The other night Maddie said to me ‘Am I still allowed a phone when I am 10?’ For a couple of years now, probably ever since she started school, every now and again she mentions getting a phone, or more specifically how old will she be when she is allowed a phone. We have always just said ten, we have no idea but we just go off what age friends have let their children have one and the general consensus seems to be when they start secondary school. That’s not really what this post is about though, the thing is we used to say ten because for a long time ten seemed so long away. We would say it just to say a number, it was too long away to really worry. It seemed unfathomable to imagine my little four year old aged ten, or even my little six year old. When she asked me the other evening I realised ten really isn’t that far away at all. Come December our eldest daughter will be eight. Eight!
It is surreal sometimes to think that I have been a parent for nearly eight years.
That’s the thing. The years are passing by so quickly. Lottie will be six in February, Wren three in April. We just get on with life, going about our daily business, and I don’t necessarily notice a change in my children. But if I actually think about it, it feels like a punch to the stomach. I no longer have little babies, it won’t be long before we are out of the toddler years, and in the not too distant future nappies, naps and the constant whining for ‘just one more bedtime story Mama’ will be replaced with the worries of phones, exams and ‘please can I go out with so and so tonight?’
I wrote a post a while ago on here pondering about how do you you know your family is complete? When we moved house last year, deep down knowing that we were more than likely done having babies, I gave away or sold most of the baby stuff. Those tiny newborn clothes were given to charity, I gave our crib to our next door neighbour, that ridiculously expensive Sleepyhead that I bought in a sheer panic of ‘will this help him sleep?’ was sold to a family friend. Weirdly I only kept one thing- our Doona car seat/buggy and there was just a part of me that didn’t want to part with it because it was so brilliant and ‘if we ever did have another baby’ it would be a shame to get rid of it.
The other day I went into the black hole that is our garage to look for something and I spied it in sat there in the corner. Seeing it there looking a little forlorn in the corner almost made me want to cry. Why am I keeping it? Why not give it away to someone who it would benefit from it? Why am I clinging to the last remaining bit of babyhood when it’s pretty much a given that our baby days are over?
These motherhood milestones come and they go. I remember so vividly the day that Maddie first slept through the night. How I was so excited to have some unbroken sleep, but how I also felt like slowly my little girl was growing up and now no longer needed night feeds. Or the day Lottie started nursery. And how I sat in the car and cried and cried, that feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was a little part of motherhood that I had to let go of. Or when Wren took his first steps. How we clapped and laughed, celebrating another page turned in the epic novel of life. It was a very big deal indeed. They’ve come and gone and I hold them dear in my heart, but we are on to the next milestones in this parenting journey. One very big bittersweet journey.
In the summer holidays Maddie went to her first ever sleepover and it gave me a taster of what’s to come. She proudly packed her bag with her favourite cuddly toy Pongo on the top and didn’t even as much as look back when Jon dropped her off at her friends. She is growing, all three of them are growing, and it makes my heart both ache and soar at the same time.
But what is motherhood right now like? I used to pour my heart out on this blog, my online diary of my crazy motherhood journey. Back when I started it one day when Maddie was a few months old and I was an anxious first time mum, to finding out I was pregnant with her little sister, to planning to have ‘just one more’ if we were lucky enough, and indeed we were when the little boy we never knew we wanted came into our lives. I miss writing personal posts on this space regularly, I miss documenting the emotions of motherhood, the up’s and the down’s, the high’s and the low’s. But the truth is motherhood right now is different.
Having children is crazy and hectic at times. Sometimes I actually dread them coming home from school because you never know how that few hours between home time and bedtime is going to go. A lot of the time it’s fine, it’s lovely. But sometimes I will it to be six thirty so we can go upstairs and start the bedtime routine so I can collapse on the sofa and get a break. There are days when I want to tear my hair out because they’ve been testing the boundaries all day, where I can burst into tears out of sheer frustration. Or when I lie in bed at the end of the day and feel guilty- guilty I haven’t been the best Mum I can be, or that I lost my patience too easily, or that I wasn’t as attentive as I should have been. I promise myself I will be different but then a few days later I feel the same emotions again. There are parenting low days, of course there are.
But there are also a lot more parenting high days. Where I feel like I have got it sussed. Where I feel a funny little moment of butterflies when my children are polite or kind and it makes me want to burst with pride. Where I see the three of them cuddling on the sofa and laughing and I get tears in my eyes over the fact that they love each other so much. Or where I get to the end of the day and I lie in bed and I smile at the happy day we have had, whether it’s a simple ordinary one or one that’s not so ordinary. There’s plenty more of these days than the low ones.
For the most part that’s how motherhood is nowadays. I don’t need to pour out my feelings or document it all. We just go about our daily business, our busy routine and structure. It’s not worth sharing or shouting about, I am just muddling along doing the best I can for these three little humans I am lucky enough to call my own. Just like any other mother out there too.
Someday, years from now, when my children have left home and no longer ask to sleep in our bed over and over again, or ask for a ‘kiss, cuddle,squeeze’ every evening, I will wake up in the morning, go about my business, and wait for their phone calls to tell me what life adventures they are enjoying, what they are up to and what news they have to share. I will tell them I love them, tell them to come and see me soon, and I’ll put the phone down. And I can almost guarantee there will be a little part of me that will think back to the past and wish I could go back and relive one of those all consuming days when they were little.
I won’t be able to. Because that will be motherhood then.
But this is motherhood right now. It’s hard at times. But most of the time it’s great. And I am enjoying every minute.