Recently I saw a post on a social media site about motherhood and its reality, and it really struck a nerve with me. When you think of motherhood you picture children running merrily over hills flying kites whilst proud parents look on and smile, you think of wonderful picnics next to a lake with homemade cakes, you think of going on adventures, peaceful visits to the toy store for a treat with happy and grateful children, you picture immaculate houses with children sitting and playing nicely, you think of craft activities and homemade collages, you think of family trips to the beach and building sand castles together, you picture homebaking with children who are eager to learn, you picture visits to the swings on hot summer days, you picture everything with rose-tinted-perfection glasses. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things can happen, but they’re missing a few details.
Motherhood is amazing. Motherhood is by far my most favourite journey i’ve ever embarked upon. Motherhood is the biggest privilege I have ever been given. But motherhood is hard, very hard. motherhood is picturesque. Motherhood is perfectly imperfect.
We are so hard on ourselves as mothers, we have so many unrealistic expectations of ourselves and failure of these is inevitable, but we don’t give ourselves a break. We think we are doing everything wrong, and worry that we are not creating enough good memories for our children, but if you’re loving them and are there for them then that is enough, more than enough.
Motherhood is not just the good times, not just the holidays, the treats, the games, the visits to the park, the fairground rides, the beach trips, motherhood is so much more than all of this.
Putting the fourth load of laundry that day into the washer and getting it out to dry, this is motherhood.
Wiping the spilt milk your 4yo spilt despite you reminding him to be careful three billion times, this is motherhood.
Sweeping up the stamped upon cereal for the third time that morning, this is motherhood.
Lying awake crying, worrying if you are really up to the job of being a mother, this is motherhood.
Filling out paperwork for nursery, and pre-school, and junior school, and senior school, this is motherhood.
Crying on the bathroom floor because you’ve not slept in what seems like forty years because your baby just will not sleep, this is motherhood.
Searching the house for a pacifier or a manky blanky for thirty minutes whilst your baby screams, this is motherhood.
Using baby wipes to clean everything in your house, this is motherhood.
Wearing the same pair of leggings and top most days of the week because you now spend all of your money on your children, this is motherhood.
Deciding to home-school because this is best for your children, this is motherhood.
Listening to your child talk about their favourite thing for what seems like 36 hours straight because that’s how long their stories take, yet you listen intently because you know listening now will mean they’ll know they can always talk to you, even when they have flown the nest, this is motherhood.
Lying on the floor all night next to your child’s bed when they have a fever, this motherhood.
Peeling soaking covers from your child’s bed when they have an accident, and reassuring them it’s ok, this is motherhood.
Kissing grazed knees and healing them with your kisses, this is motherhood.
Giving the last piece of dessert to your children when you so desperately needed that chocolate fix yourself when they’d already eaten their piece the day before, this is motherhood.
Placing a towel on top of a soggy sheet that your baby wet just so you can get some desperately needed sleep, this is motherhood.
Sniffing the brown, suspicious stain on the sofa, and licking it when smell alone fails, despite the possibility of it being poop, this is motherhood.
Using your scarf as a napkin when you forget to bring the baby wipes out again, this is motherhood.
Karate chopping the back of the knees of a flailing child so that you can get them into their car seat to get them home, this is motherhood.
Grocery shopping and children, need I say more? This is motherhood.
Looking your child in the eye and apologising when you yell, this is motherhood.
Kissing your child goodnight, and again, and again and again because they need ‘just one more’, this is motherhood.
Staying awake all night to take their temperature because they have a high fever, this is motherhood.
Working every hour God sends to provide a roof over your children’s heads and clothes on their back, this is motherhood.
Reminding them to wear their hat at school when the sun is out, this is motherhood.
Teaching them about safety, and strangers, and roads, this is motherhood.
Reading them stories at bedtime, at any time, this is motherhood.
Telling them you love them, hugging them, nuzzling them, sniffing them, this is motherhood.
Spending hours persuading them to take their medicine when they’re ill, despite wanting to give up trying, this is motherhood.
Cleaning mud off wellies, and washing waterproofs, this is motherhood.
Letting them play in sand, in water, in mud, on grass, outside, letting them explore, this is motherhood.
Holding their hand at the hospital and igniting their courage, this is motherhood.
The seen, the unseen, the heard, and the unheard, it’s all motherhood, whether daytime or early hours of the morning, everything you do for those children of yours is worth it, and they will remember. Their hearts will know. They will remember the mother who kissed the scraped knees, who made the world brighter with a snuggle, who said yes as often as was possible, who held them when they were scared, who never left their side when germs took over, who listened to their stories and the things that were important to them, and the mother who loved them regardless of spillages and bad decisions.
Everything you do is important. It is not all about the fun Instagram-perfect memories, it’s everything you do behind the scenes that matters. Motherhood is the fun, but is also the mundane. Motherhood is the highs, but also the lows. Motherhood is the picnics, and also the all-nighters. All the things, big, small, happy, sad, challenging, they all weave into this beautiful journey of motherhood, all of them.
Motherhood is a little bit of everything, so give yourself a break, you’re doing just fine in this gig called motherhood!