If I could tell you one thing, one lesson I’ve learnt, one lesson which is bigger than the rest, one lesson which keeps me going every time I relearn it – it would be this:
With love, it will be ok.
And there is a second, vital part.
Belief. Because sometimes, in that moment, you might feel like that is all you will have. (Apart from the children, the children.)
If I could tell you one thing, to hold on to in the worst times, to tell yourself repeatedly in the bleakest hours, it would be that.
Love. Do it with love. Believe it will be ok.
It isn’t a complicated lesson. And yet it is a message I lose all the time. I forget. it I let it get blacked out. I see right past it.
When it feels like, again, I’ve got it all wrong; when it feels like, once more, I took the wrong path; when it seems like, just like last time, I messed up – I never remember this.
That with love, it will be ok.
And this is, in those times, the only thing I should remember. It is the only thing I should believe.
I am in a constant state of self-doubt. I see myself as a mother and see short-comings and not quite measuring up and not quite doing things as I’d like them to be done and not quite being good enough and not quite setting the right example or whatever you are meant to do.
I am in a constant state of wishing I was better. Wishing I was better at cooking meals they’d eat; wishing I was better at staying calm when no-one will put their shoes on and we’re running late; wishing I was better at knowing how to do the stuff some mothers just know how to do.
I am in a constant space where there is fret that I’ve not done right by them, that I’ve not done things well enough, that I’m not quite up to this. I could be more organised, I could make more time to give them each on their own, I could play outside more instead of tidying up inside with one eye on them, I could make up better games at the park and let them dig in the soil when it’s bath time and be more silly and more kind and more patient and more fun.
But all of this is part of us all growing up together. The doubt, the tough days, the heartache. The joy, the unbearably perfect hours, the blissful moments where you realise you have it all in that second of life. This too is part of motherhood.
It’s just the part that’s hard to see some nights when you go to bed exhausted and you’ve hardly had enough cuddles. When you wake up and lose your temper before breakfast because last night you were up every hour. When you don’t have the answer that makes them smile. When you feel like you just, can’t, do, things, right. Ever.
But if you do them will love, it will be ok.
Believe it. Hold on to it. Sometimes that belief might feel like it’s all you’ve got. Grasp it tight.
This is the one thing that always makes me stop, makes me think about it again, makes me realise it’s not as dark around me as I thought. This is the thing, that keeps me going.
Love them, and they will know it. Even when you think you have failed, when you think you are failing, when you think you will always fail – remember this. You love them. Believe it will be ok. Take that belief, and hold on tight.