May 17, 2018 | Nina
I have often felt sad on this motherhood journey that somehow I haven’t ‘loved every minute’ of being a mum. It feels ungrateful for the gifts that I know I have in three wonderful kids. I get disappointed that my days with them are often hard work and not all fun and games. I definitely had great expectations for parenthood, full of baking cookies and snuggling in blankets; a sort of highlight reel of what I understood of family life.
Lately I’ve been rummaging through my video archives of life since the kids were born - I mean when else did we even take videos?! I’m trying to put them into little movies of each year that has gone by (I think I am subconsciously trying to create order in my life!!) Watching back these videos of me cooing at chubby babies or playing peek-a-boo and asking ‘what have you got there Micah?’; faking joy over the numerous toys and trinkets he brings to me, I began to cry.
Often when I am reflecting on my years as a parent, I see only the summary of how I have felt in those times. The difficult seasons that felt endless, the weariness and exhaustion without an inch of space for myself, frustration at the same issues resurfacing and not having the energy (because of aforementioned things) to be the kind of Mum I had hoped to be. There are moments today when I look down the barrel of the same struggles I had three years ago or 8 months ago and it's like I'm stuck on repeat. Whinging, nappies, tantrums, arguments, refused food, mess, noise – this is an intense season! I think that the intensity has been so loud that when I do look back it’s all I can see.
But I cried watching those videos because in each moment I didn’t see only noise or chaos, I saw me.
I was there.
I showed up - every day.
I loved, I cuddled, I played, I cooked, I bathed, I cleaned. That was me.
It doesn’t even matter whether I loved it all or not because I did it! We are five years and 10 months on from when I held my firstborn, fresh from the womb, pink and humongous and I’m here, I made it. And although my memories are blurry and exhausted, I know my kids feel loved and are happy because I loved them and made them happy.
And I know, oh I know, how long a day with kids can be! I’ve called my husband (who is normally home at 5pm) at 5.02pm saying “where are you?!” because those two minutes felt like two hours! I’ve now lived over 2000 of those long days and I’ll be honest, it really has felt like a lifetime but I hadn’t realised until now how much of an achievement it is. Each day is a badge of honour – you loved, you nurtured, you practically cared - for an entire day!
You fought against your need for space, independence and order to give unconditional love to an often ungrateful small person (or three), you laid down your own needs to give all that you have to another. This dogged commitment we have for their wellbeing is nothing short of a miracle and to see that clearly feels a lot like healing.