Welcome to the 21st edition of the #beingamother project! I exclaim that because when I started this series, I never thought about how far it would get, but 20 issues certainly feels like a milestone. And don’t we just love a good old milestone in this crazy world called parenthood!
Anyhoo, please join me in giving a warm welcome to Zara from Mojo Blogs. Her take on motherhood really portrays so perfectly the all encompassing crazy wonderful desperate ride that parenthood is and so please do now read on to find out what motherhood means to her…
It is difficult to put into words what being a mother means to me. I can tell you that it has changed me in the most dramatic ways, it has molded me into something I barely recognise as myself. It has shaped how I see those around me. I see the world now in sections of times, places to be explored and more dangers than I thought possible. I no longer see obstacles, I see challenges and I am more confident than I have ever been to stroll on by and accept that I can do pretty much anything.
The survival instinct is strong. When you have a child, waiting at home for you but you missed your train, and you have about £7.50 and 3% battery you will find a way home anyway. Even if you have to walk till your feet are blistered and you can barely see from exhaustion, you will make it home for bedtime.
When your child is ill, you find you are able to sit in one uncomfortable position for three days straight. Covered in snot, sweat – both yours and your child’s – you are also ill yourself by now. But you never move, you never waiver, you stroke their hair, you kiss their face and you watch CBeebies on repeat until it is over.
In the early days, when sleep is a mythic thing, you are still able to function. I don’t remember eating that much in the days following birth, I remember feeding every two hours without fail, I remember day turning into night, I remember it vaguely. The exhaustion completely crushing you, but you wake up, you get out of your bed to tend to your baby. Without question and with real detrimental effects to your mental health and well-being, you rise from what little slumber you managed to tend to your child.
What you used to enjoy doing and what you now enjoy doing are different things. My ideal day would be burning a chunk of cash on shopping and lunch, enjoying wine with that, heading home dropping off my new goods or in some cases putting them on, enjoying wine with that, jumping in a cab and picking up a buddy and heading for a night of utter ruin. Rinse repeat every weekend. Now I sit and I look feverishly for the closest beaches, the best place to see rare animals, are there any local farmers markets? Where are my nearest ‘Family Fun Days’? Free art classes, music shows, theatre shows… You get the idea. Enjoying coffee with that.
After a bad day or week, because there are plenty of both I slouch defeatedly on the couch, gripping my coffee and wondering exactly what I think I am doing. Who am I? Who let me out of my box with a license to breed? Who the hell gave me permission to produce tiny people and look after them? I drift off into a slumber, when I wake up the day is new and although the routine is distinctly similar to that which ended so badly yesterday, today could be different. Today we might nail it and often we do.
We adorn paper with glitter, paint and multicoloured sticks. We press flowers, make cakes and bread, laugh in the sun, laugh in the rain, snuggle to watch a movie, dance strangely, go for walks, go for lunch, sing, discuss life in childish ways, eat dinner, eat pudding, smile and snooze.
Being a mother means good days, great days, bad days and worse days. It means that for every tantrum will come a smile. So every night of waking up, will be a night of peaceful slumber. For every moment you shed a tear you will smile, for pain you cannot yet imagine you will feel joy in equal measure.
For every bitter moment there will be a sweet one and being a mother means we swallow them both and go back for more.
To find out more about the #beingamother project, read previous issues or to be featured see here.