Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Women get it
You know what I have found to be the hardest part of Motherhood? The culmination of it all.
It's not the fact that I have to clean the house. Yes, sometimes I loathe cleaning, there are days when I would rather throw the dirty washing in the bin than have to wash the clothes, hang them on the line, get them off the line, fold them, put them away, and then repeat the whole process two minutes later. But it's not the cleaning.
It's not the fact that my children are tiny masters of destruction, who seem to spend their days on a search and destroy mission. It's not the constant squabbling, or fighting, and the fact that their behaviour needs consistent correction. It's not the fact that their safety and well-being is a heavy weight in my mind. It's not the whining or the poopy nappies. All that stuff is incredibly draining. But it's not my children.
It's not even all the extra stuff, the dog needing to go to the vet, the grocery shopping, and the bill paying and the tradesmen calling. It's not the wifely duties, and working to be a loving, attractive, supportive mate. It's not the friendships, or the commitments or the life stuff.
But when you add it all together, it becomes too much.
You know, the other morning I very nearly punched my husband in the nose. (It was a near miss, I'm telling you) On Sunday mornings he leaves for church at 8am for music practice, and sometimes I go too (and the kids go to my Mum's) but more often than not, I stay at home with the kids to get us ready, and we see him at church at 9:30am (-ish). This past Sunday he ducked home at 9am to quickly pick something up. He found me vacuuming the kids bedroom, and I was treated to a lovely little 'talk' about time management and priorities. I kept my mouth firmly shut.
Sure, to Shane, it probably did look like I was faffing about on unimportant chores. I will freely admit that organization and time management is not my strong suit. But what he didn't see, was the fact that in the hour he had been gone I had; fed the small children, made the bed, put a load of washing on, laid out the clothes for church and had a discussion with my daughter about the merits of the pink dress verses the blue spotty one, done the dishes, changed a nappy, put a small boy in the shower because said nappy was so disgusting, dressed two children, and I was just vaccuming before I got myself showered dressed so that when we got home it could be a nice day of rest with NO CLEANING!!!
( By the way, you can be damn sure I was not late for church that particular Sunday morning)
The thing that gets to me the most, and the thing that is nearly impossible to explain to men, is that it's the day-to-day stuff that drags you down. It's trying to get the heavy pram in and out and in and out of the car. It's trying to have any kind of meaningful conversation while you are distracted by the small people. It's the fact that everything is such a production. The fact that you are always busy, yet you seem to achieve nothing, and there are so many annoying little impediments in your way.
It's like you're running the race of life, and suddenly you become a Mother, and the track that you used to go on without too much fuss and bother, is suddenly littered with obstacles and minefields, and as you go along, you are supposed to carry these small humans around with you, plus, the course has been transformed so that it is ten times longer and harder and you have no clue how you are supposed to navigate it. It's a marathon that appears to be endless, and even the pit-stops are filled with obstacles, and the tiny humans never leave you.
It's when the idea of something so simple as a trip down to the store for milk can fill you with dread. Because once upon a time, you used to get in the car, drive downtown, go to the store, purchase the milk, and come home. But now, you have to corral the tiny humans, change a nappy, make them presentable, find shoes/underwear/hair clips/sanity, shepherd them to the car, and "No Charlie, don't eat that rock!" "Yes Georgie, that is a big puppy." "Please don't hit your sister!" "Sit down, in your own seat". Then you drive to the store listening to 'The Wiggles Greatest hits', and you have to get the tiny humans out of the car, and stop them from running on the road, and get them inside, and put them in a trolley so they don't run away from you in the store.
Then you've got to locate the milk, and keep it intact until you can make it to the checkout, all the while stopping a little boy from 'helping' you put other items in the trolley. You get to the checkout, and you need to pay for your milk, while you are simultaneously encouraging your children to be polite to the checkout lady, and convincing your daughter that you will not be taking a lollipop home. After that you need to safely navigate a course back to the car, strap them in their car-seats while listening to a refrain of "But I don't want to go home Mummy, I want to go to the park!" Then you drive home again, and have to get the small children out of the car and herd them back to the house. Hopefully you remembered to bring the bottle of milk inside too.
It makes me tired just thinking about it.
Don't get me wrong, I love my children, I would die for them. But living with them is sometimes very, very taxing. I chose this, and I would choose it again in a heartbeat. But that doesn't mean that I have to find it easy, or love every moment of it. It is long, and it is hard. It is filled with joy, and sunshine and rainbows and lollipops and happiness. It will fulfill you in a way nothing else can. But it will also be unrelenting, and never-ending, and you will often feel like you are running on a treadmill where the speed is set just a little bit too fast for you.
I love my husband, with all my heart. I would not trade places with him. I am glad for all that he does, and I am so, so grateful for the burden he has taken upon himself so that I can have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home Mum. He is my fortress, my rock, and my anchor. But the thing about anchors is that they are often flipping immovable. And they are frequently far too busy being all anchor-like to give much thought or understanding to what's going on in the rest of the boat.
Sometimes it's just really nice to know that other women get it.