I wrote this blog some time ago, when my second baby was still a baby, not the rambunctious toddler he is now. I was struggling with the constant feelings of ‘mum guilt’. I was taking onboard comments from other mums saying ‘it goes so quick’, ‘enjoy every moment’, feeling like I must be doing something wrong because I would have given my left boob to have a sleep-in.
I had an epiphany one night, amidst a boob marathon (that’s when the epiphanies tend to happen, amiright?) that I was putting so much pressure on myself, on how I should feel in motherhood instead of appreciating what I had…
It’s 5am. My eyeballs are aching with the longing to go back to bed and the caffeine is yet to buzz through my veins.
You were hard work last night… maybe it’s teeth? Let’s just blame the teeth because I refuse to believe you just enjoy waking regularly for no apparent reason.
Dragging myself out of bed to feed you, probably leaving you far longer on the boob than you need because I’ve closed my eyes to ease the ball ache (eyeballs that is).
When I muster up the reserve to end the all-you-can-eat buffet, you wail. Yep, you wake me up at 4.30, boob on tap and you’re the one who’s upset? Puh-lease buddy.
Lots of shooshes, bum pats and coos ensure your don’t wake your sleeping big sister – because that would be apocalyptic for me right now. A cranky toddler and a teething baby at 5am, that could be awesome.
What’s that noise? Oh it’s your dad, snoring. Bless him and his ability to sleep through the high pitched decibels of his baby crying.
I feel resentful. Resentful that I’ve had little sleep and that I’m up changing your bum in the early morning whilst your father sleeps (ironically) like a baby. And I feel guilty because everyone says ‘it goes so quickly, enjoy every minute’ but I don’t enjoy these minutes, I want to fast forward through them.
It’s not an uncommon situation. Nor the feelings that come with it – feeling tired, down and out about how hard this parenting thing is. Wondering when I’ll ever get to sleep past 6am again or how many episodes of Pocoyo I’ll have to endure to get me through this morning (or, let’s face it, the next 3 years)… Then between the grimaces and shouts of your baby angst (teeth, monies on teeth) you smile and ‘chat’ like you’re giving me the pep talk I need to survive the next 12 hours.
The resentment subsides and it makes me think…
I could name a hundred things I love about you, without stopping to draw breath. I could describe the every detail of your beautiful, perfect form without needing to look back at you for reference. I could name the numerous ways you make me smile daily. The pride I feel in having you as my baby, in being your mum, is hard to put words to.
The icing on the cake is that I have never loved your (snoring, sound asleep, a-hole) Father more than I do now, after all we’ve been through. He gave me the two most precious people in my life, that’s a pretty hard thing to beat.
These feelings, this knowing. It’s what makes me realise I am not living in perpetual resentment, that I am drinking in the moments with you while you’re little. The way my love grows with your dad.
I am enjoying this, I am enjoying you.
This is the ‘stuff’ I will look back on fondly and smile about. This is happiness.
Too often we feel that happiness is a destination, or that happiness means feeling happy all of the time. Happiness is the journey and the journey can never be completely smooth sailing.
As Tony Robbins (life guru extraordinaire) says: “The only ‘problem’ we have, is that we think we shouldn’t have problems. Problems call us to a higher level, face and solve them now!”
Life is not perfect, shit happens (and happens a lot) but this doesn’t mean you aren’t happy.
I’m learning to take the pressure off myself as a mum. I don’t need to be there for my kids 24/7 to enjoy them, to love them. I don’t need to feel completely in love (or sane, even) with my children and husband every minute of every day, to be happy.