“Time is how you spend your love.”
― Zadie Smith
The morning I found out I was pregnant I had a killer hangover. I had been drinking beer all night at our usual beach bonfire party (though the night of the week could have easily been a Monday) and when I woke up I just knew something was different. I dragged my seedy ass over the rice fields (and fell at least once into the mud) to get to my friend Z’s house and climbed into her bed… ‘I’m pretty sure I’m pregnant and I have no idea what to do,’ I whispered to her as she slept. She was out of that bed in about three minutes. The thing was, I was unmarried, I was living in a muslim village and as such I had absolutely no access to any kind of pregnancy test. Z had it sorted though, I’m not sure exactly how she did it, I’m sure backpackers and bribes were involved, but she ended up in my house a few hours later with a pregnancy test. The pregnancy wasn’t planned. I wasn’t sure of anything except when I saw those little lines on that little paper dipstick I knew one thing… well several things… firstly that I had to stop drinking and secondly that I was all in on this motherhood thing.
But motherhood didn’t come as easily to me as pregnancy did.
In fact, I’ve been plagued by the never ending love and guilt and fear and unbelievable responsibility that is motherhood since the moment I found out I was pregnant.
I’ve watched so many of my friends become mothers and get lost in the same cycles of fear and guilt and grief and joy and exhaustion that I am starting to truly believe is just the universal experience of having the person you love most in the world drive you crazier than you have ever been in your entire life. When your life is no longer truly yours anymore because it is suddenly ruled by a tiny tyrant who demands that you never sleep or shower alone, who demands so much more than you often have to give and yet somehow you find it because you have to because you want to… even when really you just want to go to sleep and not be touched but instead you play my little pony and you paint tiny fingernails with glittery nail polish and save all of your toilet rolls just to make multicoloured jellyfish to hang under the table in an underwater sea world.
You give more of yourself that you ever imagined possible and you do it every single day whilst trying to swallow the fear that you are totally fucking it up and the desire from time to time to pack a bag and leg it out of there because man this shit is hard but moreso than hard sometimes it’s just really, really relentless.
I mean seriously, I have to make dinner again, didn’t we just do that?!
There are just so many choices that we are supposed to make about so many things and there is so much shame and guilt and there is a lot of judgement in the land of mothering… but the simple truth is, if you care enough to be scared you are fucking it up, you are probably doing a fucking wonderful job. Because wanting to do the best by your child is how you make the best decisions, and we all have shit days and we all make bad calls and we all do the things we said we would NEVER do.
So, here’s to being a mother who is totally flawed, honest, caring, terrified and doing the very best that you can at least most of the time.
If your kid knows they are loved and is safe and you all made it through the day in relatively one piece… you’re doing a stellar job. Who cares if you ate cereal for dinner again.
I’m not much for hallmark holidays and think mums (and dads) should be recognised every day of the week for doing their best and somehow making the seemingly impossible somehow possible every-single-day. Regardless, Happy Mothers Day to the mums and dads and extended family and awesome humans who are mothering kids… I’m not one for fluffy socks or dressing gowns with bunnies on them, and I certainly have enough mugs, but if you’re into those things I hope you are suitably adorned in fluff and macaroni necklaces right now – but more than that I hope each and every one of you had at least one moment where you felt like you weren’t totally losing the plot.
Like my dad said in his text to me for Mothers Day… ‘you are not f….ing this up’
You’re 100% doing a hell of a lot better than you think you are. x