This thing, how I spend my days, it’s just motherhood, that’s all. It’s nothing amazing and it has all been done before. This strength, this mountain, this winding road – they are what they are – just motherhood.
They say not to lose yourself in motherhood, but I have. You’ve changed me, little boy. All I am and all I do leads back to you, directly or otherwise; and the line between being me and being your Mother blurred the moment I met you. Or maybe a few hours later – the first moments were mostly filled with ‘wow’ and ‘ow’. You and your beautiful big head.
You’ve altered me wholly and left me lost for words. You and I are just tiny insignificant beings – yet tall like trees, limitless like oceans and exceptional to one another. My heart is splashed across our cuddles on the sofa, echoed in your belly laugh, written in the books we read together, impressed upon the changes to my body. It is everywhere that you are.
But it’s just motherhood. It’s nothing new.
Our connection cannot be shaken, doubted or questioned. My love is big, unreasonable, unshakeable, unfathomable. It is the only thing I know to be completely free from condition. You fill my heart and fill my head and in you I find strength, endurance and love. All this love.
I realised early on that motherhood was hard. It wasn’t the post card I had sent myself and it wasn’t a glossy magazine. This was the practical side though. When there aren’t enough minutes in the day to keep afloat of everything, or when I am bone tired and must count my sleep in minutes.
But the rest – the rest of being your mother – it’s easy, isn’t it? You are so easy to love, to please, to be with. Every day with you I make mistakes, and then often, I make them again. Because I am tired, because I am distracted, because I am not perfect.
It doesn’t seem to bother you though does it? You just keep on keeping on – noisy, demanding and happy – it’s enough for you. For now, we are everything and everything is enough.
So over time, gradually, I am letting myself acknowledge a bit more of the important stuff, letting you and me just be. Beneath the routines, the meals, the clean-ups, the illnesses, the tears and all the questions that knock half-heartedly on my head about development, diet, language, play, independence, behaviour… Beneath it all, a new me is emerging. I am beginning – and only beginning – to understand what it means to be your mother.
And I know that to many it amounts to very little, because when people do things every day, they lose their impact and importance don’t they? Or even if they don’t, we perhaps pretend they do. I’m just a Mum. I’m just looking after my children right now. I’m just performing the most important role of my life – even when I don’t want to.
Some people go out and change the world whilst I’m lost in our little one, but that’s alright with me. I know these ties that bind us will loosen over the years; life will progress and stretch to way beyond our front door and little town, just as it should. So I’m surrendering to these times where you need little more than me, and embracing the small space we have carved out for ourselves in this brimming, busy life. I’ll enjoy just being a mother because whilst raising our little boy may not be world-changing, for me it is life-changing. If that’s what I look back on, that’s really okay. Motherhood is big and bold enough for me.
In my attempts at motherhood so far, I have learnt about me, and your Dad, and our whole family too. I’ve learnt that I need to be so many different parts of a person to be your mother and it is remarkable to me, even if it isn’t to anyone else. I’ve changed, I’ve grown, I’ve regressed. I’ve realised that I can be fierce and determined and unashamed. I’ve recognised that I can be completely wrong and a total nightmare. But I’m your total nightmare, all yours.
So it’s okay if motherhood isn’t enough for others, being your mum is enough for me. Because you see, I know it won’t be too long until my part in your world grows smaller and smaller still. And that will be good, right, healthy and painful.
We’ll have our days apart and I’ll miss the occasional bed time and such. But basically, you’ve got me little one – I’m here. Through our humble adventures and the small, magical moments – I’ll be right beside you. Watching you lean, then lead, then leave.
I guess that’s just motherhood, and it is big and it is extraordinary whether it’s been done once, or a million times before.
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