Welcome to the 29th issue of the #beingamother project. This week I’m delighted to give up the floor to one of my number one blogging buddy and #coolmumclub co-hostess with the mostest – the lovely Sarah from Mum Muddling Through. Did you think you could “project manage” motherhood? Yes, so did she. Until she realised, that is…that this parenthood project manages you…
Ironically, my actual job title is ‘project manager’, yet of all the projects I’ve managed, the motherhood project has definitely been the toughest yet.
Being a mum was undoubtedly always on my life to-do-list, something I’d never thought twice about. I imagined as a kid that I’d be married and mother of many by about 22. By 22 I couldn’t imagine caring for a cat, let alone a child. I still had a lot of growing up to do, and life to live.
Married at 29, to my man of 5 years, we knuckled down to the job of starting a family as soon as we’d said ‘I do’. A tough year followed, with my project timeline slipping on some major milestones i.e. being pregnant. For a project manager who likes to organise her life with military precision, that was the first lesson of motherhood – you don’t get to call the shots.
It did, fortunately, happen just shy of a year later, on my 30th birthday no less. And 9 months later I said goodbye to the person I had been for 31 years, and said hello to a surprisingly different version of myself, and of course, to the little lady who’d be holding my hand through it all – our first daughter.
I remember telling friends that I absolutely, no way, was going to change when I had kids. What I didn’t realise then, was that of course I would change, but actually, I wouldn’t mind changing either.
In 2012, my first maternity leave, I undertook stage one of my transformation. Clinging on to elements of my former self, kidding myself I could still be the old me, plus the Mum-version of me. A bit like Batman; popping on my cool-mum cape for the occasional lunch with the girls or night out.
In 2013 we experienced our lowest of parenting lows, losing a little girl at 23 weeks. It was a very real, awful time for us which undoubtedly made me prioritise being a mummy, and wife, and somewhere the motherhood project priority got realigned in my brain. Not that I hadn’t always held it at #1, just that I stopped trying to firefight items #2, #3, #4….those projects got parked for a while.
2014, another pregnancy; this time with a happy (also pink) ending. So in 3 years, 3 pregnancies, a knackered body, but a grateful, happy mind. Well, most of the time. It’s certainly true that you don’t know what you had till it’s gone, and I am forever grateful to the miracle of our two healthy children, and to the life lessons our journey has taught us. That twenty-something girl I once knew, she was ok, but I think the new me is a marked improvement. I still like a bit of fun, but in a bit more of a good old fashioned clean living sense. Less of the Jaegerbombs, more of the waterbombs.
Motherhood is, for me, a game of two halves. I never would have thought it would bring such amazing highs, as well as some pretty grotty lows. The latter, of course, pales into insignificance, but, I am a mum who accepts her faults, confesses to sometimes finding it bloody relentless, and struggles to relate to those perfect mums.
I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, so my good days and bad days are there for all to see. I do, and will continue to, gush about the fabulous bits, cherish them, photograph them and share them; but I will also whinge more than my three year old about the tiredness, feeling like some kind of house wench, and the despair of not knowing what the hell I’m supposed to be doing here.
Motherhood is a crazy world where getting a miniature person to eat a simple cooked meal can bring euphoric celebrations, or push you to the brink of despair.
It’s a time warp where an hour can go by in a flash, yet a ten hour day can feel like an eternity…and let’s not even go near the night waking hours.
Motherhood is a place where you can kiss spontaneity goodbye. I can’t remember what it feels like not to rush, and I spend an hour getting ready to leave the house, yet still forget something.
Motherhood is putting yourself last most of the time – to sleep, to eat, to get dressed, to watch what you want to watch, to read, and to chat to friends.
Motherhood is, for me, a constant battle to try and let go of being tidy, punctual and organised. A sometimes lonely place where I am the only mum ever on time for play dates. Who wants to know what the plans are, in advance of 2 hours before. Who is a hamster in a wheel of picking up toys and putting them back out, to maintain my own sanity.
But Motherhood is nowhere else I’d rather be.
Motherhood is one half of an amazing team called Parenthood, which I could not manage without the amazing help of someone doing some pretty awesome Fatherhood. (And, hats off to the many of you who do).
Motherhood is going from ground zero fed up, to the rooftops singing, in the sound of a giggle, a hilarious one liner, or the squeeze of a tiny hug.
Motherhood is sharing the wonder of this life to little faces, relishing new discoveries; and feeling it warm your cockles.
Motherhood is being silly.
Motherhood is doing whatever it takes to keep those children safe, and happy.
Motherhood is a gift. One that I’m throwing away the gift receipt for; this one’s a keeper.
To check out some funny, moving and thought provoking back issues of the #beingamother project see here.