Now this is probably not news to any of you who have a few little people tagging along wherever you go. But just to clarify for those of you who don’t – it really does. Given the choice I wouldn’t change a thing about my beautiful trio of pinks but some days, if I’m totally honest, my body looks and feels like it’s run non-stop up Mt Everest every day for the past eight years. (No, that’s probably not the right analogy, if I’d done that I’d be super fit and fine – as well as tired beyond measure.)
Motherhood is exhausting and self-deprecating work that takes every inch of energy you have – and then just a little bit more. After a few years all of your good intentions and motivation get sucked up and you’re left in a raw uncharted place that you have to navigate without the benefit of sleep, patience or that elusive energy. Being there changes you. You become more resourceful and wiser but you also feel your patience slowly drain away as the tiredness burrows into your soul.
But on the positive side how amazing is it being a mum? I cannot imagine any other thing in the world giving me the joy or heart exploding love that motherhood has. It’s a happy drug beyond measure and I couldn’t give up – ever. Not even for a return to my pre-baby body and all the energy in the world. Talk about a paradox! My heart thrills in being a mum even though my mind and body struggle to deal with the constant onslaught it brings.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this crazy paradox today because I’m about to be faced with the breath-taking experience of fifteen hours a week of time to myself. My little is off to four-year-old kindergarten in a few days and for the first time in eight and a half years I’ll be able to depend on regular alone time. As a self-confessed introvert, who gets her energy from being alone, this is powerful and heady stuff. This worn down woman, who feels and looks very like the Valveteen Rabbit, is being handed an enormous gift and frankly its making me feel a bit nervous. (Happy, but nervous.)
From reading this you may already have picked up that my natural inclination maybe a little on the side of the Queen on the Martyrs. (I struggle with that side of my personality – but it’s there and I have to embrace it.) Over the years I’ve probably drawn far too much from this when it comes to parenting. I’ve lived outside of the realm of respecting my own needs and expected far to much of myself. And the kids, being kids, have lapped up every little bit I’ve offered and still come bounding back to ask for more. It never fails to amaze me how clearly I can see this now that my years of being a stay-at-home-mum with my littles underfoot is drawing to a close!
I regret nothing of my time at home with my kids, I know they’ve had a great start to life, but if I had to re-live it I’d learn to look after myself better. It’s just the wise thing to do.