I can’t get no sleep
It’s 4 am and, in the dark, silent bedroom just as I began to drift off, I hear the beginnings of a cry from the end of my bed. The soft whimpers are coming from my baby who is all tucked up in her cot. I roll, exhaustedly off the edge of my bed and drag myself over to her cot. She looks up at me with her big, wet blue eyes and cries until I reach down and carry her downstairs. I fumble around for the light switch amidst the tiredness and begin to prepare some milk, taking a handful of Minstrels to give me a much-needed sugar boost.
This is the start of babyhood/motherhood. When they are small and extremely dependant on
sleep, milk and cuddles. I (fairly) recently had my third child. She’s almost two now and I am twenty- eight (despite feeling fifty- eight sometimes!). Motherhood, I’m since learning is a mind field. My newest edition can be defiant, wilful and bossy. Yet she is also sweet, beautiful, gentle, funny, thoughtful, clever… the list could go on.
Children get every one of your emotions skyrocketing. From the moment you see the little extra line on the test, your tear ducts become overworked. The birth bit is a mad over-whelming occasion, I’m basing this notion after all three very different but, equally as emotionally turbulent births. The coming home with the newborn phase is a mix of ecstatically happy moments; consisting of your perfect little bundle of joy, everyone rallying round, soft blankets, new teddies and Moses baskets, and a new kind of overpowering, breath-taking love. The other side of this being, tiredness, soreness, questioning yourself as to whether you are doing the right things, feeling alone at times, unexplained tears. This dissonance of emotions seems to be there throughout parenthood. Just when your toddler has tipped ALL of the flour out of the packet, with a powdery face and a mischievous giggle, there’s a trail of paw-prints where the cat has helpfully walked through it, the kitchen in complete disarray, then your child says ‘I love you’ and reaches out for a hug. Suddenly, after the mania that ensued (after flour gate) your heart melts. The frustration and madness you felt lifts. In a second. From anguish to cherish in such short succession, is what makes being a parent tough and terrific.
Me, Myself & Mum
As a girl in my twenties it can be hard to feel secure, established and know my direction. No longer a teenager, yet I still don’t feel like a proper grown up. Not all the time at least. This feeling is ever more complex when you have children. I have found being a Mother the hardest, yet the best thing in the entire world. They are your world. A little extension of you. They are who you give your life to, in the sense that you strive to make them, feel happy, secure and loved. Sometimes, when you are so caught up in mum things you forget you are a person in your own right too. I have felt like I am playing catch up and trying to get to know what I like, what I want, just me. A few of my friends who are Mums too; feel the same on this. I remember one saying she didn’t receive birthday presents for her anymore, only for the baby. Family bypassed her (on her birthday) and bought only for her little boy. Which she loves and appreciates but it adds to the sense of losing yourself.
This whole premise ties into my next point of Mother guilt. Do I stay at home with the baby till he or she is five? Or do I go back to work sooner? Should I be working to pay for someone else to raise my child? These thoughts are difficult to tackle. What is the right age to return to work or education, is there a right age? Going back to work is useful socially, mentally for you to regain some of yourself and to add to the financial pot at home. Yet, childcare is expensive, you want to be there for your little one, so what do you do?
I think this is different for everyone, but I think a balance is good. Still raising your child alongside working. Whatever hours/time frame suit the individual.
Mums the word
Therefore, Mother’s need to be supportive of other Mothers. Getting together with other Mums helps! Knowing that you are not alone in these feelings, is so reassuring because the mind can be a lonely place. So, instead of mums the word, start to embrace spreading the word. Seeing how others feel, may well help you feel relieved. Sometimes we worry so much that other people wont understand but it is amazing how many people think like that and share similar stories. And it’s a great excuse to get together, make each other coffees and have a bit of girl time!