Summer holidays hit the ground, six weeks alone with three kids and the baby. We drift in to week three, and a calmness reveals manageable patterns, and that I’m still here coping. Feeling too, a closeness to my kids that doesn’t transpire during fragmented school days, with their snatched breakfasts, and tired dinner times uni forming the week.
I’m thinking about how I resisted these six weeks, complained about them, worried about them, fought their very existence. How would I go from managing one at morning nursery and the baby, with a flexible partner on hand to step in when I floundered, to a partner working full time, and all four kids at home? And just my just ragged, bone tired self.
I kept resisting all through the first two weeks, resisted their noise, the inability to limit their volume to normal levels. I resisted the clashing of personalities, the tantrums, the trails of chaos left around the house, pencil collections, dolls, hair clips, incessant fighting over turns on the ipad. Laundry that repeatedly asked not only to be washed, but had the audacity to need to be put back where it came from.
I resisted the birthday, the responsibility of their happiness and that seven was getting too big. Time was going too fast and I wanted to hold on to them as they were. I resisted the fun of the camping trip. Defeated in a camp-site play park, they mastered hanging from monkey bars whilst tired tears of overwhelm and everything being too rushed and too much rolled uncontrollably down my cheeks.
I resisted the kindness of a partner who has the strength to catch me every time I fall. Who offers to do the night feed when I am burned out, who makes me a warm meal when I would survive on toast. Who listens to my frustrations and questions about the future.
I resisted myself, my post fourth baby mum self who no longer wears nail varnish, or has time to brush her hair. Who no longer gets paid to work, but instead resists her values and own choices as not successful enough, not interesting enough. Who worries about not managing, not being enough, not giving enough attention, not being able to give enough love, not always loving each morning when she wakes, but resisting the toils of the day before even stepping foot on the ground.
And the baby. How I’ve resisted my sweet, funny, blue eyed baby girl, for arriving when she did. Resisting her presence by distracting my mind with worries of what I was doing, what career I should be creating, from no where. Willing the months to rush by to a more manageable stage.
I’ve resisted the place where I’ve lived, the choices I’ve made, the people I’ve met, even ones I’ve felt drawn too, but still resisting their friendship not trusting enough. Resisting the possibility of rejection or disappointment.
A whole life made from resistance. For what reason?. We picture our life, our children, a perfect relationship, the time when we ‘get it right’. But the reality is not always how we pictured, and doubt steps in.
Maybe all we need is ‘a’ life, not a perfect one.
Let the baby hold on for ten minutes longer before she falls asleep if she needs to. She’s not holding you back, she’s allowing you to grow. Let them shout and make mess because they are alive and vibrant at this moment. Let your partner be who they are flaws and all. Let your experiences be just what they are, and not ones that you planned them to be.
Be ‘a’ Mother, not the perfect one.
Three weeks in to the holidays, as my partner takes the car off to work, we end up on long walks across the city each morning to reach the community centre where my little ones want to dance.
We’re just walking through the streets, and I’m listening to them talk and laugh and joke. We’re commenting on all the litter left everywhere by the bin men that morning, and practising not bumping in to other people, and stepping over dog mess, and discussing different places in the world. It’s loud, tiring, chaotic, and our legs ache but we keep going.
Time seems to stand still for the first time in months and I feel lighter. I’m no longer resisting. Occasionally they ask me if I know where I’m going and I ask them to trust me. The noisy clatter of us travelling down the city streets, the baby sleeping in the pram, the boys holding hands chatting, my daughter collecting lucky hair bands, sounds beautiful to me now. In this moment, I know that I can find the way, and that this imperfect journey is exactly where I want to be.