I saw one of Miranda’s old Insta posts a few weeks back – yes I was stalking her. Yes this is my full time job now as a stay-at-home-mum – to stalk people’s social media accounts. Stay-at-home-mums pretty much watch TV all day while getting into arguments with strangers on Facebook – that’s how they roll, right?
ANYWAY. That’s another post for another day. Back to Miranda. Gorgeous pic. Unbelievable pins. Cute kid. And great caption too. I agree wholeheartedly - being a mother is the most precious gift.
Mothering the Miranda way – with style dammit. Style.
After feasting my eyes on this work of art photo, I thought to myself, ‘I’ma get my ‘Gram on today too!’ I was walking towards my car at the time. I opened my door, contemplating the cuteness I would soon capture. This is what I saw:
Mothering my way – with caffeine dammit. Caffeine.
Not one, but four empty coffee cups. At first I felt ashamed. I grabbed two of them and rushed to throw them in the bin. But then I stopped, put them back and snapped a picture. Why?
Because some days, this is how my life as a mum looks.
Some days I drink a shitload of coffee because my baby is under the weather, not sleeping properly, and I’m in survival mode. And that’s ok. Beautiful photos of sun kissed mothers with perfectly positioned diamond rings are nice to look at, sure. But the combination of beaming faces, blow-waved hair, and a clean baby lying still and smiling into the camera is the exception not the norm.
Don’t get me wrong - I love being a mum – having my daughter is the BEST thing I have ever done. And I honestly do agree with Miranda, being a mother is truly the most precious gift. But sometimes? It’s crap. So, let’s all take a moment to float back down to earth and take in six examples of that other side of being a mum. You know, the side that doesn’t show up on your Instagram feed.
1. ALL-FUCKING-DAY-SICKNESS. 'They' say the moment your child is conceived, you’re a mum. Pretty cool. Apart from morning sickness. I’m not entirely sure who the fuckity fuck named it ‘morning’ sickness. Mine was ALL DAY sickness and it would spike at random times - like 1am in the morning. I KNOW I am not the only one to have struggled with all-fucking-day-sickness (which is what I will henceforth refer to morning sickness as) – SO many pregnant women I have spoken to have had all-fucking-day-sickness last all day long.
One night, after being woken by my grumbling, unsettled tummy for the third time in a row, I all of a sudden remembered someone saying you should eat something carb-based to soak up the acidity. I didn’t have anything in the house apart from a box of stale cheerios. So I sat in bed stuffing barely crunchy cheerios into my mouth with tears running down my face. Precious? Nope. Hilarious? About a year later I could laugh at myself, yes.
What Insta sees vs. what Insta does not see. Do not be fooled – no-one’s life is perfect. Especially not mine.
2. TODDLER TANTRUMS. My daughter’s just hit the 18 month mark, and it’s a freakin’ cute age. I was looking at her one day and she just seemed older. It’s like it happened overnight. One day she was watching, wriggling, and soaking up information. The next day she was trying to feed herself with a fork, saying ‘I love you’, and my personal fave: chucking epic tantrums over not much at all. Nappy change time? Once a peaceful exercise where I’d tickle and smile at her while she cooed and giggled back at me. Now? Tantrums. And poo. Everywhere. Naptime? Tantrums. Non naptime? Tantrums. Hands me a toy and I take it? Tantrums. I give the toy back? Tantrums. Another child plays with her (or even just their own) toy? Tantrums. Wants to be picked up? Tantrums. Wants me to put her down? Tantrums.
The first time she threw a tanty I literally didn’t know what to do or how to handle it. I still don’t. I just wish someone else would step in and take over when it happens. I make sure I mention it when I drop her off at her daycare once a week and hope they’ll sort it out for me.
3. TEETHING. ‘Nuf said.
4. PEACE = CHAOS. I love the moment a hush falls over the house. So peaceful. But then I realise A HUSH HAS FALLEN OVER THE HOUSE AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE BABY IS. Next comes the frantic bolt into each bedroom during which time graphic images of injured babies flood my mind and I wonder why they don’t make parents undergo special testing designed to weed out the people who are clearly going to be rubbish mothers. Of course the baby is safe. Sort of. I pretty much always find her in the bathroom with a goofy smile on her face and her hand in the toilet bowl. Yes, her hand is always touching the water.
5. PINT-SIZED PICASSO. For this next one, I’ll let this photo do the talking.
6. BROKEN SLEEP. Then there are those special nighttime interactions. The whole neighborhood is asleep, but my cherub and me are engaging in some much needed bonding time. You know, because we barely see each other during the day. The first wake-up sometimes feels nice – I cuddle her until she falls asleep in my arms, and I get off Facebook to gently put her and myself back to bed. But after settling my baby six or seven times in one night, being a mother does not feel like a precious gift. Unless of course your idea of a precious gift is sobbing to your husband and wailing ‘I am so shit at this’ over and over, while he desperately tries to comfort both you and your child.
I was SO excited when I found out I was pregnant. I cried tears of joy when I met my daughter. And I truly, TRULY love being her mum. But I’m not ashamed to admit that some days this job does not feel like a blessing and my daughter does not feel like a precious gift. At all. Some days it’s about making it through without throwing a chair at someone. But then she turns to me, babbles something really cute that I have no chance of understanding, gives me a big smile, and toddles over to her toys to play. I breathe out and thank the universe for the next 3.5 minutes I will have to myself. Even if those 3.5 minutes do not involve shiny purple sneakers and really green grass.