Sunday, 31 August 2014

LIFE AS IT IS & finally settling into motherhood

Ever find yourself wishing you were a member of the ‘Motherhood Sucks' society? Or were you always one of the lucky ones; Earth mother personified? Why is it some of us find settling into motherhood more difficult than others?

Last week I invited some mums over for coffee so that the little ones could all have a play, and us grown-ups could feel, well, grown-up.
It was only when chatting about a life prior to having children, that I was confronted with the question, what would I give to return to those days?
For someone who was always ambivalent to having a family, I surprised myself with the reply. But the truth is, I really didn’t have to think very long about it:
“No thanks. I would not swap motherhood, in exchange for the fabulous life I led prior to having my babies.”
Yes, pinch yourself. I said that. Me, who often bemoans the fact that my two small children are the biggest challenge I’ve ever encountered in my life.
I mean, why would I want to give up my life as it is? After all, wiping backsides, combing out head lice, fending off sick bugs and wearing snot are such great attributes. But honestly, six years in, I wouldn’t want it any other way. 
Something’s happened in the last few months. Miraculously, I have finally settled into motherhood.
All you earth mothers out there are probably wondering what took me so long? I’m guessing it is a lot to do with the fact that my two girls are now over their allergies and intolerances. Having babies that screamed around the clock with pain, meant I was busy trying to work out which way was up until a few months ago. Realistically, that sort of motherhood, is tough on any woman.
One reason I’ve settled into motherhood is because I never completely gave myself to it. I continued to identity with my former life as a writer – working as a freelance whenever my baby slept. In the trade, this is called the ‘nap trap’. Some women no doubt see it as a chore. I always viewed it as my down time.
Another reason I’ve settled into motherhood, is that I now finally accept the role, and all that goes with it… the ground hog day treadmill that consists of the often mundane routines of a five and two year old. 
The start to the day that is my hair being twiddled, five little piggy’s, flying snot sneezes, breakfasting, lunch making, shoes on the wrong feet, rushing to school and back home again to collect something we forgot, building blocks, scooting, painting, feeding, changing, catching more flying snot… oh and the other days where I’ve already yelled at my girls before I’ve even had time to put the kettle on because they’re fighting, arguing, hair-pulling and biting again. Nice picture huh?!
I often find myself daydreaming about starting up a ‘Motherhood Sucks' society and soon after, feel remorseful for doing so. Remorseful. Did I mention the emotions that are hard wired into motherhood? Guilt being the obvious one, followed closely by other such sentiments that suddenly stem from having offspring. I've managed most of them in time. 
Perhaps I had it too good before having children? I certainly knew what else was out there. And after becoming a mother, no, soon after getting up the duff, I missed it all. Vehemently.
And living vicariously through my responsibility-free friends was not enough. Hearing about the childless collective and what they were up to was nearly as difficult, as knowing that they were all free to get up to something at all.
Am I the only mother to have had these thoughts? The word on the street (or at least the long lane I live on) is definitely not. There are a number of mothers I know that have all confided to dreaming of a life gone by. Being able to drop everything and walk out the door, even for an hour.  
I find it amazing that a study by the Open University declared mothers to be the happiest of any other group surveyed. And even after their relationships crumbled.
Fortunately, my relationship is rock solid. In fact teamwork is our answer to tackling parenthood. Yes, fortunately I have a husband who is great with our two young daughters… Who gives me time to myself at the weekends when I need it… Who understands that parenthood is the hardest thing we’ve (I’ve) ever accomplished. And on that note, I can’t imagine doing it alone. Single earth mother parents, I salute you.
I am fully aware that the difficult days of toddlerhood won’t last. Indeed, the horrendous burning side effects of cow’s milk allergy are over, and my life as it is since having children, is already easier than it was. I also know there are other tough times ahead. Purely thinking about how I was as a teen, is enough to make me shudder.
But presently, I am beginning to reclaim apart of myself that has been missing for a while – my little one started nursery two mornings a week. (Excuse me while I do a little celebratory wiggle in my seat). My career as a writer is blossoming...
…And hubby and I are reclaiming our coupledom. And I suppose at some point in the not too distant future we will get our lives back to the point where we too can cavort if we wish. Whenever we wish.
Question is now… do we want to cavort as we once did? Do I want to return to that carefree existence I led before children? Would I want to be a part of that childless collective now that I’ve finally settled into motherhood?
No. Not anymore. I’m a mother. I have children. They are a part of me. Unique to me. And really rather important to me. The things they say and do, those snuggles in the morning. Oh and okay, even the hair twiddling and the snot.
You see, along with all the literal crap, motherhood is actually rather amazing. And I’m not only enjoying watching them grow and change, I’m also enjoying seeing myself grow and change.
Maybe that’s because children complete you? Considering I once thought I’d forever wish I could remain a part of what had gone before, yes I’d say they do. 
And as our small people grow, our table will continue to be surrounded with chatter and chaos. With debates and dilemmas… and boyfriends. Gosh, isn’t motherhood going to equate to a life less lonely?
A wise friend and mother of three, once said to me, “When you choose to have a baby, you choose to give up every selfish bone in your body.”
I’ve realised that not being your archetypal earth mother, there were more selfish bones in my body than not. But I’m also realising that most of those selfish bones of mine have since undergone transformation.

So there you have it. I finally settled into motherhood. And do you know what, I know I’m a much better person for it. Oh and just in case you’re wondering, would I go in for another… don’t be daft; hubby’s had the snip. Really, now, I quite like our life as it is. Why spoil it?

This article first appeared in the Sept/October 2014 issue of Baby London Magazine.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

35/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

Esme draws faces a lot. This one is different though.
The eyes are most definitely looking out at me this time.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Romantic musings of a 5YO

E: Connor says we are going to get married on my 90th birthday as a birthday treat...

Genuine musings of a 2YO

As we pulled up at the red light, it only dawned on me that Sofia Faith (my chatty 2YO) was no longer wearing her seatbelt when she began talking through her open window to the driver of a rather fetching pope mobile (high sided box on wheels), alongside us.

S: Hello man.
Driver: Hi (complete with big grin).
S: We've got a real car.

Birthdays are upon us again...

Not to wish it away or anything...

Secretly I still yearn for 4 and 7,

In the next couple of days, they are 3 and 6.

It's got to be better than 2 and 5 right?!

Am I a terrible mother?

I might be... I actually bought their birthday cakes this year.


And as they age another year,

I note that my children's musings, will be moving on another year too...

So it is with fondness, that I record the very last musings of my 2 and 5YO.

Over to you girls...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

10 of the best Lyme Regis finds...

We thought this Jurassic coast 205,000,000 year-old ammonite was our best Lyme Regis find this Summer. But here are ten more hidden gems...

1) Artist Marianne Gibson's studio is on Coombe Street, and she can often be found just inside the door working on her latest piece of art. Her attention to detail left us awe struck, so do enter with caution... you will want to get hubby's wallet out. But that's okay, turns out hubby will probably want to as well. Ph: 01297 443164

Sunday, 24 August 2014

34/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

Sofia began to copy the ammonite, but hey-ho, of course it ended up a snail.
The insect obsession continues...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Our great Lyme Regis fossil find

As the remnants of Hurricane Bertha stormed through, it churned up the Jurassic coast, leaving a treasure trove of fossils freshly upturned, including this 205,000,000 year old ammonite...

Early Jurassic
c205 million years old

Saturday, 16 August 2014