As I write this on Saturday evening, I literally five minutes earlier have flopped down on to the sofa. I feel so tired that every bone in my body is aching and I feel like bedtime seemed to take an absolute age this evening. I feel like my body has visibly and physically relaxed as soon as I sat down and I breathe a sigh of relief that it is bedtime and time for a break. Although it isn’t quiet just yet as I can hear two little girls upstairs giggling in their room. It’s become a bit of a tradition that we let them sleep in the same bed at the weekend, well since last week anyway. As it nears the weekend they constantly ask if the can sleep together and even though they wake up a lot earlier than normal, we just can’t resist letting them as they love it so much.
As you read this it will be Sunday, and therefore of course it will be Mothers Day in the UK. I go through stages in my motherhood journey- sometimes I don’t even really think about my role as a mother, we just get on with day to day life and I don’t think about it at all. Then sometimes something will happen, a cheesy hallmark day like Mothers Day, or an impending new baby on the horizon, or even a day when it all goes a bit wrong. And then I question and think of my role as their Mummy.
I make mistakes as their mother on a regular basis, that is definitely true. There are nights when I put them to bed and I wish I could replay the day again. Maybe I lost my patience a little too easily, or stared at my phone too intensely when a little girl was trying to show me her LEGO figures. Maybe I wasn’t engaged as I should be, or maybe I even silently thought ‘oh just be quiet’ when they kept chatting to me over and over in the car about the same thing. All of these things happen, sometimes often, sometimes not.
I’ve said before that I feel like there are two ways to look at one ordinary day of parenting. You can focus on everything that you felt you did wrong, the fact that they wouldn’t even eat the same beige, bland pasta dinner you always cook, the umpteen times throughout the day you raised your voice, or the fact that you silently wished in your head that they hadn’t picked the longest bedtime story ever to read. Or you can focus and meditate on your blessings and the things that went right, the giggles you shared over their bath in the evening, those intoxicating after nap sleepy snuggles, or the fact that your biggest girl shouted ‘I love you Mummy’ as she walked off with her classmates into school in the morning.
But lets face it, it’s easy to accept your occasional failures rather than focus on the numerous positives that you do each and every day. I remember my first ‘this is it I’m really a mother’ moment like it was yesterday. Mads was about 6 weeks old and she was having one of those fussy newborn mornings where I felt like I constantly was breastfeeding her. I remember feeling so stressed, feeling like I had no idea what I was doing and just wishing that I could figure it out. I sat feeding her in our old study in the cheap IKEA chair we used to own. I can still clearly remember what she was wearing, a little pair of pink leggings and a pale pink top that said ‘I love my Mummy’ on it. She was going through a stage of having baby acne, her face was dry and crusty and I just sat there feeling incredibly overwhelmed and like I could cry at any moment. Then all of a sudden she finished feeding, looked me right in the eyes and smiled. A full proper smile rather the half attempts she had been doing. And then another one after that. And again. Her first full gummy smiles.
I sat there rocking her and the most overwhelming feeling came over me. It was like sat there in that chair I experienced complete understanding, a fierce power and along with it intense fear and love- I was her mother.
And thats the thing about motherhood. There’s always such a range of emotions. There’s the worries, that awful fear at the back of your mind and the feeling of not being good enough. There’s the guilt, the constant guilt. But with all those negative emotions there is also celebration, gratitude, pride and love. So, so much love. So I guess it all evens itself out in the end.
Sometimes it feels like the days are never going to end, or the ‘hard’ stages they all go through will go on forever. But they won’t. Someday my children won’t want to tell me over and over about the game they have been playing. Someday they won’t fight about who holds my hand and who holds Daddy’s. Someday they won’t lie in our bed far too early on a weekend morning while we tell them over and over to turn the iPad volume down so we can close our eyes for five more minutes. These days will pass quickly in the blink of an eye and one day I know I will look back and wish I could replay them just one more time.
To love and be loved unconditionally is such a weird mixture of both the most amazing feeling and the most frightening one- being a parent is probably the most tender and vulnerable you will ever feel. It is hard, it is exhausting, it pushes our limits and it pulls our emotions. Some days I never, ever think I am good enough. But then I look at these beautiful girls we have created- the way they run into our room in the mornings their eyes sparkling with happiness to see us, the way they snuggle into me on the sofa just because they want to be close to me, or even the way my big girl tells me ‘you are my best friend and I love you more than anything.’
And I know, that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to analyse it too much. I just have to be good enough for them. And I may look at my phone too much, or not make as much effort as the other parents when it comes to World Book Day costumes, or breathe a sigh of relief when they go to bed in the evening.
But I am definitely more than good enough for them.
And I’m definitely more than good enough at being their mother.
(We took these photos yesterday- I absolutely love them.)