Those little bundles of joy don't come with an instruction manual. They bawl for food and attention every four hours or whenever we look too peaceful. They spit our carefully prepared healthy food right back at us, (note to Jamie Oliver, ALL mums have food processers gathering dust in the back of a cupboard) in favour of Captain Birdseye and Heinz.
We watch with a mixture of fear and glee as they take their first wobbly steps and childproof every cupboard and sharp corner, only to see them tumble over their own shadows. We feel their pain.
We cry when we drop them off for their first day at school in their smart, clean uniforms, holding back our tears until we have given their little faces one last scrub with a spit covered tissue, a hug that never wants to let go, and then wave as we watch them disappear into the school gates and the big wide world.
Our hearts burst with pride at their joy and achievements, and breaks quietly at their losses and disappointments. We chuckle at their stories and feel murderous towards anyone who hurts them. We feel their pain.
They make us mad, they make us sad. After they come along, we have photographs in our purses where our money used to be, and we torture ourselves with guilt for not making them eat more vegetables or sending them to school with an unironed shirt with a jumper over it. Mothering is all about the guilt.
But today we can look back and smile at the memories, because we know they love us too.