I read so many articles that speak about how boring it is to be a mother of small children, how awful it is to be stuck down on the floor with a toddler playing their toys and games.
Goodness me, it makes me think. These women are miserable! I am able to relate though, as there was a time I felt that way when my kids were very young. I missed the old me; sometimes I longed for my freedom back, just for a moment.
You see, children weren’t always in my future plan for life. But, when they came along, I always said I wouldn’t be a regular mum. I’d still be cool and fashionable, I wouldn’t care about the latest baby gadgets & I sure as hell would not be talking about my child’s bodily excretions with anyone at anytime (except perhaps a doctor). I would be a cool mum. My children would fit into my life, I wouldn’t fit into theirs. They were entering MY world, and they would not change me.
Oh, reality. You sure came knocking at my door!
Turns out, I knew nothing about children. I also underestimated the ease of finding a family member or friend willing to mind a child. I had a very dreamy vision of what motherhood would entail, and the truth really wore me down to begin with.
The lack of sleep, the way your entire being goes into making sure that your child is fed, bathed and nurtured, the way it feels to never ever get a minute to yourself anymore… there were some hard days. I was naïve. I hadn’t done much research on children, other than the baby books I’d read, and my idea of the whole shebang was more romantic than dystopian. The reality lay somewhere in between, for a while.
Just like any job, you need a break every now and then to stop from wearing yourself down, because it’s so much harder to enjoy your days when you’re worn out. Motherhood comes flying in, and suddenly there’s no lunch break, no 5:30 clock off, not a moment of down time. From the moment you open your eyes onwards, you are responsible for another person’s life. It is a daunting feeling, at first. It doesn’t take many days to wear yourself thin if you are barely sleeping and running on wild hormones that are still yet to settle back to their normal levels. When you don’t have much help, the days can feel never ending.
As time moves forwards and your newborn grows, you will experience tantrums, bickering (if you have more than one child), whining, as well as constantly cleaning the home. These are all part of the day job now. It is alright to take a moment and let yourself adjust to this massive change. It’s normal to feel that yes, perhaps this could be described as boring compared to my pre-child life. Hell, I used to eat pub lunches and go shopping for myself on my lunch break, here I sit nibbling a cracker the toddler threw on the floor whilst reeking slightly of newborn spit. It’s hard to not feel sorry for yourself when you’re thinking with that mindset.
I had to embrace motherhood and my new reality before I truly enjoyed my days at home with the children. I had to let go of the idea that I would stay the exact same person as I always had. It just isn’t possible when you have children, and even more so if you choose to stay at home to care for them. Naturally, your interests and lifestyle will change. You can still be a cool mum and care about your child’s happiness.
Next time you think about how bored you are while pushing your child on the swing, take just a second to look at their joy, and embrace the moment of them loving you and your company. Stop resenting your life as a mother and try to enjoy your child in the moment you’re in.
Before my kids were born, I spent many years working in customer complaint departments. Being yelled at by customers, verbal abuse on the regular, angry people calling all day, one after another. Thinking back, those really were quite awful days. If I find myself in a similar position when my kids are in school, I probably will miss even the hardest days of mothering young children… Because they are meaningful times, when beautiful memories are created. More meaningful than being yelled at by a stranger about a magnetic fly screen, anyway. Perhaps I’m lucky that my pre-child occupations weren’t so fun… I can look at motherhood with a positive eye.
As I flicked through our family photos the other day, there were some short videos of my children when they were under two. And, my god. These kids were utterly adorable. But, in that moment, there were times it seemed they might soon send me mad.
Now that my children are three and four, I am starting to see just how fast the years fly by. I am so lucky to have spent this time with them, showing them the world, making their days fun and lively.
When they have grown up and they think back on their childhood, I hope they remember the fun times we had together, and how much their mum enjoyed those years she spent with them, in their world.
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