5 Things I Really Hate About Motherhood… and a couple I really love
While my husband was interstate for work recently, I sent a text to a friend. “Doing this gig alone has given me time to reflect on just how much I don’t enjoy motherhood.”
I sent it as a joke. But then I sat with my statement for a little while, tossing it around in my head, to figure out just how truly it resonated. Eleven days of solo parenting was definitely skewing the results. Still, on some level, I had to admit that there is so much of motherhood I don’t enjoy.
So, I made a Top 5 list!
1. Dealing with sibling arguments
Nothing makes me crazier than hearing the kids fight. It’s the pitch of their voices, the intermittent screaming and the inevitable crying. I find it almost impossible to block it out and let them sort it out for themselves. And when I do, nine times out of ten, they’ll drag me into it anyway. I have no patience for refereeing who had the red car first. He’s teasing and she’s copying and I’m hiding because I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE.
2. Listening to kids whine
It’s the age-old parenting problem. We need to set boundaries. Kids need them. You can’t say yes to treats every time they ask! But saying no and sticking to your guns unleashes a torrent of whining. Moral of the story: my kids get treats most days.
3. Constant food requirements
School lunches. Dinners that everyone will eat. Multiple course breakfasts when I’ve barely had a chance to stuff down two spoonfuls of yoghurt myself. And then the snacks. All the f$%king snacks. I used to quite enjoy cooking. USED TO.
4. Going places with kids
Taking one kid somewhere? Great. Enjoyable even. Even two is okay. But wrangling three kids, trying to keep an eye on each of them, buckling them into the car, getting them out again, directing them safely across roads – I find all of it stressful. Even the simple act of walking somewhere together is fraught with difficulty because no-one can walk at the same pace. The eldest must rush ahead, the youngest must dawdle, and who knows what the hell the middle child is doing?
5. Bathtime / Bedtime
Wet kids, hair-washing aversions and my own flagging energy make the night-time routine tricky. Then there are arguments about which books to read, who will sit next to Mum and I can’t see the pictures! Freedom is so close, I can taste it, but though I can barely keep my own eyes open, the kids just simply cannot get to sleep because it’s too bright/ too dark/ too scary / sibling is breathing in an annoying way, Muuuuuuuuum!
Things I Love About Motherhood
And then for balance, I decided to think about the things I do love about motherhood. Because I really do love it. I started writing down moments and they’re so nice to reflect on.
Lately, I am loving:
My eldest and I lying side by side in bed reading his school reader. He is so fascinated by the world and I love to view it through his eyes.
Singing in the car with my pre-schooler daughter. I watch her in the rear-view mirror as she squints her eyes and balls her fists with the emotion of the song.
On the rare occasions I make a dinner that everyone eats and ENJOYS, it gives me such a buzz. And it’s not the same as watching them scoff down take-away pizza. Knowing I have cooked wholesome food that is now in their little bellies feels like winning something.
My daughter telling me she loves me “in the moon.” Am assuming this is the same as “up to the moon.”
Those moments of quietly observing your kids and marvelling at the way their personalities are unfolding. Who will you become, child of mine? What does the future have in store for you and will you keep me along for the ride?
The hugs. No matter what, I always love the hugs.
I am trying so hard to lean in at the moment and sometimes this means working against an incredible urge to lean way, way out instead.
Motherhood is challenging – it’s okay not to love every moment. But paying attention to the sweet moments, well, that makes everything worth it.