The parenthood filter

Hi Squish. Sorry it's been a while but I'm certain that if you're old enough to be reading this then you'll be old enough to understand how busy your mother constantly is.

Yesterday, and for a few days in a row before that, it's been a REALLY tough time, this whole parenthood malarky. I wanted to write you this little (or rather long) snippet for you to snapshot the reality of being a parent. I hope that one day when you are a parent yourself it helps you in some way and provides you with some solace and comfort.

When a woman births a child her body, mind and her soul are utterly in turmoil. There is this emotion which no word can quite underpin and so we call it 'joy'. But joy doesn't even begin to cover it. Each and every one of us is here on this planet because of an immense miracle and a woman who was brave enough to accept that she is ultimately risking her life to create one. Never forget that for a second. You are almost one and never a day goes by when your father and I don't look upon you and dote on how amazing you are. I could ramble on about it forever but what I ultimately want you to know is that you should never undermine or brush off that someone has 'had a baby' as we so frequently talk about in passing these days. Never lose your 'wow' about the creation of life. Never lose your respect for the women who carry us or carry for us. Most importantly, never underestimate what a mother's love means; whether she has carried the child, fostered the child or adopted the child.

The thing is though son, that parenthood is the most amazing but the most challenging job you may ever have to do in your life. And there may come a time where you feel you're not allowed to say out loud 'this is hard'. So I'm saying it for you first. IT. IS. SO. HARD. Some days are a total breeze but some days you break us. We love you no less and appreciate you no less for saying so and I hope that you would feel the same if and when you have a day where parenthood feels to have defeated you. Our society at its current point loves to paint a rosy picture; intentionally or not. Everything is so filter perfect. Nurseries are so colour co-ordinated and outfits are so 'on point'. Eyebrows are so perfectly filled in and eyelashes are so brilliantly glued on. Designer everything and the need for even nappies to be a particular pattern are everywhere. I have no issue with anybody doing any of those things at all. To each their own. But I do want to tell you that an average day for us has 2 poo explosions, 3 outfit changes, multiple strops with food all over the floor, a highchair which has belts you just cannot for the fucking life of you keep un-stained, a couple of 'thank god it's naptime's and so, so many kisses.

Parenthood isn't a switch you can turn on and be 'perfect'. There is no perfection. No filters. No designer label to cover the fact that parenthood is difficult. Just the knowledge that you are not the only one to feel this way is enough sometimes though. Most people are just too afraid to voice it, even on social media, for fear of being barraged with the whole 'be grateful you could have a child' police attacking them. This is a shame for if a person is feeling this way in their right now then in this moment all they need is a reassurance and a congratulation for making it through the day and a reminder that tomorrow is a new one. Parents do not owe it to anyone to internalise their struggles nor should anyone take personally someone voicing something they feel is a problem. This is like saying to someone who has an injury to just be grateful that they have the body to be injured. The injury doesn't disappear and the person wasn't any less grateful before or after their injury so why bother with this silly notion? Nothing is so black and white.

Going back to paragraph 3- do you really think that a mother particularly would ever complain or rant because she is ungrateful for her child? You would be an ignorant fool to accuse a mother who has carried, created and birthed a child that they are ungrateful for the child. You would be a fool to tell a mother who has fostered or adopted a child and loved them like they have never loved before that they don't appreciate what they have. Never be that fool, my son.

Moreso, never feel alone. Parenthood can make you feel like you should be on a pedestal. You don't need the pedestal my darling. You need a strong circle of realistic people around you. People who will laugh with you when you spot that vomit stain you hadn't noticed. People who will remind you; hey, you're nurturing tomorrow's generation. Well bloody done you!

You should know- I wouldn't stand a chance at this parenthood thing without your dad. He is the most amazing dad I could ever have wished you to have. You're a lucky little lad. And I hope to continue to keep you grounded, realistic and most of all...soft hearted. For it is no weakness to be soft hearted. It's  a strength like no other. Love and respect above all and when life is hard, say it's hard. Overcome your hardness but not like a lonely branch. Like a tree in a woodland full of green. greatest challenge and my ultimate 'joy'. May your journeys never be solitary and your paths never lonely.

Your wacky mum.



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