It's Mother's Day on Sunday here in the UK.
Part of me wanted to write a letter to my own mum, thanking her for being such a wonderful, strong role model. The other part of me wanted to write about the harsh realities that being a mum entails.
I've never been great at making decision, so I'm going to do both!
Just this week I decided to take my kids out after school to get them cake. As a Nutritional Advisor, I rarely do this. I did it on a whim and wanted a fun break from the norm. I ended up spending 20 minutes waiting for my middle child to choose a cake. He gets his decision making skills from me. Meanwhile, my youngest and eldest were getting bored. They started to play 'tig' inside the shop. Luckily it was quiet and we were the only ones in there, but it was still embarrassing.
When my middle child finally chose his cake, the assistant looked at me with pity. She said: "That was more difficult than it was meant to be. That's why I don't have kids."
It got me thinking. Having kids is tough.
When my eldest was being bullied I was hit, kicked and screamed at on a daily basis, as he did his best to process what was going on at school. I cried, I wondered how I could get my happy boy back and I prayed for a solution to get him through it.
I had three kids in the space of three and a half years.
My kids - image author's own
I remember having all three screaming at me when I was just desperate for sleep. I wore fleece tops every day so that I could just wipe away the snot, sick or food that had been put on it. I regularly survived on two hours of sleep and only just managed to keep a smile on my face. Even today, I stay up until midnight cleaning the house when the kids are asleep and it's trashed by 9 am the next morning.
I spend time picking everything up, helping with homework, cooking, cleaning, washing, putting stuff away and nagging - to get the kids to bed at a half decent time, then again to get them up for school the next day. I deal with their emotions as they come out of school and they dump whatever feelings they've been bottling up on my lap.
I'm happy being a mum. I wouldn't swap it for the world, but there are still days I cry!
But that's what being a mum is. It's loving unconditionally. It's seeing the best in your kids no matter what they do to you, it's taking care of them, helping them and enabling them to find out who they are. It's getting on with things without thanks or appreciation. It's being a solid foundation, even when you think no-one is listening to you.
I get it now.
I've also learned that to be a great mum, you need to put yourself and your happiness first. When you don't, things can fall apart. It's so important to take the time out to rest and have fun. The washing and cleaning will always be there. Your kids won't.
My mum often says she actually misses me and my brother arguing. We've both got families of our own now. She looks back at the so-called 'hard times' with fond memories. That's why the motto that gets me through my tough times is 'this too shall pass'. I say it when the kids are fighting or refusing to go to sleep. I also remind myself of it when I'm snuggled up reading my children bedtime stories.
Our lives are going by so fast. We don't know what tomorrow will bring.
So, know that 'this too shall pass' and be kind to yourself, especially on Mother's Day. You're doing a great job. You are good enough. Do something that you love to do and give your kids extra cuddles.
And to my mum, I say thank you.
My mum - image author's own
Thank you for putting up with my cheekiness, my stubbornness and my refusal to go to bed! Thank you for all the cleaning, cooking and washing you did. Thank you for all of the cuddles you've given me. Thank you for the unconditional love you gave me and still give me today.
You do your best and I think you're doing a great job. I know that I am loved and you've always encouraged me to be me.
I am one lucky girl and I love you lots.
Jaelithe helps teenage girls and mums know it's good to be them. Follow her on Facebook.
She's also running a Kickstarter campaign to print and donate her latest book, 'The Happy Teenager: Fun Book' to help teenage girls have more confidence, self esteem and self worth. You can support her campaign here.