This is motherhood

It’s the little things that get me.

The crumbs of toast which seem to be forever smeared around the shoulders of my Tshirts.

The constant game of trying to cram toys into boxes which are too small for our too many plastic belongings.

The folding and putting away of tiny items of laundry, every single day.

The throwing away of meals which I’ve dutifully followed recipes for and filled the freezer with – but neither child will eat them.

The constant repetition of the same instructions to a toddler who still won’t put his shoes on or pull his trousers up or put his toys away in boxes which are too small.

The biscuit crumbs which are  being trodden into the carpet.

The folding of the buggy and lifting it into the boot, the lifting of two small children into their car seats. Getting the buggy and the children out. Again. Strapping them in, unstrapping them, negotiating the buckles while fighting the wriggles. Again.

The endlessly cheery jingles on Cbeebies and the theme tune to Topsy and Tim which we watch on the iPad at least three times every day.

It’s the little things that get me. And it’s also the feelings that don’t go away.

There is the guilt that I don’t spend enough time just having fun with either of them.

There is the soul-destroying fear that I’ve let them down and am not good enough.

There is the worry that I’m making this up as I go along, but I’m getting it all wrong.

It’s the little things that get me.

It’s that I can’t go to playgroups anymore because I don’t want to make small talk about weaning.

It’s the stranger in the supermarket who tells me a story about how old their child was when they learnt to crawl.

It’s the exhaustion of holding the pieces together all day. It’s the fatigue that comes with letting go of the smile when they’re finally asleep. It’s the tiredness that grows out of not letting the cracks show.

It’s the little things that get me.

We all have them, don’t we?

The little things that make us want to hide in bed for a month. The little things that make us want to throw the half-eaten bowl of porridge across the kitchen and at the wall.

I don’t think there will ever be a way to stop the little things from getting me.

All I can do is try to wrap myself up in the big things more often. What are these? These are that we are all healthy. We are happy most of the time. We have each other. Always.

Sometimes it feels like the cracks are growing across the surface of our lives, creeping slowly into the foundations and threatening to force a crumbling. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have a firm hold on all the pieces and if I lose my focus, they’ll fall apart. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to wear the smile anymore.

And then the children laugh, or they smile, or they stretch their arms out to be held, or they do something new, or something that only they can do. Then someone tells me something that reminds me the little things get to us all. We can do this together if we want to. With other mothers, fathers, friends, lovers – we needn’t do it alone.

This is motherhood. The standing on Lego, the throwing rejected home-cooked meals in the bin, the constantly scrubbing the carpet of baby sick, the utter exhaustion, the realisation of what is important after all and the knowing you really wouldn’t want anything else. Yes, the little things get to me. That’s life. They’re only little things. The big things are the ones that are important. To them, I’m trying to hold on tight.

The woman in the mirror

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19 Comments on This is motherhood

  1. Leigh Kendall
    July 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm (3 years ago)

    Lovely post. Hold on tight to all those special moments xxx

    Reply
  2. Kgomotso
    July 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm (3 years ago)

    I loved this post! For me the biggest challange is to always remember the big things and not hold on to the little things so much. Thanks for articulating so well what most moms think x

    Reply
  3. Kgomotso
    July 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm (3 years ago)

    I loved this post! For me the biggest challenge is to always remember the big things and not hold on to the little things so much. Thanks for articulating so well what most moms think x

    Reply
  4. Hurrah For Gin
    July 13, 2014 at 10:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh me too Kiran! Its bloody hard but the big things do make it worth it. Am actually just writing a post about baby milestones too ;) x

    Reply
  5. Donna
    July 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful post. Motherhood is hard. Trying to keep all the plates spinning and just do the basics is hard enough – Keep the kids alive, feed everyone, get the washing done. I have no idea how people do much else and manage to keep smiling. Some days are sh*t and some days I want to cry. Then there are others where Little Man will crawl over to me, pull himself up on my trousers and stand burrowing his head in my thigh, giving me a cuddle. The days where LP will ask me to lay with her at bed time, will give me a kiss and say ‘Sweet Dreams’. We’re all healthy too, we have a roof over our heads and there’s food on the table. Life could be a lot worse but some days are hard. Other days are just perfect x

    Reply
  6. Sarah MumofThree World
    July 14, 2014 at 8:55 am (3 years ago)

    Beautifully written post and I can totally relate! Much as I love my kids, for so long motherhood felt like a long hard slog of repetitive chores, with very little time for enjoyment in between. (And I never once went to any sort if toddler group because I couldn’t bear the thought of all that mum chat!)

    Reply
  7. @SarahAnneDG
    July 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm (3 years ago)

    What an accurate and honest description of motherhood. I think every mother can relate to this, but not every mother can put it into words. Hold on to those big things, I know I need to do that too.

    Reply
  8. Emma T
    July 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I obviously have no heart. I just do no housework, so whenever I’m at home for a decent amount of time I try and go out with N somewhere. Mainly because I get cabin fever (and feel obliged to do housework), but also to avoid him just playing outside while I’m on the laptop. Now though, he’s getting older and can go out with his dad on the farm, which I hate as I want to spend weekends with him because I’m at work during the week.

    Generally though, I don’t worry about feeling guilty. Because I know that N’s happy, he has a great life, has lots of family round him. Ok so I work full time, but I’d be a terrible mother if I was at home all the time. The main thing is feeling bad for N because the OH works all the time. 7 days a week, and never comes on holiday with us. It’s not something I can do anything about, but I do think the OH should feel bad about this, as he’s an empty space in photos, and hasn’t experienced half the stuff that we’ve done. I missed out on my dad as he died when I was 4, but N’s missing out when his dad is actually there.

    Reply
  9. Helen
    July 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm (3 years ago)

    Fabulous post… I feel exactly the same, especially the binned meals and carpet scrubbing!! Xx

    Reply
  10. Stacey Guilliatt
    July 14, 2014 at 11:10 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh I totally relate. I had an awful morning but looked at the bigger picture this afternoon and had a lovely time. It’s the big things that matter most x

    Reply
  11. Katie @mummydaddyme
    July 16, 2014 at 7:24 am (3 years ago)

    This is a beautiful post Kiran and I was nodding along like I wrote it myself. Motherhood is amazing, and I am so thankful, but it is definitely not plain sailing. x

    Reply
  12. Anna
    July 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm (3 years ago)

    I can really identify with this – I wasn’t a big fan of routine before I had children and they introduce so much of it. There are days when I wish I never had to hang another babygro on the line again or herd anymore toddler-strewn toys, clothes and randomness back to their respective places, but then sometimes I’m pegging out yet another load of washing and it’s sunny, the big girl is whizzing around on her bike and the little one is watching contentedly from her bouncy chair and I think: this isn’t drudgery, it’s a sign of love. And there’s noone I’d rather do it for.

    Reply
  13. mummytries
    July 17, 2014 at 10:15 am (3 years ago)

    Poignant words lovely. The early days are so hard, but they’ll be over soon and once they are I bet we’ll miss them. Hugs xxx #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  14. Emma
    July 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm (3 years ago)

    When the little things are so relentless it’s really easy to let them overwhelm us isn’t it. But you’re right, once they throw their arms around our neck and snuggle, it squeezes it all away – for a while anyway!

    Reply
  15. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)
    July 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm (3 years ago)

    Wonderful post that I think we can all relate to! Yesterday I was at the end of my tether with a messy house and a tantrumming toddler but today he has been a darling and I am overflowing with love and it makes the rest just drift away for a while. it can be so hard sometimes, but it is also the most amazing experience imaginable! xx #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  16. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper
    July 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh Kiran, as a mum of two with a similar age gap to yours, I totally get this. The relentless is overwhelming at times, but now they’re slightly bigger, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! What helps me is having a break and getting out sans children often, with Adam, or with friends, I feel re-energised afterwards! Great, honest post x

    Reply
  17. ghostwritermummy
    July 18, 2014 at 10:56 am (3 years ago)

    Yes, we do all have this. Its hard not to feel the guilt. I often look through photos and see them smiling, playing and having fun and then feel such guilt that we don’t do it more now. But ask them and they say we do! It is all mind games with myself, and I need to stop. The smiles in the photos prove they are happy!
    Lovely post x x x

    Reply
  18. Honest Mum
    July 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm (3 years ago)

    Bloody beautiful honest post and we all feel it. I agree parenting can be relentless and thankless as much as it is rewarding and brilliant-I do think you getting some more ‘you time’ and time out will help you feel more empowered and energised if you can-even if it’s half an hour here and there, you mustn’t feel guilt, you are a great mother and we are only human, trying our best and it’s OK to fail some days. Please be kind to you. Loved this. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    Reply

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