Naked and wet I bound down the stairs, I solider through the piles of toys on the floor, shrieking out in pain as a triceratops pierces my foot. I fall, but I’ve reached the baby and pull him as calmly as I can into my chest. Soothing him with a song whilst my eyes glare fury at my eldest son. I know he’s pushed the baby over, hard.
My stomach is bearing the burden of my suppressed rage “why did you do that?” I growl. Even as I say it, I know it’s a useless question, but like most parents, I say it anyway. It makes me feel better. For that moment blaming my three year old for my lack of supervision relieves my guilt.
It’s my fault and in that moment. I hate myself. I feel like I’ve failed my baby and my toddler. I have yelled at my eldest in a way I never would have dreamt was possible before having another child. I feel inadequate and exhausted. I want it to be easy, I want to do motherhood well.
If intentions raised children, my god I would be the best, but Intentions don’t raise children. Children are not products that go into a machine with a formula and come out the other end with your intended result. Motherhood is messy and at times it can be your own personal hell. Every personal weakness bought to the surface, endless trigger points awaiting their first touch. The bar each day never quite being hit and if by magic you do reach it, somehow that stakes always seem to be raised. Harsh words can be thrown and no amount of cuddles can take them away. They just become another scratch on the skin, another memory to replay on the heroines journey of motherhood.
I want my eldest child to help me beyond his capacity. I just want a shower. Surely after being up all night I deserve a shower? But motherhood doesn’t barter in traditional terms. My legs will remain unshaven, my stomach will require suck in pants, and some days coffee will seem like it’s the only way I can make it through the day.
Despite all of this, I won’t care. I wont care because of the way I feel when I hear that first laugh or witness that first smile. I won’t care because of the first day he takes his first step or eats an entire meal or sleeps in his own bed. Since becoming a mother my life and my daily goals may have become smaller but my heart has grown infinitely larger. Motherhood has taught me the practice of love, and love practiced is what will heal the world.