So, having launched the blog, I thought a post was probably the next sensible thing to do to keep the momentum going. I use the word “launched” quite loosely, I mean it in the “hustled out the door like you would a child who quite enjoys the satisfaction of being late for school” kind of way. “G’wan, get going”!
“The “her” in mother” is a series of posts around my experience of motherhood. I want them to highlight the girl behind the mother, who is still learning and finding her way. Its important to acknowledge that we’re all different in our roles as mothers so I’m not listening for a unanimous chorus of “Yeses”, but there are certain feelings and thoughts that resonate with most of us at different stages of this unpredictable (understatement) road. The goal is to share but not compare because our circumstances are all so different. Hopefully these posts will just flow nicely and not have to be drop kicked out the door with the same urgency as my first post!
I recently read an interview with a mother who said that the biggest thing her children had taught her was “patience” and it got me thinking about how the “her” in my own mothering experience deals with it.
Patience. How much? How little? How often? The need for it in motherhood is sometimes seriously overwhelming. It is definitely something I feel i didn’t really appreciate the depths of before children. Not really anyway. And man and those depths pretty deep. I think having two of my merry men so small and so close in age, Im forced to look at my relationship with patience on a daily basis. Patience with them, patience with myself and patience with those around me.
If you were to ask Mother Earth herself what her best recipe to make up a mother would be, I’m pretty sure I’d have a fair idea what the ingredients would include. I think we all have our own instincts that tell us what we want to be for our children and I don’t know anyone who would say that being patient isn’t on that list.
For me though, the challenging part comes when trying to figure out the measurements of these ingredients, particularly patience, on a daily or sometimes hourly basis. The things we do that we thought we’d never do; Changing plans at the sniff of a tantrum, offering ridiculous bribes, talking in irritating high pitched voices or singing songs at freakily fast speeds, at a volume just higher than that of a wailing toddler. Sometimes if the song is going down well, you just don’t draw breath in between verses, you just drive on til your blue in the face! And making eye contact at the wrong moment …well, go on, I dare you, let me know if you’ve survived it!
Sometimes, you wake up and instantly you know by the landscape of the hair on the back of their heads that no spoonful of patience is gonna be big enough. Then you put on your squeakiest, most enthusiastic voice, in a tone that’s completely over the top, to try and give all the positive vibes you can muster. Fuelled by that inner patience that comes from deep within, you again drive on and think “ain’t no one gonna rain on my happy parade”. Not today! The thing with kids though, is that they not only push the buttons, they rub them, make them sticky and then lick them so much that the button starts to jam with baby juices. In these moments, it’s starting to dawn on me that sometimes it’s my expectations which need tweaking and yes I’m trying to remember thats it best not to have buttons. There is definitely a sense of surrendering to motherhood and just rolling with it, in order to embrace all the emotions that go with it. Do not get me wrong though, there are days it just feels like I’m absolutely covered in pushable buttons.. like a fine crop of the dreaded chickenpox!
Deep breathing, gritted teeth, muttering not so sweet nothings under our breaths, eating copious amounts of chocolate in hiding, making suggestive eye contact with a tipple of our choice, whatever is is, we all have our own ways of dealing with our lack of patience. The days we are most depleted, are the days we know most accurately how many seconds it is until bedtime. 876, 875, 874… count with me now…
When bedtime does rock up, the patience stores may not be what they were at the start of the day (anywhere from 5am??!) Pretty often I start to look as bleary eyed at 7pm as I do at 5am, it’s just that “in the thick of it, god help her” kind of look. And if the Tesco delivery man arrives in the midst of it al well god help him too. Those guys have seen it ALL, here’s hoping they just turn a blind eye!
And at the end of those tougher days, you breathe a little sigh of relief when you feel you’ve just about survived and so have they. And you kiss their little heads good night and look at them and smile, thinking “kid, you’re a maggot of the highest order but you’re so also so bloody cute and you break my heart in the best way possible!”. And roughly about two seconds later they’re out of their beds for the most ridiculous of reasons and are living up to previously stated maggot reputation. Let’s be honest, patience and bedtime, not exactly two things that walk hand in hand into the sunset every night. Sometimes “patience” drags “bedtime” to see the sunset ’cause “bedtime” has decided to become a limp, dead weight mass which is passively refusing to comply! Patience tries desperately to live up to her name and also demonstrates surprising upper body strength and wrestling skills despite her fitness levels lurking in her boots!
Some nights bedtimes can go on forever and sometimes we roll with it and just enjoy the banter. On a night where mama is tired though, sightings of children after lights out is not so cool. Why? well, for me, once bedtime comes, its time to close up shop for a little while. Ingredients need to be restocked for a new day and I need to make sure I have some balance of our stores. Sometimes its just a case of zoning out, letting go or doing a little something thats good for the soul. Usually its just getting a chance to do the wild and exhilarating things that you’ve dreamt about doing all day like replacing the toilet roll in the bathroom or just leaving the house alone to buy milk. Leaving the house on your own, sounds so simple but the lease of life it can give is something that still surprises me! Something as simple as drinking a cup of tea (without soggy bits of biscuit at the bottom-not naming names) at desired temperature, completely uninterrupted, can feel like utter bliss.
And sometimes, its just about smiling to yourself, even laughing hysterically, thinking of the intensity of the situations that you’ve dealt with that day. Acknowledging that for that 5 minutes of sweat and tear inducing mayhem, that you and your tribe really were the stars on your own show and you only regret not taking a bow at the end for the performance you just unwillingly out on. You know though that Its not a one night only show, you can be sure of future performances, at a time and venue which are completely out of your control. The comfort of knowing that we’re all improvising at the best of times, is pretty damn reassuring!Every so often, we get days where we seem to sail through in comparison. Are those the days where our expectations of both ourselves and them are that bit more realistic? I honestly don’t know but I’ll take those days and I’ll appreciate them with the more challenging ones. The tough moments and the exhausted struggle for patience is melted away pretty easily when we see how bloody lucky we are. There will always be a struggle of some sort but to quote Brené Brown (a bit of a legend), “we are wired for struggle”. We’re tough when we need to be and just doing our best. I’d rather experience the struggle with these raggamuffins than not at all. Consider me infromed but still in ferocious training with fitness levels forever lurking in my boots!
Those little people though, huh? The things the have taught me, and the things I have yet to learn. I’m grateful for it all.
Trying to be kind to the “her” in mother…I am trying, as ferociously as patience is still wrestling bedtime.