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Articles tagged with: Emotions

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #31 'Half Glass Empty Half Glass Full'

on Sunday, 24 August 2014.

*Disclaimer- this is a bit of rambling post on motherhood that doesn't really make much sense, but my emotions were all over the place this week.  You have been warned!*

 

I have a tendency to let the mundanity of life catch up with me sometimes.  Occasionally the constant nappy changes, the endless making lunches or lugging two small people around the supermarket with one running off and one refusing to sit in a trolley, will result in me feeling a little bit out of sorts.  I will pace around the living room waiting to hear the front door open and see my husband arrive home from work, just to get a little break from the constant demands of motherhood.

At the back of my mind, I always deep down know how lucky I am, how blessed I am to have the opportunity to work from home and be the person who looks after my girls the majority of the time.  Of course I know that, but sometimes the intensity and mediocrity just catches up with me.  Because let's face it, being a parent is hard work.  It's relentless, from the second they open their eyes in the morning until well after they have gone to sleep at night.  Making sandwiches, the nursery drop off, running their bath water, tidying the toys after they are in bed- we repeat so many moments in motherhood we could probably do them in our sleep.  They become routine.  They become day to day life.  And sometimes that day to day life gets a little stagnant, or a 'bad day' in the life of a three and a half year old learning to express her emotions can throw it all off kilter slightly.  You can feel like your glass is half empty even though you know deep down that couldn't be further from the truth.

But then I also have the other kind of emotional moments.  These happen once in a while too and they are even harder to describe.  My husband has a tattoo of the yin and yang symbol, I don't hugely like it to be honest (it's very late 90's sorry Mr E!) but it was done another lifetime ago.  However recently I have been thinking about the meaning behind it and how in a way you can relate it to the feeling of motherhood.  How opposing or contrary forces are actually interconnected and complementary to each other.  Amazing and beautiful moments, followed by difficult or sad ones.  Ordinary days where everything goes right followed by ordinary days where it all feels just feels a little bit challenging and hard.  

This week I have felt so teary.  But not teary in a sad or unhappy way.  Just emotional with the intensity of it all.  Emotional because I feel lucky to have this mundane, slightly boring life.  The slightest thing has set me off, whether it's a sad song, saying goodbye to my grandparents, or even cuddling my biggest girl who clung to me in our bed in the night after being sick.  As she lay with me, I felt this raw emotion so strong that it made me cry silently into my pillow. I find that being a mother is loving so deeply that sometimes it actually physically hurts.

There's this fear deep inside me that I don't even like to think about let alone put into words.  I imagine all mothers have it from time to time.  Most of the time it lies dormant, always there but hidden, a passing thought in the midst of a busy day.  But sometimes it pushes it's way to the surface and it can consume my thoughts.  It may be something on the news, something that has happened to a friend of a friend, or even god forbid someone you know.  A glimpse into someone else's anguish and despair.  The fact that life can change in an instant.  And these moments will always make me sad but occasionally they will floor me.  The thought of anything bursting my happy bubble of ordinary life.  

Because Motherhood is so much more than making sandwiches, the nursery drop off, running their bath water, and tidying the toys.  Underneath the routine and the structure, there's the deep rooted  intensity of loving someone so much that it can completely change you.  That you can have days where you feel like crying for absolutely no reason because you feel so overcome with emotion about how lucky you are.  Sometimes the best way to process that is just to carry on, to go about your day to day life- to play, to teach, to discipline and to make memories.  And it goes back to the Ying and Yang theory, for all of the worry, fear, guilt and mundanity, there is happiness, love and gratitude.  Those complimentary opposites constantly interacting and balancing each other, not being able to exist without the other.

You need the odd bad or challenging day to fully appreciate the good ones.  Sometimes I need a good cry, or to go and pick my children up from nursery early for a cuddle, or to really sit and closely watch them on the sofa eating an after nap biscuit to remind myself that ordinary life isn't always easy.  That motherhood isn't always easy.  We may be incredibly lucky but that everyone is allowed to feel like their glass is half empty on the odd occasion.  

But that deep down you know that it is in fact full to the brim.

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Intense.

on Tuesday, 20 May 2014.

It's approximately ten past eight in the morning and there are big salty tears running down my three year old's rosy cheeks.  Her little face is screwed up in some form of anguish, her mouth is open wide and she is wailing.  Loudly.  I know that it is early, but I glance down at my watch and note the time regardless.  Ten past eight.  We have been up little less than an hour.  And already I am thinking 'This is going to be a long day.'

This particular meltdown was over the fact that she wanted to wear her leggings rather than her shorts, but to be honest it could have happened over anything really.  She is tired, I am tired and the day hasn't even really begun.  I feel defeated, like I am fighting a losing battle...that the day isn't going to go well, yet it hasn't even really started.

There's only one word to describe it.  Intense.  

Before you actually become a mother you don't really realise just how enormous it is going to be.  Of course, you know it will change your life, but you don't really factor in that intensity.  The exceptional highs and the exceptional lows.  And all the little bits in between.  

You imagine life to be a little bit like something out of glossy baby magazine, you walking round in trendy clothes with a full face of make up and an immaculately clean, pristine baby cooing happily in their buggy.  You imagine the trips to the seaside, the cute little baby clothes and the euphoric feeling of bringing a little person into the world that is part of you and the person you love most.  There's the thought process of plenty picture perfect moments of delightful scenes of motherhood.

Which of course there is.  There are those 'pinch me' moments where life is exactly how you want it to be.  Where you feel like you are walking round in a dream and this is all you ever wanted.  Where you can't quite believe that you are lucky enough to be known to these two little people as 'Mummy'. There's the cuddles, the kisses, the lying together and reading a bedtime story...the little ordinary moments that are everything you wanted and more.  Motherhood is powerful, extraordinary and a complete and utter blessing.  

There's also the other side that you don't read about in the magazines or learn about in the baby books.  Of course, there is the raw intensity of loving someone so deeply it actually hurts a little.  Of being afraid of the 'what if's?'  The fear of something bursting the little bubble of family life that you are so happy to be a part of.  Or being constantly anxious or worried that you are indeed doing a good job as a mother.  That you are getting it right. Those are the big emotions, the ones that can knock you sideways and take your breath away in a second.

But there's also the other intenseness, less fierce than those large emotions but powerful all the same.  And that's the intensity of day to day life.  Of being the person they shout for in the morning the second that they wake up.  Of being responsible.  Totally and utterly responsible for shaping these two innocent little people into who they were meant to be.  Making meals, reading stories, putting them in their car seats, teaching them, guiding them, wiping way their tears, caring for them, loving them...the list goes on.  It's all consuming.  It's exhilarting but it is exhausting.  It's incredible but it can be frustrating.  It's the best thing ever but it can push us to the limits.

It's intense. 

And just like there are days when you feel you have it all under control, there are those days where you feel like you don't have it figured out at all.

Sometimes you need to wipe away those tears at ten past eight in the morning, plaster on a smile and think that today will not become 'one of those days'.  Sometimes you need to go out and just let off some steam.  Blow away the cobwebs and the negative thoughts.

Sometimes it just really doesn't matter if you all eat far too many chocolate digestives and then they don't want to eat their lunch.  It doesn't matter if you then all have an ice cream on top of that as well.  A big Cornetto, not even a child friendly Mini Milk.   It doesn't matter if they get mud all over their new shoes as they really want to jump in that dirty puddle.

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Sometimes the only option is just to embrace it all and laugh.  As if you don't then you may cry.  And laughing totally is the better option.

And then that laughing becomes genuine as you see little faces enjoying the most simple moments together, the pure and innocent smiles plastered across their rosy cheeks.  The way the swings make their little curls blow in the wind and they get breathless from a combination of excitement and giggling.  

And that intensity comes back again, but this time it takes on an entirely different form.

Intense happiness.  

And that feeling that even though it can be the hardest job in the world at times, motherhood is most definitely 100% worth it.

 

The Baby Things.

on Thursday, 29 August 2013.

Since LL arrived just six short months ago, I have had a real feeling of contentment.  It's almost like she filled a hole that we didn't even know existed, or that she was a missing piece in the jigsaw.  She's completed our family, and I am so proud of our two little ladies.

I sometimes feel sad that she is growing so quickly, already I cannot imagine her as a newborn or the baby who used to snuggle up on my chest, yet at the same time I love the age she is at now, and I know of all the exciting stages we have to come.

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But there is something hanging over our happy little family.

'The Baby Things.'

LL has obviously grown out of her newborn clothes, and her 3-6 month clothes will soon be on the way out too.  They currently are in plastic boxes under her cot.  She has finished with her moses basket, and soon she will be finished with her crib too- ready to go in her big cot in her own room.   The time is going so quickly, and our time with them as babies is so fleeting.    

With Mads there was no doubt that we would keep these baby things, so as soon as she grew out of one set of clothes, they would all get put in bags up in the loft ready for a new baby.  We knew that we wanted to give her a sibling and while I felt a little sad as I packed away the tiny items in place of slightly bigger ones, I knew that one day we would hopefully have another little person getting use out of them.

But LL growing out of her things is playing with my emotions more than I thought possible.

I thought we were finished having our babies.  I thought our family was complete. But those tiny newborn outfits are completely pulling on my heart strings.

I always wanted two children.  When I imagined our family, I could see us with two little girls, I don't know whether that was because I grew up with a sister.  Two just seemed like a good number.  One for each hand, one for each of us, not needing to upgrade our car, or our house straight away.  A nice even number.

I want to be able to treat my girls, take them on foreign holidays, not have to watch the pennies in the future.  I want to show them the world, and take them on nice days out, and help them fulfill their dreams.  Don't get me wrong, I know you can do that with three, four or even more children, but two always just seemed like a good number for us and our family.

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Yet I cannot get myself to get rid of those baby clothes.  I can't bring myself to take the moses basket to the charity shop, or to bag up those tiny outfits.  Our loft is full of stuff and we could do with a clear out but the thought of giving them away makes me sad.

It just seems so final.

 One of my friends just recently had her second child and has already given away all of his bits- she knows completely and utterly that her family is complete.

Does this mean that I don't think ours is?

I feel so incredibly blessed to have my two little girls.  As far as I can tell, they are happy and they are healthy.  I have had easy straightforward pregnancies, and reasonably easy c-sections. I haven't had to deal with trying for a baby for a long time, or experience the pain of a miscarriage.  I truly know how lucky that makes me.  

I can't imagine not experiencing those exhausting, exhiliarating newborn days again yet I don't yearn for three children particularly, nor do I feel particularly broody at the moment, although I am sure I will as LL is still young.  Yet giving away our baby things is almost like drawing a line under our baby days.  Accepting that we are finished and moving forward as a family with our two little ladies.  Accepting that we are lucky and blessed and that it is time for someone else to make use of our well loved items.

Accepting we don't need them anymore.  And in my heart I deep down know we don't.

That we are complete as a family of four.

So why is that so hard to do?!

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Not Always Getting It Right.

on Monday, 19 August 2013.

I like to think I am a good Mummy.  

I love my girls with all my heart, like all parents do, and I would do absolutely anything for them.  Until you have children, you kind of guess what the love will feel like, but it is hard to explain until they are here- until you hold them and feel their little heart beating against you- it is pure, unconditional love.

I like to think that I am a fun Mummy.  I take my girls out and about most days, we go to our singing group, out with friends, to gymnastics and out to lunch.  We go on long walks, we giggle all day long and we snuggle on the sofa and do a jigsaw, watch TV or read a book.  We go on day trips, weekends away and have lots of adventures.

I like to think I am an affectionate Mummy.  I am naturally a soppy and affectionate person and I lose count of the amount of times a day I give them a kiss or a cuddle, or tell them I love them.  I want them to grow up in a house full of love and affection, just like I did.

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Of course I have days where I breathe a sigh of relief when they are in bed, and I think to myself that perhaps I haven't been the best Mum I could have been that day.  Perhaps the TV stayed on that little bit longer that it should have done, or I lost my patience a bit too easily.  I think thats part and parcel of being a parent- some days are harder than others.

Last week I took Mads to the cinema for the first time.  It had been planned for a while and we were going with another friend and her son.  Right at the last minute my Mum had to stay home from work for a delivery so she offered to have LL for me- the first time she has done so for a longish period of time.  I was so excited to have a date with my Mads and to spend some quality time with her.

We dropped LL off at my Mum's and drove to the cinema.  I got her a small bag of popcorn, some juice and some Magic Stars and we went into the film.  She looked adorable sat there on the booster seat and I was certain she was going to love it as she loves watching films at home.  The adverts came on and there was an advert with a robot with demonic eyes, and it frightened her so she started to cry.  She sat on my lap and I tried to calm her down but she got hysterical so I took her outside.

We sat outside for a few minutes and I told her there was nothing to be frightened of, that none of the other little boys and little girls were scared.  She didn't want to go and sit back down so after about ten minutes she agreed to go and stand just inside the door to see if she wanted to watch it. Typically we timed it just as a dragon came on the screen at the start of a screen and she got hysterical again.  She was clinging to me and crying and saying she wanted to go home.  I haven't seen her so upset in a long time.

I am ashamed to say I got cross with her.  Not really cross but I told her she was being silly and that I was cross as everyone else was enjoying the film and weren't scared.  We left the cinema and got in the car and she was still upset but was calming down.  I was so frustrated with her because I so desperatly wanted to enjoy our time together just the two of us.  

As we drove off she said to me 'I am sorry I didn't like the film Mummy, I want you to be happy.'

I could not have felt more awful if I tried.  So awful that I cried.  I cannot believe that I got cross with her for being frightened about something.  She is two and a half.  All was ok in the end and we went home, snuggled on the sofa and watched television while eating our treats, but the way I was with her has stayed with me since then.  

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There's no instruction booklet for being a parent, and there's no way of controlling what is going to happen.  A lot of the time I trust my instincts and I get it right, but there are times, like last Thursday when I get it totally wrong.  I make mistakes.    

I am relatively new to this parenting malarky.  I am learning, growing and developing along with my lovely little girls.

I like to think I am a good Mummy.  And part of that is learning from my mistakes.  Admitting when I get it wrong.  

I am not a perfect Mummy.

But I am trying to be the best I can possibly be.

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