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