Category Archives: Motherhood

So many hats

Time has really given me a good whack in the pants lately. My last post was on 6 September!

This not writing has been killing me, absolutely. So good to be back.

I have been utterly here and there. All over the place.

Roo will soon be 11 months old. (Oh my sweetheart but I keep missing my newborn!)

The past two months have been dotted with milestones. Cruising on furniture. Climbing up the staircase over and over and over again. A lot more self-feeding. Joking and laughing out loud with her siblings. Telling me “diaper” when she wants a nappy change. Calling “Mama”, “Papa” and beginning to learn Puppy’s and Lamb’s names.

Waking up at 5.00am to nurse, crawling around for ages then nursing again until it’s time for me to get up for the day. It’s been getting better this week since I cut drinking tea at night and I do hope it stays that way!

See, the thing about four kids and homeschooling and then working after normal office hours when the kids are down for the night is that I need some kind of substance to help me stay awake. For SURE. That means tea.

So waking up at 5.00am with a previous nursing at around 3.00am and knocking off work at 1.30am or thereabouts, how much sleep is that? Oh breathe deep ….. and those precious afternoon naps.

It’s nice that Puppy and Lamb have been busy with quiet time activities and choosing kiwi fruit, cheese and crackers for their tea time while I doze away with Piglet and Roo but horror of horrors! I’ve also discovered occasional forays into my secret stash of chocolate.

Breathe deep again and it’s alright, I tell myself. Success is built on both prayer and dark chocolate. No wonder Puppy’s been hitting some power tennis balls lately.

Also, creative quiet time activities and just living in a household of six makes for a whole lot of mess to clean up every.single.day but how could I trade this life with anything else?

This week I had a bit of a breather from work. So I replenished our dwindling craft supplies and found a lot of joy in catching up with mundane stuff after the kids got to bed. Like photocopying, sorting out crayons and pencils, making more yogurt, bread and kefir.

Tomorrow we’ll have to be up early for Dignity’s ARISE Graduation. What a blessing to be able to celebrate with all the children and teachers.

Anticipating another possible 5.00am wake up, it’s time to sleep. And I haven’t even told you yet about how homeschooling a lot more freely these days has refreshed everyone for the better. With better results.

Later. I promise.

Love. Write. Remember.

Love Write Remember

I lie here, nursing Roo down to sleep.

7.22pm is my favourite time of the day when I can almost smell the dusk, when daylight melts into darkness and everything feels soft, somehow.

It’s a time to Reflect, after a day of Doing.

My mind is awhirl with sensations, sounds. Running helter-skelter at the park in the evening, full tummies after dinner, Roo’s tender head now nestled in the crook of my arm, Puppy’s piano practice, the sound of boys getting into PJs and rolling toy cars on the parquet.

7.33pm, Roo is asleep. I peek out, hush the older kids. Across the landing, they all look nice and clean and happy, getting cosy with books in the warm lamplight.

I head for the shower but Roo startles and struggles to sit up.

I get down, with her, again.

But I want to remember, even this. This day in day out, this winding down.

8.00pm, it’s late and we finally get on to teeth brushing and devotions. Lamb’s baby tooth that’s been dangling today goes down the sink with his final gargle and he’s almost in tears. We both peer into the sink, wishing it would fly up somehow but it’s a goner.

This second tooth, lost in a matter of seconds.

I wish I’d taken a photo of him rolling and twisting it around in his mouth after school earlier today. A moment that passed so quickly in the midst of lunch with four kids.

Puppy and Lamb settle themselves in their beds while Piglet and I find a space on the floor. Piglet comforts Lamb with all the wisdom of his three-and-a-half years. “Don’t wowwy, a new one will grow back?” We chip in with stories of our own, of missing teeth and incomplete tooth collections.

I sit cross-legged and listen to the exchange, feeling the comfort of the inner circle. We read, talk, pray.

Thank You God I have these moments to remember.

I wonder, what will they remember?

8.45pm. Back in our room, Piglet’s the last kid to fall asleep and I’m ready.

Pages open. My pen flows.

Pouring them out, memories still fresh in my mind, things I wanted to say in the day but overtaken by practicalities.

They’ll read these journals someday, one journal for each child, and I hope my words will remind them of the legacy we’re writing, now, with our lives. Of what we do, why we do, the heartaches and funnies and all sorts in between.

Because Roo’s little feet will outgrow my palm all too soon. Tonight, I can almost hear her whisper.

Take the time, mama. Help me remember.

Roos feet

Motherhood on hard days

Motherhood on hard days

She struggles in her cot. I lean in for the third time in two hours, bent, exhausted.

Roo simply can’t settle and I think of the half teaspoon of banana she’s sampled for the first time.

The rattling of the cot rail punctures the quietness of the night as I bundle her in my arms again, nuzzle her soft downy hair and she nurses, relaxes.

My inner voice murmurs, Breathe. Deep.

It’s hard dealing with the push and pull, the rock and roll of motherhood. I wait.

The room is finally silent and I steal out.

There are empty cups in the sink, an unfinished load of laundry, rice smeared onto a floor that has tasted oatmeal and cheerios for eight years.

My hands get into soap and water for the umpteenth time in a day of 13 nappies, food preps, nursing, toddler activities, dishes from three main meals and two snacks.

The phone buzzes and I go through messages in the toilet where I can now enjoy five long blissful minutes without interruptions.

They toss words like “Supermum” because I have four kids and I wonder who that might be because I want to sit down for coffee and cake with her and ask a gazillion things.

The wanting and not wanting.

The loving and the hating of a role I cherish yet want to fling away in some moments for all its polarities – the attachment and isolation, the vivacity and boredom, joy unspeakable and the cave of despair.

This I-need-to-be-in-five-places-at-one-time intense vocation.

I get on the treadmill hurriedly before Roo goes into light sleep and ease away the knots in my back and shoulders. It’s the season of baby wearing while vacuuming and cooking stir fries when Roo can’t be put down without wailing and older kids need to eat.

They don’t tell you this. Those parenting books that make it seem the other mum has got it all sorted and why oh why haven’t I, yet.

I stare breathlessly at the numbers racking up too slowly on the treadmill.

Am I supposed to love toilet seats that I have to scan constantly for little boys’ pee pee before sitting down? Or perpetual crumbs on the floor and spills? Legos and trucks that find their way into my handbag alongside the occasional rotting tidbit? Broken lipsticks in my make up kit?

They don’t tell you how to deal with being with them almost 24/7, seeing the rewards but also having to suck the desperation in.

Breathe, deep.

I pray and pray this mish mash in my head while the shower runs and it feels so good. Done, I check off lists in my head.

I think of Roo’s nursing, 3.00 am and 5.00 am, welcoming her sweet baby scent and warm toes snuggled up to my tummy and then feeling the heaviness of a body aching for sleep at dawn.

I think of tomorrow’s lunch and dinner, kid journals, a project deadline. An unfinished written extract that weighs upon me, yet captivates because it breaks the monotony of reading Clifford the Big Red Dog three times a day, pays some bills and makes me want to create something other than menus and play dough cars.

It isn’t easy being home for everyone’s health, happiness and peace of mind and juggling so many hats.

It’s tough, missing the daily camaraderie of colleagues and holding myself back from busting the family budget just so we can live this life the way we want it.

Tomorrow I’ll revel in the sight of my children running uninhibited in the breeze and zipping down slides, then struggle inwardly with a rising temper because of dawdling over meals, bickering and nap time struggles, trying to remember I’m the parent here and feeling sick just for feeling this way.

Sometimes it seems I’m the worst mother in the world giving begrudgingly of herself to motherhood.

Then it comes to me.

The normalcy and intentionality of it all – the ebb and flow, the glory and the mundane. How it’s all designed to bring me to my knees and gift me with the realisation of my pride, selfishness, impatience, need for divine grace.

And how all of it can break my fallow ground and hone me gradually (if I so allow it) to become the sort of person who utters kind words in between the laundry loads more often than not.

The sort of person who can find joy in the boring ordinary, who knows the discipline of sacrifice, of contentment, of being slow to speak and slow to become angry.

And so I breathe again, deep.

I remember our perfect moments together, laughing as tennis balls go over the net and Papa missing the return.

Tiptoeing to set the table, helping a little brother put on his shoes, chocolatey faces because they’re still learning how to lick and swivel ice creams.

I think, That’s the way it is. The vocation that helps bind families together, that builds a nation, that changes the world one child at a time – how can motherhood be anything less than heart-warming and arduous at the same time? Buffeted from within and without from all sides?

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…” ~ Theodore Roosevelt.

Roo wants comfort and I step away from my laptop and go in, careful not to wake the others. The room is dark but I can see them lying in their beds.

My children, my quiver full of arrows.

 

 

Pour Your Heart Out