It’s hard when the alarm goes off, and you really don’t want to get out of bed, but you remember the dirty dishes in the sink from last night, and too many toys strewn all over the house, and oh no, the air con guys are coming in half an hour for their quarterly servicing session…
Not to mention that your darling little tyke has already been awake for a full half hour, and come crawling into your bed to cuddle and kick and steal your blanket for his cocoon. Just your typical morning.
Nobody ever said this motherhood gig was easy… but probably no one told you it was going to be THIS hard. After all, everywhere you look, you see happy shiny faces of mothers who’ve got it all together – cute kids, shiny floors, nutritious meals, and still manage not to look like a tornado just whirled through their front door.
Let me tell you something you probably already know but find it hard to believe – all those pictures of happy families and pretty homes you find on social media and Pinterest – that’s not what motherhood is about.
Not real motherhood, anyway.
That’s not to say those photos aren’t real – they probably are – but those pictures you see on your social media feed are just a teeny tiny snapshot into that mum’s day. A moment in time, and often posed for the camera.
So what does real motherhood look like?
Eyebags, that’s for sure. A mind that’s a never-ending and racing to-do list of tasks to be ticked off and open tabs. Hands that are rough from countless dishes washed, bodies soaped and floors scrubbed.
Backs that are bone-achingly weary some days, from chasing after the kids or sitting in some convoluted position for far too long for story time. Bodies that seem to have forgotten what it was like to spring out of bed with joy and energy they used to have when they were in the prime of youth.
Juggling cooking lunch with listening to your preschooler tell you about his day at school and trying to keep your toddler from climbing up the kitchen counter to where the knives are kept.
Loading the washing machine while two pairs of busy hands try to take everything out, at the same time. Refereeing countless wars, negotiating for nap times, and picking abandoned toys and books every other minute…
Real motherhood is so hard.
But deep down in our hearts, the reason why we go on loving and caring for our errant offspring day after exhausting day, is the conviction that our mothering matters. And dear mama, it really does.
Today’s dramas over their Lego blocks will become tomorrow’s workplace politics over job responsibilities. This morning’s heated debate about finding the right pair of socks could well be a stepping stone to their best preparation for dressing smart for that first job interview.
Yesterday’s parenting woes and heartaches are building into you and your children a resilience that cannot be taught, a trust that cannot be manufactured. These day-to-day routines are setting the tone for a lifelong relationship that matters more to both of you than you may ever know.
Keep calm and love on, fellow mama-in-the-trenches, and know that your labour is not in vain. This is a battle worth fighting for, and we soldier on alongside each other every single day, with our bare hands and feet, wearing our hearts on our sleeves.
It’s worth it.
Love, Dorothea Chow
A fellow Mama
This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine