My body is permanently contorted into a position that’s comfortable for my 4 month old to feed, play and sleep. It’s playing havoc with my back, but that’s just how it is for now.
I’ve been thinking about the sacrifices we make as mothers and how,in the past, the demands of working and raising 2 kids and now on maternity leave, raising 3 kids – has left me splintered like a chewed bamboo. More tired than I could ever imagine but also, in rare moments of fleeting but absolute clarity – the most fulfilled I’ve ever felt in my whole life.
Look, I know it’s not cool or clever or remotely PC to say this, but at these times I sometimes curse the women’s movement. EEEEK! Bare with. Not in a raised fisted, angry way- but in a… were they fully aware of the juggling act and the near impossible struggle for balance all this equality was gonna bring, kinda way! See, I’m breezy!
Don’t get me wrong, ’cause I love buying Zara coats from the money I earn. High five, feminists! And I really dig the contraceptive pill. High 10 feminists! Which reminds me, i really must pick up that prescription?!? But, but, but…
Sitting at home nursing my delicious 4 month old makes me hanker for, as my mama says, simpler times. ‘Sure all I had to be was a mother and stay at home wife’. My Mam likes to tell me, at least she knew her place in the world.
After each baby, she sure wasn’t wondering how to fit back into her skinny jeans, sans muffin top.
She certainly wasn’t considering applying for new jobs with more family friendly hours.
And I can guarantee, she wasn’t wondering how she was ever going to build up the strength of will to return to work and leave her small and squishy little human, while pretending with every fiber of her body that she was OK with it and sure, it has to be done, doesn’t it?
Melodramatic, me? I know, i hear ya’, this reeks of 4 month maternity leave dread. I’m two thirds through my leave and the panic of only 2 more months left and the majority of my babymoon in the past has me chewing on my nails like a rabid dog savaging a bone! I’m reciting many a mantra – sometimes 2 at the same time, and i won’t cod you, sometimes they contradict each other too and then i know i’m in trouble! Like ‘live in the moment’ – i love that one. But then i may continue with ‘This too shall pass’, i usually realise at this point i’m just plain confusing myself and trying to be both at the same time causes more spinning – hence my problem, you see!
Welcome to my motherhood coping tools! Sometimes i do so well and i’m on the right track, raising 3 kids with all the fun and frolics and organisation of Parents Association’s mother, other times i find my son’s converse trainer in the fridge. So that’s me – learning to relish the mess of motherhood, fight perfectionism and drink a glass of wine at the end of the evening without dropping it on my newborn’s head! We’ve got to take the small victories too!
So, i tend to stick to my absolute favourite bumper sticker quote – ‘it is what is’. Because it’s true – what it isn’t, isn’t what it is! Do you see?
Anywho, luckily with the experience and knowledge of returning to work on 2 other children, the truth is, it rings true. I’m a working Mama, like so many i know and i’m lucky to have sustained a career in an area i love and still be able to afford, at least on a seasonal basis, the said Zara coats above so, it’s definitely more good than bad.
Besides, my older kiddo’s Ziggy (6 Years) and Millie (8 Years) are turning out, at least the vast majority of the time, pretty well mannered and filled with a lust for life that would knock your socks off. So all in all, we’re making it work – my partner in crime and I. He rocks. Literally. He even has a HDip in Performance from Ballyfermot Rock School to prove it!
I’m dementedly thankful for the bond I have with my baby bear- despite my initial late night anxieties and daytime panic at the thought of adding to our crew. It’s worked out that third time’s a charm for us, the opposite of what Dr Google led me to believe!
In a weird way, the reluctance to consider leaving his side for longer than a split- second shower is testament to the love we share and gives me hope and confidence that we’ll get through the next phase. Sure, we’re all just trying to figure it out, aren’t we? Family of 5, braving the elements of family/worklife balance and living in the scrummy mess that is our life!
I’m starting this weekend off with change in mind – with a trip out of the house, without Millie and Ziggy and of course, babybear. Nursing bra, begone! I’m getting out of my pj’s and trying on being a partner again and venturing out, away from the mothership. And I have to say- I’m looking forward to it. Nothing like red wine and good company to ease me out of the baby bubble and into the adult world again! Oh and that reminds me,where did i put that prescription….