Gone are the days when all you were hoping for was a sunny Sunday so that you could grab a towel, a book and spend the day at the beach. Or perhaps simply hoping that the bottle of red that came recommended by the liquor dude goes down a treat with dinner. I find that my hopes have vastly changed since kids. I really took that on board a few days ago when I was sitting in the bathroom with my eldest. She was, I quote “chilling out and doing a poo”, while I sat there “chilling” with her and silently saying to myself “please be a clean break, please be a clean break”. I doubt there is confusion here but just in case, a clean break is this instance is in reference to her bum and the turd she was pushing out. You know, when you go to wipe their tiny hiney’s and voila, there’s barely anything to wipe and sometimes even nothing. Why was this on my hopeful list? Because if this is not the case then the alternative for me is to go through a roll of toilet paper wiping and wiping aaaaand wiping some more, and by the time I have a clean arse in my face and I’m able to come up for air there’s my youngest, making out with a sock or whatever Dad’s left on the floor after lastnight’s shower. My fingers are crossed for a clean break at least 3-4 times a week and the list of newfound hopefuls goes on to look a little something like this –
I hope she sleeps for just one more hour
I hope I get to finish this workout before they wake up
I hope I can get these bottles in the sterlisier before she realises I’m not there
I hope I haven’t forgotten to pack the wipes and the fkn kitchen sink!
I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I have so much washing to do
I hope they go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight I need some downtime with the man and hopefully an almighty O or two ( that’s O for Orgasm ladies and if you had to stop and think about that one then perhaps your in need of one yourself)
I hope that even I have a clean break because my youngest has found me and is on her way into the bathroom, running after her before she eats god knows what with my pants down to my ankles and a half wiped arse isn’t going to be pretty
And as usual the list goes on…..
The common theme here is that most of my list of hopefuls all revolve around desiring time where the girls don’t need or want me. I currently get followed around from room to room by the little one who just wants to climb up and use me as a standing apparatus ,or she wants a hug, or she simply wants to connect with her mum in some way. My eldest was not as intense, but I remember her being the same and even though she’s older and more independent now there are still many, many moments each and every day where my presence is everything to her. It’s a heart warming exhaustion that can’t be explained until you are there in the thick of it with your own little people and to be honest I still have those moments with my mum and I’m 37. As we grow older our needs change but one thing that remains the same is that mum will always be mum and there is something profoundly comforting about that no matter your age. If I’m really unwell, I’ve had a tough day with the kids, I’ve got some exciting news, I need to have a pointless rant, I need advice or I just need to fall completely apart…..my mums my gal. So, when you have a child ladies the job is quite literally for life, you are someone’s person like no other person is or can be. How fucking amazing is that? Amazing yes, but the early stages see this to be the centre of mass exhaustion as well and let’s face it…we all need time for ourselves where we feel like the only person you have to nurture and the only arse you are required to wipe is you and yours.
Self care is a huge factor in mental health and our general well being and it can be scarce in the early days of motherhood, not to mention that the surge of hormones we are faced with makes the need for self care even more imperative at a time where it’s a ludicrous need to have. There is no pause button, no calling in sick and if you wake up feeling like you can’t parent today, then as the classic phrase goes… “Tough titties” because your gonna do it. Motherhood doesn’t offer courses that equip you and it doesn’t wait for you to catch up if you ‘drop the ball’. It’s full steam ahead on a train with a billion to do carriages and no breaks. With that being said here’s the oxymoron of it all and I hope you can relate, otherwise the only moron here is me. I itch for downtime most days and when I know it’s coming the eager countdown starts. Like a kid counts down the days till Xmas, there I am doing the same for a night or two away from mumming. 3 more sleeps, 2 more sleeps, 1 more sleep and “bring it on”..pack your bags little ladies, your grandparents are waiting. I get everything ready, get them in the car, I pick up my large oatmilk cap with a dash of honey and two babycino’s with marshamallow’s and we’re off. The smell of freedom is in the air, one little lady babbling to herself while I play I spy with the other and chat about …well… crap really. 45 minutes later I’m debriefing the in-laws on feeds, sleep and all the fun stuff. Enter the moron, not only do I kiss them goodbye a gazillion times and tragically wave and blow kisses after every step toward the door, but I then proceed to cry once I am in the car because I will be away from them for two nights. Can we take a minute! What the actual FUCK? I had to stop and think about this one because I was crying and genuinely confused at why on gods green earth I was doing so. Sure, I love my kids more then life… Sure, I will miss them, but I had been looking forward to and openly expressing my need for, time. The man and I were going to be sitting on our butts, reading a book, having baths, catching up on Netflix, staying in bed and binging out on whatever whenever for 2 whole days and nights at a gorgeous resort. I had been so excited and yet here I was missing them before I had even left. Make no mistake, I wiped away the tears, bought myself back into the present moment and had the best few days away, but my initial reaction to letting them go was sadness. I knew they’d have fun, I knew I would be back before any of us knew it and I knew I wanted and needed this. But here is what my inner moron channelled in that moment and what I am learning to understand. Little children are hard work, they test you to your core and they make you realise how precious time, sleep and peace is. But they are also your main source of joy when they arrive in your life, they are without a doubt your greatest teachers and your biggest fans and their love is pure and unconditional. We are their Kylie, their J-LO, their Lady GAGA. We are truly their own personal superstar. If they could pick a poster to have up in their nursery right now it would be you in all your fabulousness, no being adores you more than your children. Through all the struggles and all the “aussie showers”, through all the sleeplessness and mummy tantrums I have chucked ( yes, they happen), one thing never changes and that’s the fact that I am their person. I am that one person that when the chips are down, when they want to express happiness, when they are tired, when they hurt themselves, when they’ve had a nightmare or when they learn something new and want to celebrate it with someone, its me they look for.
I have channelled that “moron” many times and I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t much get here accept that deep down, sometimes really, really , really deep down, we know that a huge part of our existence at this stage of their early little lives is being there, not only for them but WITH them. We ache for peace and time and we absolutely need to take it, but I wonder sometimes whether we might be spending the precious moments with them focusing on those hopefuls and how to get our shit done instead of being present just as intensely for them….with them. Guilty?? I sure have been. But heres’ what my mate the moron knew that I didn’t. I may be their person BUT they are just as much mine.
Teacher and Author Elizabeth Stone said that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body” and man oh man was she right. My hopefuls may mostly revolve around times of not being needed or wanted by my kids, but one thing is inevitable and that is that one day they will not need or want me like they do now. I will be the one chasing them for cuddles, wishing they’d call more often, looking in life’s rearview mirror and missing the days I’ve wished away one too many times. How many times have you found yourself saying , “I can’t wait till their teeth come through”, “till they crawl” or “when they are finally walking around and can entertain themselves life will be easier”? I have said such things and hoped for them too, but as the journey continues I find myself slowly erasing my list of hopefuls because of what I learn each and everyday as a mum of these young beauties.
There will always be ‘days’ when you’re wiping shitty butts for what seems an eternity, when your little one climbs up on you while you are sitting with friends and pulls your top down so everyone gets a front seat view of your right tit, when you do the bolt off the toilet mid wee with your pants at your ankles because someone’s crying, where your hair is oilier then a bowl of deep fried chips and your hands are drier then a nuns lady flower because you’ve been washing and scrubbing all day, but I am learning to follow what I now believe should be a mandated mummy mantra…. “Fuck it”!!!! This too shall pass and when it passes you want to remember the struggles with a side of humor and fondness because otherwise it’s all one really tough blur and I don’t want to compare these days to a blurry stage of my life. I want to laugh about it, I want to have the good, the bad and the completely inappropriate etched into my memory bank for eternity because I only have these humans in their innocent completeness for a time, and that too will pass just like all the chaos. We are their people, and sometimes that sux but in the wise words of Mary Poppins, “Nothing is gone forever, only out of place”. The you that you know, the you that you miss is just out of place. Too often we feel we have waved goodbye to who we are to embrace new life and to be their person and it is simply not true. I am still me, just a truckload less glamorous and elements of myself are simply out of place. From a long list of hopefuls and a need for no need, I have slowly managed to understand that the one thing that should always be on that list is that even when it sux, I am their person and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nor would you.
Below are some links to a few helpfuls when you need to unwind......