THE BLOG

This Is Motherhood

14/07/2014 13:55 BST | Updated 12/09/2014 10:59 BST

It's the little things that get me.

The crumbs of toast which seem to be forever smeared around the shoulders of my Tshirts.

The constant game of trying to cram toys into boxes which are too small for our too many plastic belongings.

The folding and putting away of tiny items of laundry, every single day.

The throwing away of meals which I've dutifully followed recipes for and filled the freezer with - but neither child will eat them.

The constant repetition of the same instructions to a toddler who still won't put his shoes on or pull his trousers up or put his toys away in boxes which are too small.

The biscuit crumbs which are being trodden into the carpet.

The folding of the buggy and lifting it into the boot, the lifting of two small children into their car seats. Getting the buggy and the children out. Again. Strapping them in, unstrapping them, negotiating the buckles while fighting the wriggles. Again.

The endlessly cheery jingles on Cbeebies and the theme tune to Topsy and Tim which we watch on the iPad at least three times every day.

It's the little things that get me. And it's also the feelings that don't go away.

There is the guilt that I don't spend enough time just having fun with either of them.

There is the soul-destroying fear that I've let them down and am not good enough.

There is the worry that I'm making this up as I go along, but I'm getting it all wrong.

It's the little things that get me.

It's that I can't go to playgroups anymore because I don't want to make small talk about weaning.

It's the stranger in the supermarket who tells me a story about how old their child was when they learnt to crawl.

It's the exhaustion of holding the pieces together all day. It's the fatigue that comes with letting go of the smile when they're finally asleep. It's the tiredness that grows out of not letting the cracks show.

It's the little things that get me.

We all have them, don't we?

The little things that make us want to hide in bed for a month. The little things that make us want to throw the half-eaten bowl of porridge across the kitchen and at the wall.

I don't think there will ever be a way to stop the little things from getting me.

All I can do is try to wrap myself up in the big things more often. What are these? These are that we are all healthy. We are happy most of the time. We have each other. Always.

Sometimes it feels like the cracks are growing across the surface of our lives, creeping slowly into the foundations and threatening to force a crumbling. Sometimes it feels like I don't have a firm hold on all the pieces and if I stop concentrating, they'll fall apart. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to wear the smile anymore.

And then the children laugh, or they smile, or they stretch their arms out to be held, or they do something new, or something that only they can do. Then someone tells me something that reminds me the little things get to us all. We can do this together if we want to. With other mothers, fathers, friends, lovers - we needn't do it alone.

This is motherhood. The standing on Lego, the throwing rejected home-cooked meals in the bin, the constantly scrubbing the carpet of baby sick, the utter exhaustion, the realisation of what is important after all and the knowing you really wouldn't want anything else. Yes, the little things get to me. That's life. But they're only little things. The big things are the ones that are important. To them, I'm trying to hold on tight.

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