When it was 2am and I’d not had any sleep yet for the fifth night in a row, there you were.
When it was 6pm and they’d both refused their dinner and watched TV instead, there you were.
When it 10am and we’d missed playgroup because of tantrums and I couldn’t get the timing right to leave the house, there you were.
You were the commenter on this blog who made me realise we all fed our children chocolate spread on toast for dinner sometimes.
You were my best friend who poured me a wine at 4pm and assured me that everyone, looking at their two screaming children, just wanted to cry sometimes.
You were on Skype, promising me that no-one was judging the mother who was using the television as her babysitter sometimes.
And when I told the story about how Jasmin was sick in the car and I had to carry her round the shops naked, there you all were.
And when I told the story about how I forget my friends’ birthdays these days, there you all were.
And when I stamped my feet and said I’d had enough and I couldn’t do it anymore because it was too hard, there you all were – thank goodness.
It’s not just me, is it then? That felt once like it was hard to see through the sleep-deprived haze, that stared at her crying children and wondered how to make everything better, that wondered how it was going to be possible to get up in the morning and do it all again…
It’s not just me, is it then? Who can now look back with clarity on those damn hard few months of life with two babies while we all learnt about being a new family. It’s not just me who appreciated so greatly those precious moments of laughter and cuddles and straightforward happiness while knowing that tomorrow might be tough again.
Up. Down. Up. Again. This is motherhood.
Tonight, when my children ate their plain, buttery spaghetti (no veg, no meat, no fish) for dinner in front of the TV and I sang along to the theme tune of Topsy and Tim, there you were. All of you, with the tele on in the background, cooking dinner with a wine in your hand, while the kids ate their unbalanced meals in front of the screen, singing along to children’s TV – there you were with me.
Thank you for telling me you were singing the words too. Thank you for reaching out to tell me that you know them so well because they are the soundtrack to your new life too. Thank you for telling me you also sing the Wheels on the Bus when you drive somewhere alone. Thank you for telling me you point at buses and exclaim ‘bus’ when you walk to the shops. Thank you for telling me you hide in the toilet with the door shut for longer than necessary because it is a little space to yourself, briefly. Thank you for telling me you haven’t washed your hair yet this week.
We all have those moments, you showed me, that we’re not proud of. We all have those hours that are hard. And we are all, also, the luckiest people in the world because we know a happiness like no other. We know what it is to love no matter what and to be beloved without conditions. There you were, helping me to see that.
We are mothers, we can do this together.