First of all, I can go no further without telling you that motherhood, however hard, trying, exhausting, exasperating it may be: Motherhood, is a beautiful journey.
You forget the bad bits, the pain, the tiredness, the insanity. All of that, it passes. What never passes, is the love and beauty, the hope and joy you have in and of your children.
The frustrations of yet another seemingly fruitless day, fade into a distant memory with one slavery kiss, one grammatically incorrect, mispronounced word, one unexpected, unprovoked cuddle. There are many teeny tiny moments, fractions of moments in fact, seemingly insignificant moments, that is seemingly insignificant, to the untrained eye the, that wipe clean every ounce of feeling like one has spent the day bashing one’s head against a brick wall… All of that nonsense, you forget it.
The boundaries that were demolished as your heart swelled with new love, eternal love, well they will never be rebuilt: Your heart will never shrink back to its previous pre-motherhood heart size. Neither may your tummy or your breasts, but those changes, as hard as they sometimes are to like, or to love even, they are proof of your journey: evidence, a memory that your body once held within it, another being (mine is especially overstretched and wibbly wobbly for I grew my second and third children at the same time).
Secondly, the reason I had to state firstly, that motherhood is a beauty full journey, is because of mother’s guilt. You will never live another day in your life without some sort of guilt or another creeping up on you, niggling in the back of your mind, that somewhere, somehow, something is your fault, that you in someway failed your child /children, that some how, you let them down, that you could have avoided that tantrum, meltdown, tumble, scraped knee, bomped head, bitten lip, illness…. If only you, that not-quite-good-enough-mam did something differently.
And I tell ya, what nonsense.
As a mamma with still tiny and not so tiny tots, guilt, no matter how much you are doing right, no matter how much you love, support, nourish, care for your kids, no matter how much of you, you sacrifice, no matter how much you choose them; their needs, their health, their happiness, their activities over your own, that mother’s guilt is there. Ready to make you defensive, over protective, seemingly irrational at times, ready to keep you awake at night (as if you need an additional reason to stay awake at night, on top of feeding, crying, waking, wriggly, squiggly little bubs). It’s there to grey your hair prematurely, to make you question your complete and utter worthiness/worthlessness.
I even feel mother’s guilt for writing this, for writing these words: Motherhood is HARD! Raising my children is STRESS FULL! Sometimes my oh so beautiful, purer than pure, delightfully precious, mini me behaves like a beast, a complete and utter little sh*t!!!! And mostly, I DETEST PLAYING WITH BARBIES!!!!!! Ha ha. There I said it!!! And of course I’m consumed with guilt and immediately consider erasing these words and writing endless compliments about my little. Describing her best qualities, portraying her beautiful soul and her wonderful imaginative little self, and obviously I may have grown to detest the barbies, but I love the play with my child, that is not what is in question, I’m just sick to frickin death of the barbies!!! And despite all of her beautifulness, her creativeness, her endless imagination, her learning how to cope with the ups and downs of life and all it has to throw at you: I am not a saint, I do not have infinite patience, I’m not trained in child care, nor am I a trained psychologist/psychotherapist. So sometimes I draw a blank in how to gently deal with the ten millionth meltdown of the day (and that’s just before breakfast).
But our journey into motherhood, and for my daughter, her journey into being, has been a hard one, due to unconscious choices to have a relationship with firstly her father, and then, with my friend, with a ten year long love story: the man I thought to be my soul mate, my truest love, baby two and three’s dad. But they ended up not only letting themselves down and letting me down, but letting the children down too. They turned out to be the kind of people who, when it really came down to it, only knew how to live in pain, their pain, while creating pain for others in an attempt to live out their negative assumptions and beliefs of what life is. They allowed me to repeat unresolved pain patterns, repeat history and repeat inherited pain: Family pain, cultural pain, gender pain, THEIR pain. Pain that wasn’t mine, and hopefully pain that will not become my children’s: through conscious parenting. Through consciously changing and learning from the mistakes that got us here. Mistakes that may not have been made by me, but none the less, mistakes that meant this mam, this mam is a mam and a dad to her brood- so completely and utterly , so as to undo the unconscious pain their dad could have passed our way.
Our first step on this journey was an escape from a narcissistic male. Then my twins’ end of pregnancy, birth and start of life made more difficult by an unwilling, unable, absent father: Both unconscious fathers. What should have been a glorious new family, became a tight closed unit, surviving a deep betrayal, surviving broken hearts and a mother and daughter surviving the early days of finding your feet with twins, without that extra pair of hands, hands to hold, hands to help, hands to share leading the way. Instead of being a partner I became mother and father to three beautiful children!
I remember the moment I found out I was carrying my first child, having already broken free from her father, I felt a strength permeate my every cell, I felt the love of this new unknown being wash through my heart, mind, body and soul and wipe away every fear, every insecurity, every doubt that I ever had about my ability to have or create a beautiful life for myself or any possible children I may have. I felt all of the damage of my ex dissipate , I cut my ties with his pain and felt myself leap wholeheartedly into motherhood. And at that very terrifying moment, teetering on the edge of the unknown, staring into the abyss of parenthood, I was reborn: a MOTHER. And she would sacrifice life and limb for her child, and she would, out of the sheer beauty of growing another person, try so completely to let go of past pains, past patterns, and start afresh, to grow her child/children in wholeness. To choose for them, ways of living that would nourish their souls, so that they could grow in love and live a life, worthy of the most deserving person.
And with that great revelation, from that rebirth, here I am, 4 and a half years later, 3 kiddles down the line (one glorious singleton and a pair of matching twinkles), two broken hearts (of a mother and her toddler) from an epically failed relationship. Struggling with the almost impossible task of raising these children with not one single aspect of support or care from “dad”. Trying not only to JUST manage, or to JUST survive these almost impossible days, but to create beautiful days, beautiful shared times, a wholesome space for my littles to thrive in; to remain whole in, to gain strength in so they can navigate the storms of life and bask in the beauty and miracle of being. So they can grow knowing, having no doubt that they are worthy of and deserving of unconditional love, of unconditional happiness and also that they are capable of giving these things too. I’ll be damned if I let the seemingly impossible impossibleness of the situation get in the way of this.
My greying, balding head, my ticking eye, my decision to ask for help, my realisation that change is needed, my acceptance that for now I may just have to play barbies at least 10 hours a day, to help navigate my toddler through these tough times… All of these points, they aren’t my weaknesses, they are not a weak mother, deserving the guilt she carries on her shoulders, they are a deep primal strength, that comes from mothering, being a mother, growing in motherness. Everyone says “this too will pass” “it will get easier” but its the surviving the tough bits in the meantime that’s the trick – for it to pass, I need to first survive it.
And survival for me: It’s the ability to accept on the deepest of levels every hardship that is dealt your way, it’s the ability to realise and fully accept with a deep breath and with love in your heart, that its not always going to be hard and it’s not always going to be easy, even if you are doing things right, because in life their are so many variables, there’s the goodness that other people bring and then there’s the difficulties that are caused by others. There’s the natural ups and downs, and ebb and flow of life, there’s HORMONES, there’s the seasons, there’s financial restrictions, there’s natural resources… A family unit, whether parented by one or both parents, whatever form that family unit comes in, it doesn’t stand alone from the rest of life, you just have to ride that wave, with faith in yourself, faith in your children and love in your heart. And if it is all feeling too much and nothing seems to be working, look to those around you, and get a different perspective, some fresh eyes can offer you an insight you missed, when you are so tightly bound to your little, when you are so deep within the bigger picture that you can only see the brush strokes of the little picture. And trust your mothering instinct, and thank your mother’s guilt for pushing you to strive ever onwards, but don’t let it weigh you down. And if you are forced to play with barbies every minute, every hour of the day, even though it causes so much frustration in you, that you want to snap its arms off (Barbie’s arms, not your child’s) and run away. See the beauty in your child’s love of that plastic doll and relish the image of her, fresh out of bed: Sleepy eyed, scraggy bed haired, tatty night vest and knickers on, barbies and accessories in hand, standing at the bedroom door, barely out of dreamland asking “mam, do you want to be Elsa and I’ll be Rapunzel?” And bask in the complete and utter heart melting beauty of your little babe and her love of barbies and her love of playing with you and surrender to the reality that you may have had expectations of how your child would behave; what toys they would play with, what their favourite colour would be, how they would dress, but how they actually are, that’s even more beautiful than any preconceived notion of the child you thought you’d raise, because however they are, they are themselves: Honour them.
And realise that every emotional outburst, every tantrum, growl, snarl, squawk, shout, cry is as vital and beautiful as the cuddles, kisses and calm moments. Your little being is on a learning process and life isn’t easy and even as adults we misplace our emotions, we project onto others or we completely misread or distrust ourselves and in the cases of some, we royally f*ck up and miss the opportunity to live in love and happiness because we can’t see past our own selfish indulgences. So how can we expect our littles to sail smoothly through life, weathering its storms with grace and dignity when we as adults rarely manage to do that ourselves.
Mother, give yourself a break, cos who knows when your child will give you one ;-P
I don’t quite know what this post was about, I don’t even know if it makes any sense. What I do know, is that I have just survived the toughest couple of weeks of motherhood, of my whole life, to date. But it’s all worth it, because I brought these children into being, and I owe it to them to give them my all (with maybe 5 minutes a day of mamma time, no scratch that, of Jennifer time, even if it is only to drink a cuppa on the back step and look at the sky, or to look at photos of the kiddies or re-watch that video I made of them earlier).
I don’t know what my point is, but keep going mamma, cos however tough it is, motherhood is a sisterhood and we all go through it and we all have our survival techniques and our battle scars, and if you open up to each other, there’s a huge collective resource of strength and support and you’ll quickly realise that everyone has similar hopes, doubts and fears, and everyone is secretly winging it. And with every new child comes new challenges, and really, we are all just a bunch of over grown children fumbling around in the dark, unknown of parenthood, feeling out of our depth and trying to seem grown up to our littles, in order to fool them into growing up too!!
Sleep deprived insane rambling rant over!