This not an adequate description of parenting. It is NOT all sunshine, rainbows, and happy times! It certainly has a good dusting of these, but these are the good bits. It is predominantly made up of tears, frustration, teamwork, routine, sleeplessness, more tears and arguments and negotiations. It is like working on a negotiation then to have to start all over again because the goal posts have shifted. It is like being outnumbered every day. It is a regime; dictated by four tiny humans that constantly amaze me with how intelligent they are.
Most days I find myself rushing on through just about everything to do with getting ready. I generally multitask and tend to only really glance in the mirror quickly as opposed to standing and looking properly. I am not ashamed or in disgust with myself. I am just busy. At least that is what I tell myself.
The other evening, long after the kids were in the land of nod, I did have a look. A look at me; who I am and who I have become. I was blown away by how much you can miss by not observing yourself – really looking I mean. Fine lines, wrinkles, bags and all the rest – they are all ok – they are testament to life. What I really noticed was my eyes. They are not sparkling, bright or dancing (the only real ways I could think of describing eyes!!). They are tired. There is no fire left in them – they are almost like a fire that is just about to burn out. I am not trying to sound melodramatic here, but life, work, family and all the other things entwine, it becomes, for me at least, very easy to fall into the trap of giving to everyone before I worry about myself.
It is one of ‘those’ buzzwords. Thrown out into the realms of social media highlighting the need for us all to be ‘mindful’ ; use ‘mindfulness’ or to ‘embrace mindfulness in your life’. Right now, I am flat out being less mindful of all I have to do. All the lists and tasks I need to get completed each week for each of my many roles; yet I am being propelled into to being more mindful.
I confess to reading one article on mindfulness and it left me feeling as though I was totally losing my shit because I was not mindful enough – like I did not care enough not only about myself but also about everyone else. Like I was inept in this modern day battle of motherhood, wifehood, workhood and attempted selfhood.
Parenthood. The name has so many meanings – and means something different for each and every one of us. It is a difficult, rewarding and an amazing experience, often all at the same time. Life however is not unfulfilling if you do not have kids. But I hate that some people think that it is; or that we are judged on the fact of childbearing/childrearing/childless as being a descriptor for us.
So many things I do every day, some days the same things repetitively, other days a whole host of other tasks. But are they enough?
I hug and kiss the kids countless times every day, and tell them I love them just as often. But is that enough? Is that enough times to tell them how special and amazing they are in my eyes? Is it too much that they then think they are invincible? Am I finding the correct balance of supporting their growth and development or am I doing to much for them? Am I providing enough educational structure in the daily patterns of life that one day they too can walk independently and survive?
So. Many. Questions. So much self doubt. There is no guide book. There are no rules for this crazy gig called Motherhood. What I let my kids do, others don’t, and vice versa. Then there is the conundrum of comparisons. They have _____; and we don’t. We have _____ and they don’t. Is it a flaw to admit as a mother you don’t actually know all the answers?