You just do it, don’t you?
I went for a walk with a dear friend today and she asked me how on earth I’d managed with Poppi at home, home-schooling, being pregnant and then having a lockdown baby. She then reflected herself and said, well somehow, we just do it don’t we? Whatever life throws at us, as mums/parents, we just have to get on with it. It may not be easy, and to the outsider, it might look horrendous, but there is an inner strength in a mother that gets the job done. I look at others and think the same thing…take twins for example…oh my goodness!! Two newborns at once!! But, I bet, you mothers of twins out there are thinking, well, you just get on with it, don’t you?!
But, despite all this, being the super mum that you absolutely are, we still get all the jip! And what a variety of “jip” we have to put up with. Some of us mummies may have in common and the bothersome smell of milk! When Awena was tiny, it was so much easier for Daf to settle her than me. She’d fuss with me, head butting away and then hurting herself as she flung her head onto my shoulder and so ended up screaming. And all because I smell yummy! For those first-timers out there, and especially those in the early days, I will reassure you that it does get better. However, that doesn’t stop you feeling that the only thing you’re good for is being a milk-producing machine. I hasten to add though, that this means you are keeping your baby alive!
On a quite different note, I imagine another bit of jip us mums face is the messiness of children. I like a tidy house. I’m one of those, clear space, clear mind kind of people and mess, particularly clutter, stresses me out. When Poppi turns around and tells me “I like being messy” and “I want to go and live with Ed and Nome” (two of our good friends who take messiness in their stride) it makes me feel that all my efforts to produce an organised and methodical kid with qualities fit for a job interview have been a waste of time and energy. I regularly have to remind myself that Poppi is only five, she has a lot of life learning to do, and is not lined up for any interviews just yet. There’s still time! In play therapy, we often look at the way children use and leave the room as an external expression of their internal self. I know Poppi’s mind is busy (which is why I think she is so terrible at listening) and her room is most definitely an expression of her creative mind.
So there’s jip from the newborn, jip from the five-year-old, and wait for it, jip from the husband too! Maybe not intentionally, but why is it that it’s the mum that gets left with the task of getting things done? Why is it that dads have all the fun? But, it doesn’t have to be this way! I am learning the art of prioritising. Given, I’m not great at it yet (surely that’s a good interview quality too!), but I am working on it. I am learning that reading a bedtime story to Poppi is more important than doing the dishes immediately after dinner. I am learning that playing a quick game before school is more important than that life admin job I could also quickly get done. I am learning that finding ways to show both Poppi and Awena that I love them is more important than so many other, mundane things. It may be tough being a mum, but the rewards are worth it. We can have fun and use our superpowers to just get it done at the same time!