I’m 3.5 years and two children into this parenting gig, and I have to say, it isn’t getting any easier...
Different? Sure, it changes every minute with a toddler and an infant by my side, but I certainly wouldn’t say easier. Sometimes, during the moments where everything is seemingly going wrong and I’m having a hard time, I remind myself “I’m in the thick of it” – a phrase that I hear almost weekly from well-meaning strangers (usually during one of my children’s public meltdowns) and friends and family – and somehow, I surrender to the madness with a lot more positivity…
I found motherhood terribly hard the first time around, and if I’m honest, I did wish away some of those difficult first few months. “When does this get easier” I’d ask other mums and they always had a magical number where everything was seemingly meant to fall into place. “Definitely 3!” “2 and 5!” “4, undoubtedly!” For every “terrible-two” and “threenager” story, there was a completely different opinion on why 2 and 3 were the dream ages, leaving me confused and somewhat unhopeful for a calmer and less stressful future. I’m now juggling a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and I can say unequivocally that I don’t think motherhood will ever get easier. Of course, as the kids get older and different stages come and go things get more manageable, but easier? No way.
While I’m over all the challenges that come with caring for a newborn, I’m starting to realise that every age comes with its own trials and tribulations. Motherhood is all-consuming, and I now know there’s no point in waiting for that ever-elusive “aha” moment when things will suddenly not be hard. Babies are challenging, toddlers are challenging, school kids, tweens and teens… For every physical demand my baby son asks of me day in, day out, there’s a mental demand that my daughter is craving. I’m on, 24/7, and things won’t be changing anytime soon. For some bizarre reason, coming to this realisation has actually made every challenging stage easier to deal with. It’s almost as if accepting all the hard times make the sweet, heart-melting moments even more special.
With social media having such a large impact on our lives, particularly mums, who quite rightly use it as a form of escapism day-to-day, I think it’s important to call-out on the not-so-romantic moments of parenthood. Because for every “oh, lucky they’re cute!” sentiment, there’s a mum seriously struggling with the minutiae of everyday life with kids. To put it really bluntly, this shit is hard. Just when I think I’m nailing getting out the door with two kids, real life will hit me like a tonne of bricks and I’m back texting my husband cry-face emojis and proclaiming that I just can’t do it anymore. Each time this happens I always think back to some advice a midwife gave me during the early stages with my first baby – you’ll have one bad day a week and one bad week a month, and there’s nothing you can do but ride it out. Knowing that it’s not meant to be easy and that everyone is going through the same tough times as you is quite the revelation. Things don’t seem so bad when you know that hard times are completely normal, and no matter how tough they seem, you will get through them.
Every weekend my family and I visit our local markets where the kids play on the gym equipment, and each week the same stall-holder smiles warmly at the kids and tells me “these are the days.” After one particularly chaotic morning, I probed her a bit further to understand what she really meant, because truth be told, if these were the days, then I wanted a leave pass. She explained that her son was now in his 30s and she would do anything to go back to when he was clinging to her like a koala, to have him need her. Of course, it choked me up, and in that instance, I realised that being in the thick of it, certainly isn’t easy, but it is totally worth it.
Words: Marisa Remond | Image: Grace Alyssa Kyo