Sitting in my quiet home today has me somewhat in a state of bliss, I’ve actually contemplated reorganizing the shoes I’m that happy! Days like today are the ones that aren’t listed in the Motherhood books. I have YET to find a book titled Motherhood: The state when a person fully understands the value of silence.
I’m sure there’s a title out there which is similar to the one I’ve noted but it definitely wasn’t on my pre-Motherhood reading list. Within the stacks of What to Expect books there was an absence of information on what my reality would be.
I suspect that my book choices for the early years of Motherood must have been driven by my idyllic view of what my experience in Motherhood should be. At that stage of my life I was a person who pasted on a smile, sweeping any concerns under the rug and did my best to seize the day, continuously moving forward amidst the chaos as if I were fine.
Much like that cupboard under your kitchen sink which you hope nobody ever opens, I looked great on the surface but things were a mess inside of myself.
Always fine and oh-so happy to be a Mother.
In Motherhood I haven’t always been fine.
There have been many times during Motherhood when I haven’t been fine, when I’ve been frustrated to the point where I was certain I was a failure. Times when I used crutches to get by and stuff down my emotions.
Because like every good woman I’d set the measure of a “good Mom” so bloody high there was no way I’d ever reach it.
When my eldest refused to wear clothes to school, leaving me no choice than to drop my 7-year-old off at school dressed in the pyjamas she’d worn the night before. Or the day my house cleaner told me I should be ashamed that I hadn’t found the dirty panties my 5-year-old hid behind her dresser and I believed her. From the birth of my children until this day I have too many of these examples to list.
When my breaking point came, which it does for every Mother, I had to make a hard decision. I could either choose to live on the next decade or so counting down the minutes until bedtime, trying my best to stuff happy memories into these children’s lives, pretending to myself I was fine OR I could roll with the life I was actually given.
My Quirky Family Is Mine
We are the family who can be relied upon to be noticed when out in public. We are the rag-tag bunch with one child inevitably dressed in some DIVA-bling get up, one child sullenly following with her super-comfy jeans which have been worn for more than 4 days in a row and a Mother and Father who are walking along smiling through it all, having given up on trying to fit into a mold.
I’ve chosen to accept myself and my quirky family for exactly what we are. Please don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I don’t have days when I wish the hours until bed-time away. There are difficult days, too many of them, but I’ve given up measuring my performance on my personal Mom-fail meter.
Honey, if I continued measuring myself on such a strict scale I’d be feeling like a failure constantly and running around like a Mamma chicken with her head cut off. That’s tiring, far too tiring.
Instead, these days I snatch the small moments to fill my cup of gratitude.
Whenever and however I can, I steal moments from my children with the swiftness of a professional thief. Some of these moments happen throughout the day; when I notice my offspring are actually playing amicably together rather than arguing, when I catch a glimpse of my child engrossed in a good book, the way her lips purse as she’s sleeping….simple moments which hold such power!
I stash this power away in my heart and I use it like a source of energy when I am in the middle of the difficult days. When nothing I’m doing is going right and I’m certain I should be performing better, I pull a memory out of that stash and remind myself that I’m in the thick of it all.
In The Thick of Motherhood, It’s Not All Pretty
That’s a saying my Father used to use when I was in a particularly difficult math problem or something challenging, “You’re in the thick of it Julie, don’t give up yet!”
Being in the thick of it and knowing it’s difficult means I’m doing something right. It means I’m connected, invested and willing to face the challenge of the moment and when it comes to Motherhood that’s a success in my mind.
Being invested in my role as a Mother includes knowing how I’m doing with it all and ensuring that I take care of myself. By allowing myself to have bad days, by relishing in the silence of an empty house, by talking with friends and being open about the frustrations, all of this helps ground me and allows me to actually BE the Mother God wants me to be.
As long as I’m present and willing then I’m on the right path and that doesn’t mean that I’ll be enjoying every moment but it does mean that I’m in the thick of Motherhood as it really is!