Some days I arrogantly feel like I totally have this whole parenting gig sorted. Which isn’t something to scoff at, because raising four daughters is no easy task, let me tell you. Especially because three have special needs. But some days just flow easier. Dinners get eaten without complaint, my military-precision bath time run-down goes off without a hitch, the girls play together well (or all peacefully ignore each other), tidy up after themselves and there don’t seem to be many hiccups.
So on those days I’ll sit back and chuckle to myself about how awesome I am, and how I really should be kinder to myself because I’ve got this. My husband and I will snuggle in bed and talk about how much we adore our (sleeping) children and congratulate ourselves for a job well done.
That’s all well and good, until the shit hits the fan later on. Which it inevitably does. But that’s the way life is; full of ups and downs.
I honestly don’t do it all
I regularly have friends confess to me that they don’t know how I “do it all” and I’m here to drop a truth bomb: I don’t. I honestly, seriously don’t.
Some days are awesome. And I’m thankful for those days because they serve as an anchor for the days when stuff gets completely blown to pieces. On the other side of every awesome day are days when dinner is toasted sandwiches, discarded toys left out get donated after nagging that they are put away seems futile and children get hosed off outside instead of bathed with real actual soap. The other week my three-year-old had pancakes for breakfast and dinner, and I didn’t do any laundry for four days so my girls had to wear each other’s clothing. Meh. It happens.
The real key to successful mothering is …
So now I’m going to tell you something that will change your life, okay? The real key to happiness and contentment within motherhood lies purely in the surrender.
One of my best coping strategies as a mother is simply this: accepting things for how they are, and doing everything I can to minimise expectations. Please, throw out the “shoulds” once and for all!
The more expectations we project onto ourselves and onto the people around us, the more we will be let down. The real bliss lies in surrendering to what is and going with it. It is far easier than the alternative of desperately fighting against it or wishing it wasn’t so.
Motherhood is a hard gig
It is relentless, exhausting, tedious and can be pretty boring and isolating. It is not all sunshine, rainbows, snuggles and kisses. It just isn’t. And you know what? That’s completely okay.
I invite you to do what I do and embrace the easy days when they come. Celebrate your wins no matter how small or insignificant they are, because they really do matter. And the memory of them will be the push and pull that helps you to keep going on days that aren’t as smooth.
I really don’t “do it all”, well – not all the time anyway. Some days I do bugger-all except for navigate tantrums, demands and attempt to feed my children something that used to maybe once upon a time be a vegetable. And on those days I really try to offer myself the same kindness and compassion that I would give to one of my girls when they’ve had a rotten day.
They’ll love us anyway
We mothers are strong. We are capable. We are resourceful. But we are human. There are never going to be awesome days without the incredibly hard ones before them. But it’s OK, we don’t have to do it all, all the time. Our small humans will keep on loving us anyway.