Last Friday afternoon, I caught sight of myself in a mirror at Rockmans as I was heading to the change room to try on a pair of jeans and I looked like a mess. My hair was dry and frizzy, fringe had gone curly and the back of my hair looked like a bird’s nest. My hair colour had faded so that added to the ‘dry’ look of my hair. I had dark circles under my eyes and a few random pimples that had made themselves visible through my BB cream which was meant to hide them. I looked like a haggard mum. With three kids in tow and a shopping trolley full of groceries, if a young woman looked at me as an example of what to look forward to with three kids, my reflection would have told her not to have three kids.
I had a mini celebration in the change room when I could fit comfortably into size 14 jeans while the girls played hide and seek between the curtains. I haven’t really lost much weight but my shape has started to change. Finally my hips and belly have received the memo that there will be no more babies in the future.
As I went to pay for my jeans, I felt the need to make a comment about my appearance to the sales lady and she looked at me, and then my three girls then back at me and didn’t really say anything.
When I got home, I got dinner started, gave the girls a snack and put on the TV and told them I would be in the bathroom and they weren’t to come and find me.
I had grabbed a hair colour kit while doing the groceries hoping it would fix up my messy hair. I chucked on one of my old plumbing shirts, put the colour in my hair and headed out to the kitchen to finish cooking dinner. Once dinner was in the oven, I headed back to the bathroom and washed out the colour. I gave my fringe a quick trim and was drying my hair by the time Jacob arrived home from work.
With my hair freshly coloured and straightened, I felt a lot better. But then it was time to serve dinner and I also had to make another dinner to put in the freezer as I’d cooked a double batch of mince.
I sat at the dinner table and felt weary. The day had been busy with dropping Esther to school, going to a local store to get a $25 trolley of groceries, back home to unpack the kids and the groceries, fed the kids, chucked the kids into Phoebe’s cot with loads of toys so I could vacuum and wash the floor (they love it and it keeps little footprints off the wet floors). Squeezed in time to clean the ensuite bathroom. Tidied up Phoebe’s room, gave the girls their lunch and then put them down for their nap. I then headed to the computer to check on emails, write some more posts and then wake the girls to go and pick Esther from school. No wonder I looked terrible by the time I got more groceries that afternoon.
The life of a mother can be exhausting – whether we choose to stay home, juggle working from home or work full time and place the children in care. There are always the questions of whether we do enough for our families or are we doing too much, and if we are, how do we stop? Mouths need to be fed, mortgages/rent needs to be paid and bottoms need to be wiped.
Lately I have been bitter about the expectations on mothers. It’s hard most days, with a little reprise during the day where I think life is good. And then a mess erupts or a fight and screaming starts and I go back to that feeling of Ugh! Will it ever get better?
There are moments of pure joy when I see my girls playing nicely together.
And then there are moments of WTF? and I see the living room a mess because the girls thought it would be fun to spray their popcorn all over the floor. There is no flat line in parenting.
Another mess I had to deal with last week was this one. I’d forgotten to empty the shredder bin so the girls thought it would be fun to start a ‘snow fight’ in my office.
Phoebe sat on the ledge adjacent to my office and watched as her sisters played in the mess.
I was annoyed, then resigned to the fact it could keep them occupied while I read some junk mail. I came back and found that the paper was EVERYWHERE. It took us all an hour to clean it all up.
And that is what it feels like parenting is made up of. Constantly tidying and cleaning up after little people. A lot of mess is made and a lot of effort (and patience) is needed to clean the mess. Those happy, lovey moments can be few and far between the obligations and chores.
Even today, on our May Day public holiday, I’ve had to wash the cushions and blankets in the living room as they’ve soaked up someone’s pee. Motherhood is not glamourous. I’m definitely not a glamourous mum.
And sometimes I’d like to be. I’d like to be that mum that looks like she can handle anything and is always optimistic and loves every moment with her kids but lately, I’ve felt worn down by it all. I wonder if you feel the same too?
I also feel a little selfish for feeling like this because don’t I have what I’ve always wanted?
The only way I have been able to change my perspective is to change my belief on what motherhood should look like.
I remind myself that the unglamorous mum is beautiful . What I have is beautiful even though it feels messy.
Last night, as I put Phoebe to bed, she grabbed my face by the cheeks with her chubby little hands and mushed her lips across mine to give me a kiss. It was the cutest thing. And I didn’t want to put her back in her cot to sleep. I wanted to keep her face close to mine and savour her toddlerness, even though at times it drives me crazy.
I may not feel completely altogether, but to her, her world is safe when we are together.
And for the moment, I draw on those moments to get me through the tough hurdles of mothering young kids.
How has motherhood been treating you lately? Ever feel weary by the constant of it all?
I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.