- I can’t find time to: shower / clean the house / put the washing away / cook healthy meals / eat / drink / food shop / tend to my relationship / rest / sleep
- That mum over there is: still breastfeeding / so slim so quickly / fresh faced/ coping / reading a book while her baby naps / brave / nailing it
- That other baby over there is: crawling / talking / walking already / happy / not crying / using sign language / feeding itself / sleeping through the night
- My relationship is: going down the toilet / not what it used to be / harder work than ever before / over?
- I can’t: imagine going back to work / not go back to work / leave my baby / have a career and be the mum I want to be / trust anyone else to look after my baby / have it all / control my need to wee
- I’m not: outdoors enough / creative enough with playtime or baby food / brave enough / grateful enough / enough
- I am: alone / lonely / exhausted / done in / restless / anxious / worried / nervous / scared / trying my very best to be everything to everyone and feeling guilty that I’m not / comfort feeding / rocking to sleep / still a mum
- I don’t: know what to do / have all the answers / use what that mummy uses / do what that mummy does / take baby to enough classes / want baby to wake up from their nap yet / know who I am anymore / feel sexy or sexual
- I haven’t: taken baby out of the country yet / learned enough about weaning or childcare options or common illnesses / thought about nurseries or schools / got round to ordering a baby passport / put baby in her own room yet.
- I look: shit / tired / old / different / fat / alien / unrecognisable
- I need to: get through my to do list / think about earning money because I’m broke / make sure baby is stimulated and learning and happy and clean and developing and gaining weight and has EVERYTHING he/she needs at all times / have a day off / be ok with having some time to just myself / stop feeling guilty / ask for help / see my friends / cry
This probably doesn’t even scratch the surface. Madness isn’t it. Utter madness. And completely exhausting.
Because even on our worst days, the days where we ourselves don’t wash or wear clean clothes or eat or ‘have it together’ or we cry and think we might not make it to bedtime. The days where nothing goes right and there’s no one to call or help and we’re ‘failing’. The days where the place is a TIP. The days that roll into the nights where baby is unsettled and our own bodies hurt and plead with us for rest and sleep yet we just can’t stop. When we just don’t know what’s wrong with them so we shuffle around drawers and cupboards trying to find the answer and we call 111 and go through all the questions that leave us more panicked than before. Questions that baffle us and we don’t know how to answer and then feel judged by the person on the other end of the phone because we’re their mother, we should know. The days where the teething granules shoot straight down their throat. The days where you accidentally bite their finger when you’re playing the game that makes them laugh so hard where you pretend to bite their fingers. Even on those days, to them we are still THE BEST.
We are comfort and food and relief and joy and warmth and strong and reliable and warm milk and fascinating and the best toy ever and stories and cuddles and broccoli and porridge and something to pull and gnaw and bounces and rhymes and songs and adventures and tickles and kisses and clean clothes and dry bottoms and their best friend. Their home.
We are more than enough.