Being a mum is really really hard isn’t it? Sometimes we just need someone to talk to who 'gets it'.
It’s like this incredible mix of emotions that take place all at once and in one day you can go from feeling confident, ‘I’ve got this, look at me with my fancy coffee not from Waitrose, strolling back from town (baby fast asleep)’, to ‘I have no energy, or patience, or desire to get changed and I really wish he/she would just sit still for 5 minutes so I can drink a cup of tea or reply to a text without them screaming for my attention’, all in the space of half an hour. Hair unwashed, house a mess, dog (and/or partner) whining in the corner.
The guy that safely landed the aeroplane in the Hudson River a few years back when his engines failed after a bird strike said, ‘One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.’. He was talking about all his knowledge and wisdom that he’d learned from and saved up so that when he needed it, poof, there it was, enabling him to land safely and save every person on board. I mean, that’s great for him isn’t it? But not massively applicable to us. We haven’t been learning about ONE particular thing for 42 years because we haven’t been practicing being a mother for 42 years. We just, suddenly, are. The baby (or babies) arrive (or arrives) and whether you’re ready or not, experienced or not, you have to survive. It’s quite literally, life or death and there’s no getting around that. It’s probably the biggest thing you’ll ever do in your entire life.
So why is it often expected that you should know what you’re doing? I once learned to make a roulade and it took me 5 attempts, with 2 recipes, a pasty chef friend dispensing advice on her break and innumerable visits to youtube. And even now, I don’t really have it mastered, I just cover it with lots of berries and icing sugar (apparently you get a lot of disapproving looks when you do the same to a baby). You struggle on and on trying to figure out WHY they are crying and WHY they won’t sit in the car seat and WHY they don’t want to be held in a horribly busy restaurant or WHY they won’t eat anything apart from what you’re eating which is covered in salt and mayonnaise (I salivate at the prospect, I just had dry bread for lunch).
It’s quite literally, life or death and there’s no getting around that. It’s probably the biggest thing you’ll ever do in your entire life.
The basic facts are, we don’t know what we’re doing. We think we do but as soon as we’ve got a grip, they move on to the next phase leaving us perilously hanging in their wake. They learn, we learn. They change, we change. It’s not a constant state of being it’s a perpetual transition for everyone. Our relationships with our partners change, with our friends change, with our families change and with ourselves change. Our bodies are not what they once were and we can’t do everything we once could (sneezing is like a warped wet-shirt competition mixed with russian roulette).
This is all sounds a bit bleak I’m sure, we love our little ones. For what they test us with, they give back and when we feel like we can’t give any more, they come in for a cuddle or sit and read a book with you. The love is incalculable, and immeasurable and we wouldn’t change what we have for anything but DEAR LORD GO TO BED WHEN YOU SHOULD. What is with the hair pulling and kissing and rolling around? It goes on for hours and I need to go to the toilet.
It takes a village, blah blah blah. Most of us don’t have a village, Jesus, most of us don’t even have a hamlet. We need to stick together, share our stories and experiences, help each other out. Join us, talk and eat cake with us because it’s a matter of survival. That’s right, cake = survival. You don’t have to do it alone, no one should have to do it alone. Becoming a mum is a change that you probably weren’t ready for, and well, neither were we.