To my children,
It’s 10pm and I peak my head into your bedrooms. I look at the three of you all tucked up in bed, fast asleep and dreaming. I smile at your messy hair, your little crumpled faces. The emotions come thick and fast.
Love, obviously. That’s ever present. Pride. Affection. Happiness.
But then inevitably my little happy bubble is burst by the arrival of a less amiable emotion.
Guilt and I are very well acquainted. No matter how many times I try and shake him off, he always comes back.
You see my little ones, I always wanted to be a mum. And I knew exactly what kind of mother I would be.
I would be kind and gentle. I would never raise my voice. I would be patient and wise. I would find joy in the chaos. I would relish the noise and mess that comes with having children because it would just mean we’re making memories.
Mummy didn’t have a clue.
I look now at your innocent little faces, watching you dream away and I start to question myself.
“What could I have done differently?”
“How could I have handled that better?”
And yet again I find myself wanting.
Despite my youthful and perhaps naïve expectations, I do raise my voice. I’m not always patient when I have asked you six times to put your shoes on. I don’t relish the constant noise. I do not enjoy my house looking like two rhinos had a fight in Toys R Us.
There are days when I stick a film on just to get a moment’s peace. There’s days when the only game we play after school is the old favourite “who can be quietest the longest?”
I realise now as I’m looking at you, that one of you tried to tell me something today while I was battling with your tantrumming sister, and I said “not now. Tell me later when I have a minute.”
And now you’re asleep and I don’t know what it is you wanted to tell me. It could have been important. More likely it was a fact about dinosaurs or something equally random but that doesn’t matter. You wanted to tell me and I was too busy.
I can be grumpy, impatient and snappy at times but I need you to know something. I love you every single second of every single day.
When I’m tearing my hair out while you bicker and argue. I still love you. When I’m cross because you’ve got pen on the walls. I still love you. When I raise my voice and tell you “FOR THE FINAL TIME, PUT. YOUR. SHOES. ON.” Guess what? I still love you.
I wish I was better. I stand here watching you sleep and I promise myself “tomorrow I will be better”. Tomorrow I won’t shout, or become frustrated. Tomorrow I will sit down and listen. Really listen.
And yet deep down I know in all likelihood I’ll be stood here again tomorrow having the exact same thoughts.
So I need you to understand. I am trying. I’m doing my best and I will never stop trying to be the mum you deserve.
I have my faults but no one could love you all as much as I do. I hope you know that, and hearteningly I think you do.
So please remember next time I grumble or raise my voice. I don’t mean it. I love you.
And maybe put your shoes on the first time I ask…
Lots of Love,
The Mum Conundrum