To you, sitting up with your little one at 3am, reading this: you are doing a great job.
Being a mom is hard. It’s shitty and it’s wonderful, making you want to simultaneously scream and laugh and cry and melt into the heart of the little face or faces that stare up at you. You are their world. You are their comfort, their love, their provider, their teacher. And you try so hard to juggle these roles that have been suddenly thrust upon you, wondering how you’ll ever raise a decent human being when you haven’t got it even remotely figured out for yourself.
We, as moms, try so hard to be perfect. We berate ourselves for giving in to that bottle feed so that we can catch an extra wink of sleep or rest our sore and swollen nipples from the constant tonguing of feeds, for allowing this innocent little being to get hurt because we had to run off to pee after keeping it in for the last 3 hours whilst we were juggling washing, a crying baby, a cold cup of coffee (caffeine – another thing we “shouldn’t“ be doing) and a phone call, for needing to ask for help like somehow we just aren’t good enough at this mom thing. We stumble around like zombies after another night of no sleep with a colicky baby or a sick toddler, wondering when we last had a shower or changed our underwear…or even got dressed for that matter. And we wonder if this is how life is now, if we have ceased to exist in our entirety in order to be replaced by a dirty and disheveled slave to a little human we grew inside ourselves for 9156 months. And on the rare occasion that we do get out and look semi-human (dressed in real people clothes) people gush over these tiny beings that were, moments ago, tearing at your clothing or crying despite you having tried everything under the sun. And we smile and tell them that of course being a mother is just so wonderful and we couldn’t be happier and we avoid mentioning that we’ve just felt the stinging pain of a let-down and are now leaking inside our clean clothing. And we blush when people say what a good job we are doing because on the inside we feel like we’d be happy to not have our toddler’s first word be “shit” or “fuck”. And we probably shouldn’t mention that we switched out the baby Mozart in the car for a song called Heathens or some new Alan Walker remix; the same song we sing to put baby to sleep because it’s the only one we can currently remember the lyrics to. And singing Mozart takes more skill than we have, even as a “supermom”. And then we rush back home to pump our swollen, leaking boobs and stare at the dishes that we meant to wash two days ago whilst mentally counting back hours on our fingers to work out if we missed a nappy change somehow.
So this is to you. Because we’re all in this together. And as I sit here typing with one hand at 5am, breathing in the warm baby scent of my one little girl asleep on my chest, I can honestly say that for every shitty night, cracked nipple, leaked in bra and missed shower, it’s moments like this that erase it all. And it’s okay to sit on the floor crying with your baby because you’ve literally tried everything and you feel like the shittiest mom in the world for not being able to telepathically know how to fix this. It’s okay to ask your mom/friend/partner to look after baby for a few hours so that you can have your weekly bath and wash your nearly dread-locked hair. It’s okay to need to fill your own cup, in fact it is vital, so that you can be the best mom you can. Because that’s all that matters in the end really. And here’s the secret that I’ve learned: we’re only human. And if my daughters end up singing Heathens whilst sitting in Sukhasana and painting the walls with my art supplies…I’ll consider my job a success anyway.