There were a lot of things I wasn’t prepared for when it came to my journey into motherhood… Exploding nappies in the middle of posh restaurants was one I could have done without. The crazy things you do when you are severely sleep deprived was another. Who knew you could put several clothes wash loads through the dishwasher, clean your teeth with antibac soap, or direct your (equally sleep deprived) husband to Brighton instead of Bath? Fun times. I was also not prepared for the sheer repetitiveness of Motherhood, and it is probably the thing I have struggled most with.
As teenagers my eldest brother and I spent an afternoon bitching about routine. He hated it, he hated getting up every day for school, he hated that my mum still served ‘tea’ at half past five every day (we are teenagers man, we don’t need to eat so early) he hated the daily ritual and lived for the weekend. ‘I’m never going to adhere to routine when I leave home,’ he swore. ‘Yeah, dull.’ My almost monosyllabic self concurred. The only issue is, I went and had kids. Did I break routine? NO FUCKING WAY.
I tried, I actually tried. Gina Ford went in the bin. I allowed my baby to stay up until we went to bed (she was majorly opposed to sleeping, it wasn’t that hard), I allowed her to feed on demand, but the routine crept up on us regardless. The meal time hanger issues resulted in solids being served at the same time every day. She grew up and then seemed to require the discipline of a bedtime. The evening bath, book, bed routine soothed her to sleep. I could fight it all I like, but I was never going to win.
Motherhood has taken on a very repetitive roll. My days consist of school and nursery runs, planned mealtimes and well-timed baths. There are days I do the food shops, days for afterschool clubs, days for swimming. I set myself days for wash loads (mainly to prevent myself from washing seven days a week). There are set TV times and set snack times, set times where Mummy works and set times Mummy sleeps. My kids seem to have limited conversation topics which are often repeated, and if I don’t respond immediately it is simply ‘Mum…. Mum…. Mum’ on repeat 345476726 times a day. I hold my hands up and admit… I’m bored. Some mornings I just don’t want to have to face ANOTHER rainy school-run walk. I would adore someone else putting dinner on the table at five fifteen or eating at eight instead. I would just love a bit of a break.
Those without kids will look at this and say, ‘so change it?’ My teenage self would have agreed. But I know now what my mother knew then… Don’t put tea on the table at precisely the right time then hell will break out from younger members. Don’t adhere to bedtimes often? More hell. School, work, baths… all need to be done… there is no escaping it. Some days I despair, but then remind myself, that if I didn’t have kids this repetitiveness wouldn’t exist, but that would be a life I just don’t want to lead.
Repetitiveness is there, but it’s not all bad. The soft hands, warm cheeks and sloppy kisses that come for cuddles every morning are priceless. The little voices telling me they love me at bedtime, I hope are always there. I will take every Christmas performance. I will take every hand in mine and I will even take every eye roll and back-chat moment, because they come from two little people I hope will always be there to back chat and eye roll at me. I suspect the next decade or two will contain thousands of repeated motions, and, given I am only human, some days I will crave a break, fantasise about some alternate adventure (I’m not that rock and roll… it will probably involve a good book, bottle of wine and an afternoon to myself) but in truth I wouldn’t change a thing… They are my whole world; they are my family.