This is motherhood. This life, that is hard and exhausting and full of tears. This is it… I keep thinking. And then it changes.
Because that’s the thing.
It keeps shifting on me, the lines keep wavering, the definitions keep being re-written, the things I know keep moving.
This is motherhood at the start: It’s a shock and you are stunned by life suddenly becoming like nothing you could have prepared for. You have the smallest baby in your arms, and you have no idea what to do, except to hold him to you and hope with every inch of your being that you don’t mess things up. You look at him in the middle of the night and you know you will never quite fully believe you made him.
And next week and the one after, you walk the floors at night and your baby keeps crying and you struggle to get his clothes off and you hate going to coffee group and making small talk and you just need to sleep goddammit…. for months – this is motherhood.
Then it changes after a while and you don’t even realise. Life is full of playdates and baby swim classes and and you can’t go out between 9.30am and 11am because of nap time and you never get anything done because every moment is spent with your baby. Or cooking their meals or something that means you just have no time. You’re not sure who you are anymore, or what you might do when you need to think about going back to work but for now this is motherhood.
And then there is the guilt of work and leaving them all day and even when you get home you’re distracted when you get an email notification on your phone. There’s the days you wish weren’t so long at work, the days at home where you overcompensate for not being there all week, the days where you cry on the tube because you just want to be with them.
There’s the days when you ask a million times for her to put her wellies on but she wont listen and there’s the days when you’ve had it with repeating yourself all day but what can you do and the days when you might as well thrown their meals straight in the bin. These are the days when the frustration boils up in you and you’ve nowhere to turn but then you give them a bath at the end of the day and they are the best, most placid children ever and you wonder if really the are yours.
Then they go to school and need you less and you miss them and they don’t cry any more in the mornings when you go, and you get up at 5.30am just so you can make their packed lunches, apart from on the days when you forget and give them pre-packaged snacks and hope their teachers don’t judge you. This is it.
Motherhood. Every day, imperceptibly, it changes. Because they grow and you grow. They teach you and you teach them. So every minute is different. And new things feel harder than they should. And you think you’ve cracked it and then you realise you have no idea.
This is motherhood. It’s different every day. It’s frustrating when they still won’t put their coats on after you’ve asked them a hundred times and joyous when they throw their arms around your neck, really, like in a fairy tale.
This is motherhood. Hard and impossible and unbearably beautiful. We won’t ever crack it. But just as they’ll keep growing, we’ll keep learning. We;ll hold them to us and know there is no other way, because as they get bigger, so too we will become the mothers they need. This is motherhood.