As my 3 year old shot past me totally starkers and my 6 year old’s piercing shriek proclaimed that she had found a slice of ham in her dolls’ house (no idea), I decided, that day, if I didn’t laugh I’d cry.
So I laughed. I found the funny side amidst the chaos and, gathering myself together, found pants for my streaker-in-training, gave the dolls’ house a quick once over with a Dettol wipe (don’t judge me) and managed to get everyone to school/nursery fully-clothed, ham-free and on time.
But there were other days when I didn’t see the funny side. Days when the exhaustion of caring for a breastfed baby as well as two other children left me depleted, blank and truly unable to see the funny side. On those days the ‘if I didn’t laugh I’d cry’ reasoning gave way to tears and I chose to cry.
Some days I don’t see the funny side. Some days I can only see the half-eaten chocolate bar on our fabric sofa, the orange juice spilt on the carpet, the endless nappy-changing, nose-wiping, question-answering, food-making…and I cry.
I don’t cry because I don’t love my children. I don’t cry because I don’t want to be their Mum. I cry because sometimes it’s just really really hard.
It’s hard to have enough of yourself to give to 3 little people 24/7. It’s hard to keep on top of the endless washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning. It’s hard to not get a full night’s sleep night after night for days, weeks, years. It’s hard to hold it all together. It’s hard to smile sometimes.
If we’ve had a tricky day, with lots of whinging, cut knees, broken hearts, sibling rows and rubbing of tired little eyes, I often feel like I have absolutely nothing more to give, and getting the kids to bed that night feels like the most monumental of tasks.
But once it’s done and little heads are softly against a pillow breathing steady little peaceful breaths and silence descends on our house, I’ll sit for a moment (before tackling that ever-growing pile of ironing). And I’ll see a little drawing they’ve done, or a little dandelion they pulled from the garden, or a funny way they’d arranged their toys in an earlier haze of that wonderful imagination only children possess. And I’ll feel a pang in my heart. I’ll be filled with the love and appreciation that the day just past didn’t grant me the time to feel.
And I will smile at their funny little picture with its scrawly misspelt caption, and laugh at how I find Mummy Pig driving Postman Pat’s van with Thomas the tank engine in the passenger seat. And there, in that one little moment, I see the funny side again. I see the joy and the beauty and the fun of these amazing children.
It’s hard being a Mum and it’s hard to always paste on a smile and pretend everything’s ok. But hang on in there Mums because you are irreplaceable. And even if you don’t always see the funny side, even if you find ham in places in your home where ham should never be….remember, there is a little person, who put that ham there, that loves you more deeply and more fiercely than any love you’ve ever known.
Keep going Mums. Keep going.
Jemma is the creator of Popcorn for Lunch
Website – http://popcornlunch.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/popcornforlunch/