have together with them both as a family unit and with each of them individually.
We’ve also made a decision to be even more intentional with our children: to speak encouragement and discipline into their lives so that they can grow in confidence, discover their potential and build deep relationships with one another.
There are many things to look forward to in 2015, the top of which is family, and for that I am grateful.
Sue-Ann is a mother of two (with another on the way). She enjoys nothing better than daydreaming of new ways for her family to take the stress out of living busy city lives. Her children, Rainbow Sky and Chubs Salami – nicknames they gave themselves – are 7 and 4.