On being a Mum

It’s funny, being pregnant again after so long there’s been all this STUFF that I had forgotten about. Sure, there’s the constant wind, the need to wee every 45 minutes or so. That un-relentless sickness that I had for so many months. And then there’s the other stuff that I forgot about. Stuff that you tend to forget about, or that just fades away as your kids get older. You don’t realise that it stops…it’s just slowly over time your children get more independent and so many things that suffocate and worry you when you mother small kids (under 4) that just disappear.

Things like sleep deprivation. And tantrums. And putting out fires. Teaching. Showing patience. So much patience needed! All that hard core exhausting parenting stuff slowly fades away and sure, is replaced with more tricky stuff, different kinds of fights and fires and tantrums, but just less EXHAUSTING stuff. Less physically draining stuff.

But like Celine once said, it’s all coming back to me now.

I’m starting to remember all of the things. Huh. The sheer level of frustration and exhaustion that can come from dealing with small kids. What it feels like to be pregnant. The reliance that small kids have on their mothers unlike older kids when the parenting gig evens out a bit with your partner. Pregnancy is a good reminder for an old timer like me just how things are going to change. The toll on me, my body, as the Mum…with raising small kids it is just ALL about the Mum. I’d forgotten just how much. How at times that need and reliance can feel so damn unfair. And suffocating. It’s all coming back to me now.

I’d forgotten just how angry it can make me feel. That unfairness. That uneven workload that falls on Mums. And the fact that at the end of the day there’s never going to be a fucking ticker tape parade for you…no matter how much you have got done. It’s a thankless job, being the Mum of really small kids.

But then there’s this.

IMG_5034

All that. SO much.

More than anyone could ever wish for in life. Pure love. The connection between a Mum and her child that starts with those first kicks inside the belly, the screaming as that life leaves your body into the world, the quiet feeding in the middle of the dark night, just the two of you. The squealing with joy and pride as they take their first steps, reach all their milestones and eventually loosen their grip on your hands as they head out into the world on their own.

No, there’s no parade, no medal ceremony, no tally of what you’ve done versus your partner. But there’s all that.

And that’ll do.

If you’re parenting small kids, dig deep, stand strong, and KNOW that this stuff will get easier. Well less exhausting at least. Parenting is a never ending set of challenges and joys as the waves come in…see some out, ride some in. And for those parenting bigger kids, remind me again, WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Oh yes. Baby. BABY!

Comments

  1. Those baby kicks inside your belly are the most amazing thing in the entire world. Sometimes I feel a bit sad I’ll never feel those again, but then I remember the varicose veins I got in my vajayjay during my second pregnancy and I reassume my no-more-kids-for-us resolve.

    I’ll live vicariously thorough you instead! xx

  2. Well said Beth. Lots of challenges as they get older too. Just different. Not as physically demanding but still emotionally draining. Don’t think we ever stop being a parent and worrying.

    • I so agree, Nikki. It isn’t ever easy, the challenges just change with time. I will never suggest to anyone that their stage of life with kids is “easier” than another.
      Now, with my own teens, I get that my parents STILL do worry over their middle aged kids!

    • Congrats to you and your amazing efforts on this big day…that tantruming 2 year old now a beautiful, confident, happy 18 year old. I can only hope my girls turn out as well x

  3. With my kids now 14 and 15 (how’d THAT happen?) I can attest to the fact it does get easier. A couple of my friends have just had babies and I forget how heavy they are!

    • Ha! Yes! All that carrying…I had forgotten that too!

      • Yes but it tones your arms up good! I didn’t realise how weak (and flabby) my arms had got until we went back to baby 9 years later. Today I can testify my arms are strong again and lookin’ good. LOL!

  4. yes! … so true beth! … and I hear nikki!
    it’s challenging to say the least! … the good, bad and ugly rearing it’s head … but!
    a gorgeous photo of you and your daughter! … for moments like that … priceless!
    enjoy your day! … love m:)X

  5. Oh Beth you have made me cry hot angry tears all over my keyboard. I am the mother of an 8, 5 and 2. And the two, she is just my everything but she is also everywhere. All the time. She can’t be more than a metre from me and geez sometimes I feel like I do EVERYthing. Cooking, cleaning, working, parenting and no, there’s no parade and no medal. In fact, sometimes when you forget to do something like buy the right yoghurt there’s criticism. So this morning your post came at just the right time because of course you are right. My 8 year old reminds me it gets so much less taxing. But the two year old. Phew.

    • I am REALLY properly scared of the two. I mean the two is exactly why there is a 5 year age gap between the last two because I just didn;t know if I had it in me. Still don’t. Too late now. SHIT x

      • You do. You will. It will be hard but at least you know it will be worth it in the end. And you’ll have two other little mothers in the house and that actually really helps. They’re often more helpful than the father!

  6. As I sit, pregnant with bub no 3 with 2 little ones sitting on me eating hydrolyte, I look forward to the days of a little more independence (aka vomiting not on mum!).

  7. This year has been the hardest of my life. Tiredness, colic, prem baby, renovation, moving, toilet training, teething….but then my kids smile at each other. Heart melts. All fixed x

  8. My eldest turns 18 next week, about which I seem to be an emotional wreck. It’s making me long for those sweet chubby hands reaching up for Mum cuddles… Enjoy every moment Beth xx

  9. It’s a great arm work out, that’s for sure. My 11 kegger won’t be off me for a second at the moment. I’m all ‘practice your walking’ and he’s all ‘PICK ME UP NOOOOOOW!!!!!’ Haha! And the tantrums……holyshitballsbatman….. I wasn’t expecting them at 12 months old, I must say. Certainly not already flipping on the ground or storming into another room. Already?! Hold me.

    • Gosh, this sounds like us!! Except ours is 15 keggers (!! My god, you should feel my guns!) and only just working out the walking thing. So, so heavy, clingy and tantrumy. Have definitely hit the tantrum stage earlier than I was expecting. Preggers with number 2 is draining me, and Beth’s words resonate with me… I just need to remember that it will get easier.

    • Ha!

  10. Thanks for this Beth. I just love how relatable your writing is. I am thick in the fog of a nearly 5 year old, a 3 year old and an 18 month old who refuses to walk and I have to haul his 12kg butt up onto my 29 week preggo belly. Yep, I get my fair share of comments when I’m out and about now I’m really out there pregnant!

    Most days are great with my tribe but some are torture!! But I do repeat this to myself fairly often
    “The days are long, but the years are short, don’t wish them away”. I know that these years will pass and I will miss all the things I moaned about.
    Xo

  11. Exactly what I needed to read right at this moment. thankyou! With a 2.5yr old and 8 minth old I am sooooo right there in the thick of it x

  12. Beth that’s just what I needed to read this morning! I have a two and a half year old boy who is testing me at the moment and making me question myself and what I’m doing, it’s bloody hard and my patience is not the best! However at night when he says “love you very much” it makes it all worthwhile. A big high five to all your readers who are Mums!!!

  13. It so bloody hard Beth, but you’re right, it’s so worth it. I had an 8 year gap between my two boys and boy did i forget! And the sleepless nights, complete tiredness! I hear ya! My little guys is now 3… I am only now feeling like I am human. But I wouldn’t have changed a thing.oxox

  14. Loved every word. Parenting is challenging at all stages but definitely more exhausting with little ones. Teens give you greys and have you up in the middle of the night for other reasons. X

  15. Oh yes, this has been on my mind a bit lately – it’s wearing thin, this being the milk truck and all. I just wish one morning/night my husband could go and deal with the hungry baby. Or that her tiniest little whimper would jolt him awake like it does to me. Because even if he does get up to her, I’m wide awake anyway, so it kind of defeats the whole purpose, then we’re just both awake?! The all encompassing love back would be good too, at this age she’s still a bit ‘meh’ about the whole loving me thing, I can’t wait until she can cuddle back!

    • Won’t be long and she’ll be coming and giving you kisses and cuddles, and it’s freaking awesome! I totally understand about feeling like a milk truck but honestly, I miss breastfeeding. Such a unique closeness that your husband can never experience. My husband recently told me he was actually jealous! Hang in there xx

    • I hear you Emma…I HATE that wide awake thing. HATE IT.

  16. Throughout this pregnancy I have often wondered why I am going back to the beginning again.
    But I also know that the first year or so of complete dependence goes by so quickly…before you know it they are real little people.

    I often catch myself when C is saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.”
    After saying “Yes C?” about ten times, my instinct is to scream “What do you want?”
    But then I realise that I am actually his mom…and that is such a privilege

  17. Oh Beth! Big boy is 12 now and after a 10yr gap… boy did we FORGET!! Then blessed with beautiful twincesses!! Now 2.5yrs! SLAP! WAKEUP IT AINT A DREAM!!!! but… then there is that moment… the luvumum….. and luvusomuch and the look… sooooo worth it… now its so much fun……. most of the time 😉

  18. Like you Beth, I was so bloody sick with Moo. For nine months. I got made redundant under dubious circumstances, developed PND and then got bipolar. So this is why I only have one child, so I may have forgotten a lot of what it is like to be pregnant. I couldn’t do it again but it was worth it the first time around.

  19. It is a total journey.. as Nikki says, one that never ends but changes. I lust for the feeling of being pregnant again, even giving birth (mine were fast) then I recall how hard my raising them was with no available family close by to share the load.

    I love my kids independance but hate that they argue with me like my toddlers never did. I think your timing is perfect with little helpers yet both at school so you get to have the newborn time solo alot.. enjoy the ride lovely, it is a gift we should cherish

  20. Sophisticated Mumma says

    (As I once again scream to my 1 year old to sit down in his highchair before he falls out!) I’d like to offer words of encouragement. You will treasure every single moment! Honestly you will. It gets harder as you get older, no doubt about it but you just get by…somehow. Nature has a way doesn’t it? I had my youngest at 40 and had the healthiest pregnancy of all my 4. Best of luck! 🙂

  21. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I agree Beth but it is always hard maybe not so physically demanding but mentally you are still so needed and there is so much to worry about but it’s all worth it and when the grow up they may get you beautiful cards like mine do that say so much and how much they appreciate you Xx

  22. Yep.
    I always use the analogy of travel for parenting. There’s always so much boredom, frustration, exhaustion and shit happening. SItting on planes, stress of queues and immigration and delays. Losing luggage and no sleep. And then, there is the moment of amazing, incredible joy, that makes you go through all the boredom, frustration, exhaustion and shit to experience it again.

  23. I write this from the trenches. I’m lying on my bed with my four month old, settling her for what feels like the hundredth time this afternoon cos she is oh so tired. Thinking of all the stuff I need to do. Then this post pops up on my screen, tears roll down my face and it all becomes clear again. This is the only place i need to be, the only thing I ‘need’ to do. These days are fleeting, and golden, and just when I needed a reminder that my baby needs her mama, it came. Thank you Beth! And guess what? She’s asleep. xx

  24. Thankyou! Needed this, been a long hard week in the trenches week with my 1 and 3 year olds. Had a huge fight with my husband about who has a harder job and needed to hear this to remind me that it’s a thankless, but amazing privilege. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou xx

  25. I hear you loud and clear…but you should try parenting special needs kids…then you will feel the burden of complicated motherhood like no other. The sheer work load of teaching all those things that happen naturally for most kids and the feeling that you never made it out of the terrible two’s even 10 years later…..now that’s a bugga of a job even with shared parenting. This too shall pass….for some of us though it’s very protracted! But we love them as mothers do and we keep given even when we are dry. Lucky we get to be mother’s wouldn’t swap this gig because somewhere there is a lesson we are learning and just maybe it will be the making of us and them…

  26. Oh I think you’re in for a treat! It took me over 3 years to decide I had emotionally and physically recovered from the trauma of having my first two 18 mths apart ( now 4 and 6), but boy was it worth it! We’re tight. My now 18 mth old is such a joy giver. Also I think you’re so much more confident 3rd round. As for the sleep dep, mine have all been shocking sleepers. But this time round I just slept with no. 3 from day 1.. We still do. Makes such a big difference! Enjoy the ride! X

  27. my husband complains that our two year old boy doesn’t give him nearly as many cuddles or kisses as he does to me or with nearly as much love & adoration. I tell him it’s the only reward I get for all the God damn bullshit that goes with patenting a toddler basically by myself (husband is a farmer, works all. The. Time.). It’s my reward for dealing with disasters such as mixing the margarine & Vegemite together when spreading them on the salada. Yep, don’t dare mix them together, almighty meltdown will follow. Vegemite MUST be a visible layer in the marge, for F sake!!
    Cuddles & kisses & love & adoration. It’s just enough to make it worth it. Just.

  28. Had the worse day ever with my nearly five year old who is developmentally like a two year old because of disability. Man, it was bad and I had to carry him a lot of the day to get him out of danger or just out of sight from others because of his behaviour (screaming, throwing drink bottles, he even bit my arse at the markets when I was talking to someone else, true!)
    Anyway, come the afternoon, he swam on his own for the first time at swimming lessons. Those little legs kicking and arms paddling and the look on his face!
    All was forgiven…my boy can swim!

  29. Oh lordy… I’ve got a 4 year old, a nearly 18 month old and am 3 months pregnant with number 3. There is going to be so many little people at once. I’m tired and the baby isn’t even here! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect.I am daunted by the constant fatigue a newborn brings and the snappiness that I can’t control. The staleness that infect me as I battle through the days and makes me less of a vibrant, nice, fun mother to the the toddlers. Yet they’re so forgiving. They’re so loving regardless and think so highly of us as mothers. There is so much beauty in that. It’s all worth it in the end.

  30. Thank you! I really needed this! We have just had the worst few months. Since Septembr my (now) 20 month old has been sick back to back (daycare is a cesspit!) with bronchiolitis, middle ear infections, hand foot and mouth (which he shared with me) and viral infections leading to secondary lung infections. On top of that my husband has been stressed with work, working long hours and travelling OS a lot. It’s been SHIT! I literally cracked this week and broke down in tears (unable to talk, screwed up face hysterical crying) when my superior at work casually asked how I was going. Thank god we were alone in his office! I needed to hear that things do get easier. Thank you xx

  31. I have a 2.5 year old and 10 month old, I am so so exhausted and cannot wait for the day I can at least go to the toilet on my own

  32. My ‘baby’ is only 16 months old but I already want to go back again. I think my brain has just deleted all the bad stuff (the carpel tunnel, sciatica, psd and pupp rash) and all I can think about is wanting to feel those little flutters inside me again. I can’t imagine going back after a big gap though, I’d be too attached to my sleep I think.

  33. I’m now a blubbering mess – I really needed this today, so thanks x

  34. All this, Beth. Mothering is relentless, but somehow we don’t really mind. x

  35. This made me get all teary and nostalgic – love it! I had a six year gap between my first and second child, and it was all such a shock doing it all over again, almost like it was the first time. Then I had number three quite soon after and completely lost my mind.

    My third (and final!) baby is now two and I find myself clinging to all the little things that make her a baby: the chubby arms, the middle of the night cuddles, the need to be carried…I’m sure I’m going to keep her a baby until she’s 27.

  36. Oh I remember that all too well. Now that my girls are growing into young ladies, I know I could never go back to the baby stage again. You just know when you are done. But there are times that I miss, that lovely new baby smell, the never ending cuddles *sigh*….

  37. Oooh I. Want. Another Baby….. Bit of a tantrum there,but I do.And for sure you are having another lovely little girl.

  38. The love and cuddles are amazing but the work is relentless. I have three under 4 and it’s crazy busy but it’s crazy beautiful too. You will soar Beth. You will try to memorise each memory knowing it’s the last time because this babe is your last. You will get through. You just do. X

  39. I’m dreading the day when my little 4yo limpet doesn’t need to be near me anymore. Drives me crazy at times but it’s so lovely to hear him say (on the rare times I get to leave him for a stretch of time) “mummy I missed your cuddles”… My big 8yo only checks in occasionally these days, so I know the snuggly boy will not be around forever. Thankfully I’ve got one more who’s almost one so there’s still a few years of exhausting bliss to enjoy.

  40. I am mid dealing with a cracker two year old tantrum now (currently on the naughty step) and I’ve just dodged a bowl of cheerios hitting my head!! But those the moment they need you – like really really need you, it’s all worth it. Oh and just by the way, third kids are the BEST – that feisty independence! WOWZERS!! xxxx

  41. I am parenting my third 28 week old baby after a 6.5 year gap. My little girl brings so much joy to her big brothers and everyone around. I had forgotten some of the ‘baby stuff’, but, I do know that each phase passes as quickly as it comes, and you know, this gets me through those 2am wake up calls and those days where she is a velcro baby. And I appreciate and cherish it even more.
    * I also have totally shit days too, where I cry and think WTF am I doing this all again for!!!! 🙂

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