Have you ever felt like you have dived into the black hole when you put on your mummy hat? Well, it’s not like you can ever take that hat off, but it kind of feels like you are mucking around in the dark, neither knowing what is going on nor what you are doing, and certainly not realising how you have gotten yourself in that sticky situation that you can’t seem to get out of, no matter how hard you tried.
I would like to tell you that I am a supermum who absolutely revels in every moment, even if it means getting projectile-pooped on for the 268th time, and waking up (wait, when have I ever fallen asleep) yet again to soothe the baby who just wouldn’t go to bed but 27 months into motherhood, much too often, I still stumble after I think I have found my footing, and get sucked into that black hole.
Atrocious, but brutally true. And if my fellow mummy friends are telling the truth, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
But we all survive. And we thrive, somewhat. And most of all, we go on, even though the lack of sleep and nutrition is really quite detrimental to our well-being. Why? Well, quite simply, we have many little things to be thankful for, things that we should find time to be thankful for in the haze of motherhood.
The little things that count
Like when my daughter smiled at me for the first time. Or when she first blurted ‘Mama!’ as she flashed a three-toothed grin at me. Like the first time I heard her deep belly laugh. Or when she fell and the first person she wailed for was for me. Like how I wished someone else could put her to back to sleep but really, I was the only one who could put her back to sleep, if that makes sense at all. Or when she is growing up much too quickly, and all I can think of is how best to seize time that is slipping away from us, sleepless nights or not.
It is so easy to be caught up in the mundane, everyday tasks of motherhood. Cooking, cleaning, napping (and I mean trying your best to get your child to nap, not you actually napping), juggling deadlines and trying not to drop any of the hats that you have to put on. I have been there, and am still there at times, when I can’t see anything beyond the significance of yet another mealtime battle or tantrum.
It is much too easy to sink deeper into the unpleasantries and challenges of being a mother, and to be wedged in between the two. Because at that point in time, all you can see is your child resisting a much-needed bath for a reason that you can’t comprehend, and all you want to do is to make him or her get in that bathtub for at least a quick soak.
A small gratitude goes a long way
But we try to get our heads above the water. We yank ourselves out in time to breathe in the sweet, musky scent of a perspiring child who refuses to be put down on the bed for a nap and who only wants Mama. We snap our eyes open to see that a child is really learning to cope with his or her emotional outbursts during a tantrum.
And most of all, we pull ourselves out in time to see the child that has made us a mother in the shortest and longest time possible.
Just like that, our faith is renewed and wounds are healed, and we are ready to fall right back into the black hole again.
Little things to be thankful for… well, maybe they aren’t that little after all.
By Rachel Tan
Stay tuned for the rest of our ‘First Time Mum’ series!