During motherhood, it can be REALLY challenging to enjoy the present. Motherhood is mostly like this: you, the outnumbered adult, trying to make several small humans do basic, simple, essential things, like: eat vegetables, put shoes on, wear deodorant, brush teeth, use the toilet, shower, get in or out of a car, not kill siblings, etc. And pretty much every time you ask them to do these things, they resist, roll their eyes, have a tantrum, argue, complain, refuse, ignore you, do the complete opposite, etc. Sometimes, I swear they are considerate enough to create a secret roster amongst themselves, and take it in turns to be the bad one that rebels against you. And then other times they are a bunch of jerks and all rebel against you at the same time!!!! I’m sure we all wish it away at times, and on really hard days, maybe several times a day! But I don’t want to regret not making the most of these limited years with my kids at home.
So in an attempt to enjoy motherhood, one thing I do when I say good night to my kids, is to soak in that moment. How do you even ‘soak in a moment’? No, it’s sadly not having a bath in solitude and they would ruin it by wanting to jump in the bath with you anyway! Well, for me, it’s consciously removing the never ending, relentless to do list from my mind, like, emails that need to be sent, dishes and everything else that needs to be done, and just ignoring that nagging to do list for like 30 minutes. Just the way you would temporarily ignore an annoying person! And if you can’t even remember what that feels like, it’s like that feeling you get when you’re away on holiday, so far away from your to do list that you forget what it’s like to have to do anything.
Once I’ve consciously decided to be present, I look around the bedroom. I look around with a fresh pair of eyes, like I’ve never been in there before and notice things that won’t always be there. Like in my youngest daughter’s room: pink sheer curtains, a felt ball rug, baby dolls with ridiculous names, Enid Blyton books, remnants of masking tape from the previous incorrectly spelled sign stuck on the door, a note stuck on the wall with a list of current BFFs in cute handwriting, a basket of the least toxic nail polish I could find at the health shop, a random Mosaic mushroom that she insisted on buying herself for her birthday, and collection of honkey nuts with faces drawn on them that keep appearing no matter how many times I chuck them in the bin!
As I walk out of her room in to the hallway, I notice 1000 dirty footprints on the wall, in fact a visitor today pointed out some upside down black handprints near the ceiling. I mean, why would you want to just simply walk through a hallway, when instead, you could climb the walls through the hallway with your head touching the ceiling, whilst your other siblings run under you?! And knowing that you’ll all be safe because you’re all wearing crocheted beanies to protect your heads from bumping on the ceiling or from someone landing on you.
It’s taking little moments in the day and just really treasuring them, like when your husband plays ninjas with all the kids just before bed. They dress in black clothing, wear ninja masks that they made by tying odd socks together (because pairs of socks are an extinct species in your house) turn out all the lights and creep around in the dark looking for each other, with the smallest ninja accidently bumping in to the bigger ninjas in the dark. And all the while I’m sitting in my room in peace with the light on, because I’m actually terrified of the thought of being attacked by ninjas in the dark, especially if they are my kids!
If you ever ask any old lady what the best time of her life was, it’s when she had children at home. So if all the old ladies loved motherhood so much and say it was the best time of their lives, then it must be. Unless they’ve all gone senile and simply forgotten what it was like? No, surely not all of them could have gone senile, so I’m going to have faith and believe that they are in fact telling the truth!
So amidst the hard work of motherhood, which is making the smaller people do essential things they don’t want to do, which is NOT fun, I’m going to soak in as many precious moments as I can. Because I don’t want to become an old lady and realise that I missed it. I want to imagine my future old wrinkly self, looking back and knowing that I did enjoy some of the best years of my life. If my old self could talk to my younger present self I imagine she’d say: ‘Hey younger me, the best time of our lives are where you are now and I miss them.’ And then she might add: ‘and stop looking at that stupid phone, it was a waste of time and Facebook doesn’t even exist anymore where I am! Look up at your beautiful children instead!’ I wonder what your older self would say to you now? Oh and Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂