Being a mother is hard. There, I said it. There are days when I feel so much love for my son that I think my heart might spontaneously combust. Then there are days when I want to walk out of the house, get a cup of coffee and pretend it’s just me again. No child, just a single woman with all the time in the world to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
Parenthood is all consuming. It takes every ounce of your time, patience, love and commitment to be a mother and you have no idea what that feels like until you become one. No amount of books, blogs, family or friends explaining this can prepare you for the enormity of your task to nurture a small human.
Sometimes that task seems unachievable and then, just when you’ve resigned yourself to motherhood doom, your therapist* aka hairdresser, steps in with her nugget of wisdom.
As she was slapping colour onto my grey locks, Wendy, let’s call her, shared a story of when her baby was 4 weeks old; he’s now aged 20. Her son had colic and, consequently, a penchant for screaming. One night, as she finished attempting to feed her little mite, she thought to herself: ‘If I just throw him over the balcony I can get this crying to stop.’
Now, when she told me this I wondered if perhaps she’d had postnatal depression – who knows but, PND or not, this thought crossed her mind and it terrified her.
She called her sister in floods of tears and said: “I’m such a terrible mother; I just thought about throwing my baby over the balcony!’ To which her sister replied: “Well, did you do it???”
She gasped and said: “Nooooo!!! Of course not!”
Her sister responded with: “Well, stop worrying then! You’re only at the beginning and there are going to be millions of times in your life when you’ll want to kill them. The key is that you don’t. Thinking it is just human.”
That little jewel of insight made me realise how little we talk about the realities of parenting. I’m only at the beginning of my motherhood journey, but already I know there are going to be times when he will test me to my limits; that’s life. I also know I wouldn’t change being a mother for the world. It’s the best and worst thing that’s happened to my life all at the same time. I no longer have the freedom I once had – as an only child, and having children later in life, means that I like my ‘me time’ perhaps more than most (my husband can attest to that…) – but I have a small person who makes even the bad days brighter. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
Parenting tips and happy hair – what more could a mother ask for?!
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