I was sitting on the beach watching my three kids play chasey at the water’s edge and for one brief moment everything felt perfect.
The meltdowns, the whinging, the squabbling, the worries, the chaos; it all faded away and I had an epiphany: “Maybe this is actually what its all about.”
You see I have this pervading feeling. Even after nearly 11 years of this parenting caper, I’m not sure I’m cut out for it.
But the problem with parenting is that you can’t opt out. Well, most of us can’t anyway.
Unlike anything else we may take on in our lives, when it comes to being a mother there is no going back. If you have a job you don’t like, you can quit. If you have a relationship that is no longer working, you can leave. You can change countries, change your hair, heck, you can even get a tattoo removed these days if it no longer tickles your fancy. But when you bring a life into this world – that’s it. They are your responsibility, not matter how much you want to run away some days.
I can hear the trolls say: “But you chose to have them.” “You chose to have THREE of them!”
Which is very true. But do any of us really know what we are getting into when we sign up for babies? It all seems like such a good idea at the time.
When we set out to have kids we think we know the deal. We know kids are demanding and expensive. We know that it will be hard work.
But I’m not sure any of us realise exactly HOW demanding, expensive and hard raising small humans actually is.
I never thought I would worry about my children to the degree I do. I never thought I would feel this massive burden of being responsible for growing healthy, happy, well functioning humans.
I’m just so scared I’m going to screw it up.
Plus, I’m so very tired. And so very overwhelmed. I’m so very tired of feeling overwhelmed.
Of course, none of that helps me be a very good mother, let alone human. I’m narky and stressed. And who bears the brunt of this? The people I love and cherish most, who also happen to be the ones I’m so focused on taking care of.
Like so many mothers, I am completely emotionally invested in my children. However, lately I’m questioning if I am emotionally invested in myself to the same degree.
Some small consolation is that I know I’m not alone. But that also makes me feel sad that as mothers we find ourselves in this predicament.
We want nothing but the best for our children but in the same vein, we desperately crave (and need!) what’s best for us, whatever that might be.
Personally, I don’t know any more. I think in trying to care for my children, and helping them grow into the amazing people they are, I’ve lost myself.
I no longer know who I am apart from “Mum”. And despite being passionate about being their mum, I know it’s not all I am. And it’s not all I want them to see me as.
Especially when I often don’t feel cut out for the role.
When it comes to working on myself (something else I can’t run away from), I’ll keep chipping away.
In the meantime, I’m going to cling to moments like my kids playing chasey on the beach. It’s these things that keep me going, picture perfect moments in time strung together like a lifeline to get me through this crazy journey.