Sunday, 24 February 2013

I am woman. Hear me raw.


I am a working mum. My days follow a strict routine which involves ‘just another 10 minutes’ in bed every morning, regardless of what time I wake up. Those 10 minutes feel like those delicious stolen moments with a lover... but better because I’m alone in the bed and I can stretch out and remember my days when I didn’t have ‘a side’. In those 10 minutes I lament the too few hours sleep preceding them and dread the rat-race following them. I mentally check through my wardrobe and decide what I’m going to wear and hope to god that I’ve washed it and if I have, hope that I have hung it up and not left it in the washing basket. It is the only quiet time I will have to myself all day.

There are boys to be dressed and teeth to be brushed. Bags to be packed and lunches to be made. Husbands to send off and make-up to be slapped on. School to be walked to and teachers to touch base with. Meat to defrost and washing to be put on. Emails to answer and coffee to make. Traffic to negotiate and cars to be parked.

Then a day of work which, most days, is good but some days is not.

Followed by errands to be run and calls to be made. Appointments to squeeze in and dinner to be cooked. Washing to be hung out and coffee to make. School to be walked to and bags to unpack. After school snacks to prepare and homework to be helped with. Sports to be driven to and tables to be set. Baths to be run and stories to read. Dishes to be done and washing to put away. Uniforms to lay out and beds to collapse in.

It is gruelling and draining and gratifying and real.


I was a stay at home mum. My days didn’t follow any routine and I was almost totally at the mercy of my sons’ needs. Breastfeeding on demand. Tiptoeing around the house at nap-time. Scraping soggy teething rusks off the carpet. Rinsing off poo on sheets/clothes/cushion covers. Throwing out bibs that had mashed banana on them ‘cause that shit just does not come out in the wash. Toilet training. Manners training. Sleep training. Rich play. Fine motor skill development. Gross motor skill development. Socialisation. 

Some days time would stand still and I would wait, desperately for the husband to come home so I could turn myself off for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes to not be the one who had to pick up the crying baby. Just 10 minutes to be alone and not feel guilty for the pleasure that would fill my bones to be quiet. And still. Other days time would steal my life away and I would despair that I didn’t have longer to float in the wonder of seeing the world through the new eyes of my baby. I would feel it slip through my fingers as I traced ‘round and round the garden’ on chubby little hands. I would watch it run away as I delighted in seeing those first, wobbly steps. I would look up, after feeling like I had only just sent the husband off to work to see him return and watch my son run to his arms. Happy to see another face. Eager to tell fresh ears about his day. And I would wish for just another 10 minutes to be alone with my boy.

It was exhausting and demanding and rewarding and real.

Long ago

Before I was any kind of mum I was a girl. Those days were all about me. They were about finding my place in the world and deciding where my world was. It was about working and partying and loving and earning and yearning. It was about learning. And the only real way to learn is to fail. So it was about failing too. It was about heartache. It was about self doubt. And it was about wonder. There were no 10 minute increments in those days. Going out for coffee lasted for hours. There was no grocery shopping. If I needed anything, I picked it up on the way home from work. There was only clothes shopping. Phone calls lasted all night on a phone with an extra long cord which would reach all the corners of my unit and never ran out of battery. Friendships were the most important relationships in my world. Other people’s children were to be seen, not heard. Mothers were to be ignored. Boys were to be toyed with. Washing was to be done in the middle of the night and hung out on the backs of chairs. Dancing was to be done. All night.

It was arduous and confronting and fulfilling and real.

Every day

Throughout it all I have been me. I have not always known who I am but I have been defiantly ‘me’ nonetheless. All my life stages are real. All my chapters are fulfilling. All my dreams are valid. All my pains are confronting. Being single and childless was tough. Being a stay at home mum was demanding. Being a working mum is challenging. The next path I travel down will also test me.  Each life stage presents something new to learn and overcome and enjoy. 

My journey is not unique. My lessons are not new. You may relate. You may disagree. You may learn. You may cringe. You may just quietly be thankful that someone else is struggling to get it all right too.

I will laugh. I will sob. I will exalt. I will grieve. I will succeed. I will fail. 

I will live.

It’s my story and I will share.

I am woman. Hear me raw.

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