Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments. Motherhood. An experience like no other.\u00a0 If someone were to ask me to describe what it is like, I would tell them that it\u2019s like a bed of roses\u2026.with thorns. Yeah, that\u2019s what I\u2019d tell them. On one hand, you get to experience so much love from your children. And the pride of seeing them grow from helpless tiny tots to the independent, responsible person they are today? That\u2019s just priceless.\u00a0 On the other hand, there\u2019s this voice inside your head that constantly asks: Are you doing the right thing for them? Are you pampering them too much? Are you being too strict or overprotective?\u00a0 I didn\u2019t always feel this way, though. I had a different vision of what motherhood was going to be like for me.\u00a0 I told myself I\u2019m going to be the Cool Mom Back when I had just gotten married, my husband and I would go on dates at the park, hang out at shopping malls, chill out in the cinemas and eat at a leisurely pace at our favourite restaurants.\u00a0 Often, we would see kids running around, screaming joyfully as they ran at breakneck speed from their parents ( it felt like they had just been set free from prison).\u00a0 I\u2019d see parents calling out warnings, \u201cDon\u2019t run! You\u2019re going to fall!\u201d; threats, \u201cCome back here or I\u2019ll spank you!\u201d; and bribes,\u201d If you stop running I\u2019ll buy you ice-cream!\u201d At this, I\u2019d tut tut and tell myself, \u201cWhen I have kids, I\u2019m just going to chill and let them run about. Let them fall, it\u2019s okay, a cut and bruise won\u2019t kill them.\u201d I particularly recall seeing a child throwing a tantrum one day. He plonked himself onto the floor right smack in the middle of an H&M outlet and cried his lungs out.\u00a0 You\u2019d have thought he was being tortured or something. And the mom was just standing there looking down at him wordlessly while the dad zoned out and starting playing with his phone.\u00a0 I had told myself then that my kids would NEVER do that.\u00a0 Famous last words. Now, I second-guess my every decision as a parent. My firstborn was the cutest baby. But then again, every mother says the same thing.\u00a0 He was perfect in every way, except for one thing: He cried a lot. He cried even more when his sister was born.\u00a0 I remember very clearly the day I brought his sister back from the hospital after giving birth to her.\u00a0 My firstborn, then only 3, had been deprived of a mother's attention for the past few days. He wanted me to play with him, but I had to feed my daughter, so I told him that he had to play by himself first.\u00a0 His face fell and he quietly went to his room. Then, thinking no one could hear him, he said (rather loudly) to himself, \u201cSince mummy doesn\u2019t want me anymore, I won\u2019t like her anymore too.\u201d\u00a0 Such innocent words. And yet, those very words broke my heart. At that moment, I felt like such a failure. Did I do the right thing by having another child? Would he grow up neglected? To make up for this, we indulged in buying him toys.\u00a0 And now, at 6 years old, his room is filled with so many toys he sometimes doesn\u2019t even remember what they are.\u00a0 There lies the crux of another problem. Are we spoiling him too much? What if he doesn\u2019t learn to appreciate what he has? To save money, we would give the toys that he\u2019s outgrown to his sister. But then I would think, would she feel that we love her less with these hand-me-downs? I\u2019d end up going to buy a more girly toy for the sister just to make up for the guilt.\u00a0 On days when the weather is good, we let the kids out to play. There the siblings run and race with their friends.\u00a0 And this time, I am the one who runs after them, shouting threats and bribes for fear they might fall and break their little bones.\u00a0 Clich\u00e9, isn\u2019t it? What happened to the chilled out mom that I was meant to be? The logical part of my brain screams, \u2018They can withstand a little pain. Cuts and bruises are parts and parcel of growing up!\u2019, but my heart counters, \u2018But they\u2019re still so small! They need to be protected!\u2019\u00a0 In the end, the heart always wins. I blame it on my maternal instinct.\u00a0 I had sworn never to spank my children. There are countless other methods to discipline your children.\u00a0 There\u2019s the time-out method where kids stare at the wall and reflect on their wrongdoings (mine think that it\u2019s a game).\u00a0 There\u2019s the \u2018talk it out with your kids\u2019 method where you treat them as adults, (these work but only sometimes).\u00a0 And finally, there\u2019s the Asian parenting method, spanking. Of all these methods, I\u2019ve resorted to spanking the most. I\u2019m not proud of this method. I hate that I am unable to discipline them without making them feel physical pain.\u00a0 I would try reasoning with them first and when that fails, my blood would start to boil. It takes a lot of patience to talk sense into kids. Then I would warn them that if they did not obey, spanking would ensue. The threat of \u2018the hand\u2019 normally works. But once in a while, it doesn\u2019t. The spanking probably started when my son turned 5 years old. Up to that point, I had never spanked either of my kids.\u00a0 One night, my son refused to clean up his toys before bed time. He still wanted to play. So I set a timer and told him that once the time was up, he had to start keeping his toys. He agreed and off I went to do something else.\u00a0 Perhaps I should have stayed with him and encouraged him to keep his toys instead, because 10 minutes later, the timer didn\u2019t stop. He had secretly reset the timer so the alarm wouldn\u2019t go off.\u00a0 I was not amused and asked him if he had tampered with the timer. He refused to tell the truth. Now that I think back, it\u2019s funny how simple a child\u2019s mind works.\u00a0 He had thought that time was controlled wholly by the timer, and that by changing the settings, he would be able to gain more time to play. I spanked him in the end and he cried like there was no tomorrow. He\u2019s not lied to me since. Or at least I think he hasn\u2019t. Heh.\u00a0 Don\u2019t get me wrong. My kids can be sweet and caring. On days when I am tired, my firstborn will massage my shoulders while my youngest will pour me a cup of drink.\u00a0 They will come and whisper sweet nothings in my ear and go tidy up their rooms. Sometimes, the brother even tries to bathe his sister and read her stories.\u00a0 On days like these, I feel the happiest and tell myself, we\u2019re doing alright. Over the years, I've learnt that being a parent is no walk in the park. Motherhood is a physically,\u00a0 mentally and emotionally draining journey.\u00a0 You constantly give and give and yet, it never seems to be enough.\u00a0 But when we see the joy on our children\u2019s faces, their smiles and laughter, that\u2019s when we know, deep down inside that this is all worth it. Deep down inside, we know that motherhood is truly a beautiful thing.\u00a0 For more stories like this, read: A Mother\u2019s Dilemma: Should I Stay Home and Care for The Baby or Go Back to Work? and Millennial Motherhood: Here\u2019s What It\u2019s like Being a Malaysian Mom Today. If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook & Instagram.