Friday, November 16, 2012

mess & madness

A cup of tea I enjoyed sculled, at 5am last week, while pondering these thoughts, and asking begging for the grace I needed to get through the day.

I visited my beautiful friend, and her gorgeous new baby girl.
(I took the present I made last week, too).
The new mama was, of course, blissfully in love with her new bundle.
But also exhausted, worried about her milk production, and fighting feelings of failure.

And as I reassured her, and encouraged her (and held her baby, and made her a cup of tea, and the breakfast she hadn't gotten around to eating yet) it made me think.
Pregnant with our firstborns, we only hear about how blissfully in love with our new bundle we will be.
We hear warnings of those sleepless nights, all covered prettily with "It's so worth it" and "I love those night feeds, just the two of us in a dark, quiet house".
While there are truth in those words, we are, I was, so unprepared for just. how. hard. this mothering gig would be.

I wasn't prepared for how much my boobs would hurt, and how difficult breastfeeding can be.
I wasn't prepared for how, even though I expected it to, my body still wouldn't feel like my own. And that it would ache, and not function completely normally.

I wasn't prepared for how long feeding would take. That I would feel like I was feeding all day long. And that nothing else would get done, and that some days it wouldn't feel like bliss, and all I would like to do was sleep all night, thank you very much!

I wasn't prepared! I didn't know! 
And I often felt like a failure, when my husband would come home to a teary/exhausted/raging/lonely (insert status of your choice) wife at the end of the day.

And even now, I too fight those feelings of failure.
I was not prepared for just how demanding three kids would be.
Not prepared for the refereeing, the busyness of school runs, and lunch-box packing.
Not prepared for the rage that would build up within me, when I have to ask, and ask, and ask again for the kidlets to tidy their mess/pick up their toys/put their shoes on/take their shoes off/get dressed/put their dishes in the sink/get in the car... you get the point.
Not prepared for 5am wake-ups (hello early summer sunshine), and how that would affect my mood.

It's messy.
Motherhood is messy and crazy, and really, really, REALLY hard work.
And you know I love my kids right? 
You know I wouldn't change a thing, and that I am so, so thankful for this life I now lead.

But I won't sugar-coat it.
Some days are really, really, REALLY tough.

There are days I rant and grump, and throw my hands in the air.
There are days I find it hard to hide the exasperation in my voice, hard to find the patience I seem to lack, yet so desperately need.

I am so imperfect.
And my life is messy.

And I'm learning to be thankful for the mess.

Just sayin'.


Linking up with Maxabella, and the 52 Weeks of Grateful gals.


  1. beautiful Em! Nothing prepares you for the moment you become a mum. Glad you can be there for your friends who are new mums. Glad you can be thankful for the mess.

  2. I had a similar grateful this week too em, the awful mother making appearances too often of late... my sister just had her first baby on wednesday so this post is timely as she is constantly in my thoughts - she lives in qld which makes it really hard. you are so right about the MESSY! my life did not seem messy before eliot arrived.. three is far messier than two! I really love your honesty here x

  3. I love how you put all of this. It is so true that you love your baby and the new exciting journey of it all but some of it really is just tough and usually the things that you never though would be like just how long it takes to breastfeed!!! This is a beautiful piece and so encouraging, thank you for sharing.

  4. so well said
    Do you read Finding Joy and her series of Dear Mom letters
    Well worth a read - for every mum

  5. Oh this is me this week. I really had no idea how challenging it would be. The good parts are better than I ever imagined. And the hard parts, well I never even imagined they existed. So yep it's a mess here this week too. Awesome post xx

  6. Sometimes it does just seem to be those cups of tea and coffee we scull that keep us going. Mothering is the best thing I've ever done - but far and away the very hardest. I had an ideal of how I would be as a mother - but yep... it seems to be mess, madness and badly frayed tempers so much of the time. Thank you for being so honest and and sharing.

  7. This is so beautifully and honestly written Em and I can well identify with the mess and madness that is motherhood. I think being more open about how we feel and being honest about just how hard a gig mothering can be goes a long way towards helping us feel less like failures. There is comfort in knowing that we all find it hard from time to time and that it's completely normal to feel this way.

  8. "I am so imperfect.
    And my life is messy.

    And I'm learning to be thankful for the mess."

    This is me - thank you. great post

    Deb @ home life simplified

  9. Yes, nothing can prepare you for the trainwreck mothering can land you in, unless your good friends with a mum already. Your friend would be glad for your reassurances

  10. i agree to all of that Em! I often have to remind myself, now that some of our friends embark on starting a family, that until you live it and breath it, you don't really know just how tough this motherhood/parenthood gig is. I remember the pain of shards of glass for nearly two months, the concern I had about my recovering body wondering if I could have another baby...and the second guessing moments where you just wonder how you were left in charge of raising a little person! Of course i wouldn't have it any other way...I think it's admitting that we're definitely not perfect nor striving for perfection that allows the ups and downs to be appreciated as they balance us out and allow us time to reflect and be grateful xx

  11. Damn straight it's hard! I totally agree with you, when I was expecting my first I felt like no-one was straight-up honest with me. They all just said 'oh you'll find out soon enough'. Gees, way to make a lady freak out! What was I getting myself into?!! I did survive though, and I distinctly remember being at my local shopping centre one day, having just fed for the bazillionth time that day, exhausted, teary and barely keeping it together, when I looked up and saw heaps of other mum's and their babies, some with toddlers. And I thought, wow, they've all done this. They've all had the sleepless nights, the crappy days, the crying sessions. And they're still alive!!!? Not sure what it was, but I found strength in knowing that every other mum goes through the crapiest of days and comes out the other end, one way or another. I wasn't alone, I was joining a club of worn-out frazzled mothers! Of course now I'm expecting my 5th baby and I'm freaking out all over again because I'm going back to NB days... oh boy! Loved your post :-)

  12. You have said it in a nutshell Em! I remember feeling the same way when each of mine were babies. I think I had a love/hate relationship with my life back then. I was totally unprepared for the tiredness and the messiness of everything and it really compromised my ability to appreciate it. I thought is was just me that felt that way. It is so good to be able to share this these days as thirty years ago I felt very isolated in how I felt.

  13. Such a beautiful post Em! I'm delighted to have found your beautiful blog and am off to switch on the kettle and have a lovely little potter around your gorgeous space. Wishing you a grand Sunday.
    Steph :)

  14. It's so nice to hear someone being real about all of this. It's so easy to sugar coat and gloss over the hard stuff and I think that makes it even harder for new parents.

    Kids are lovely but they're also demanding and difficult too :)

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  15. Some days are so, so, so, so, so tough it's a wonder we make it through at all. But THAT is LIVING, isn't it? To take the lows with the highs and everything in between. So happy to see you link up this week. xxx


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