I have a beautiful 6 week old baby, a gorgeous handful of a one year old and a precociously funny 4 year old…my hands are well and truely full, yet why isn't it enough?
Why do I feel I have to tell everyone that asks that I was made redundant, that I didn't choose this stay at home motherhood? Why do I have to mention that I have "no choice" but to be full-time carer to this brood?
Why is "just being a mother" good for other people? Why do I oogle over other families lives? Why do I love hearing about how other mothers spend their time? Why do I find such value and nourishment in hearing about what other people do, admiring the pace of their lives…whilst all the while devaluing my own?
The lovely Rebecca sent me a fantastic old crochet magazine and in her letter she wrote about this important work we do, raising humans. When I read it, I agreed…in my head. Logically, I know that this is my place, that it is important and incredibly valuable work, but my heart betrays me.
I feel like such a failure. Like I should be doing something else. I should be contributing more to my family–as if working tirelessly night and day isn't enough. As if constantly cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry and playing and feeding and changing isn't work. I am more tired in the evenings than I ever was as a civil servant, and yet as I sit at the end of the day, why do I feel like I've done nothing?
Why do I scurry around at 4pm to make the house look just a little bit better, so Kevin doesn't think I am lazy, even though I only sit down to feed Theo and I rarely even go to the loo?
I write a blog, I take pictures, I knit…small things. In my particularly self destructive moments, I wonder why I even bother. "If you can't be the best at something, why do it?" the voice in my head says. Other voices tell me that its all pointless, nothing dramatic happens here, why would anyone care? Its "just a mummy blog" and my life isn't even that interesting, to me at least.
Maybe its the fault of a society that values work outside the home and devalues stay at home moms. As a politically active feminist in the late '90s and early 00's, I was told that we could have it all. We could work and have kids and burn some bras all at the same time. Motherhood wasn't mentioned, except to lament all of those poor oppressed stay at home moms, who refused to "have it all".
Maybe its just that I am not cut out for this.
More likely, it is the normal ebb and flow of life that means that sometimes the grass just looks greener. There are hard days and easy days and good days and bad days. And days when I feel like a failure and days when I feel like a hero to the under 4 crowd. I wish that I could say this is what I always dreamt about, that this is always what I wanted to be when I grew up…
But for now, I just need to work harder at enjoying– to take it all in and see the beauty that is here, not the promise of elsewhere.
And to recognise that enough is, quite simply, enough.