The idea vs. the reality
Growing up, I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamed about having a baby one day. In fact, my only nod to acknowledging motherhood at all was finding out how babies were born, aged six, and declaring that I would be having a c-section because doing it the other way sounded hideous. Of course, I since know differently that having a c-section is anything but the easy way out. Actually? All childbirth sucks. We should simply find a way for men to have the babies and leave it at that.
Once I got married and it looked like kids were on the cards, I gave it a bit more thought and considered the type of mother I wanted to be. I’m pretty sure most of us do this, especially once we’re pregnant. Because it’s easy to have all sorts of aspirations when you’re getting eight hours sleep a night and still have only yourself to look after.
I remember thinking that I would always be calm with my children, which is ridiculous really given I wasn’t exactly calm before I had any. I’d also read far too many of those celebrity magazine interviews where the actress cites her wonderful mother, who always smelt of Chanel No. 5, as integral to her success. So I promised myself I would wash my hair and wear perfume every day, so that if they ever became famous and were interviewed, they wouldn’t say, ‘My mum used dry shampoo because she never washed her hair and she smelt of broccoli.’
I was so concerned with what sort of mother I wanted to be, I actually wrote a list when my first daughter was a few months old. There are 17 things on this list. 17! If I wrote this now there would probably be just one. A mother who doesn’t shout quite so much.
Because the truth is, none of us are the mothers we thought we’d be. We thought we’d be much better, naturally. Before kids, we told ourselves we’d always be patient and not raise our voices. TV would be limited to half an hour a day, we wouldn’t use our phones or tablets to entertain and we’d never resort to bribery in any shape or form. Every meal would be made lovingly from scratch and our kids wouldn’t even try junk food until they were teenagers. Instead, we’d bake fresh cookies for a treat and have a tidy and ordered home. In between doing crafts with our kids and stimulating them with a variety of activities. Obviously.
Then we had a baby. And maybe another one or two after that. And we forgot how to get dressed. Or where we’d left our keys and our purse. Life became about survival, especially in those early years. We broke almost every unrealistic promise we made ourselves and we let ourselves feel bad about it.
Until we realised, one ordinary day, that our kids don’t really care about all that stuff. They just want to feel safe and loved and sometimes that comes in the shape of an easy dinner of fish fingers and peas, or a cuddle on the sofa with a DVD, whilst everyone (especially us) takes a moment to recharge. So yes, maybe my kids will say ‘mum wore dry shampoo and smelt of broccoli’ but as long as they know that I loved them to the moon and back, I’m okay with that.
In fact? I’m more than okay with that.
Featured Image via Pinterest.