My motherhood by Mary van der Westhuizen

As one of eleven children with a mother who has saintly patience and who remained unruffled and serene at all times as she looked after her large brood, I thought motherhood would be a walk in the park. I pictured a simple, happy life full of giggles, adoring smiles and lots of fun and games. I have in fact found my motherhood quite different.  It is indeed full of joy, laughter and cuddles and brings me huge fulfilment. It has however also been the most challenging role I have ever undertaken…


My patience has been tested over and over. I’ve often failed. It is a huge responsibility, the weight of which sometimes overwhelms me. And yet it’s funny how it is my children who have actually helped me through these often trying times: they don’t seem to mind that I fail and they don’t bear a grudge. Their innocence and unwavering trust instil in me the confidence to believe that I’m the right woman for the job.


My children have taught me so much more than I ever thought possible: about myself and my limitations; how to look at the beauty of the world with fresh enthusiasm; how to love and laugh with abandon; how to just be. Life as a City lawyer and the running of a new business both demand that I am in three places at once. My children simply demand that I am present with them. Now. In the moment. There is no time for iphones, emails or newspapers speaking of the past or the future. My children have given me the most precious gift of the present, just being with them and enjoying each of them and their individual little souls. The gift of life.


Mary lives with her brood Claudia, 4.5 yrs, Ottilie 2, Alicia 10 months and is also the clever co-creator of lulubaby.

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