There is a popular Yoruba saying that, goes thus, “Eni oori ‘bi, a ma sukun, eni ‘bi, a maa se aroye” meaning, she who has no children, ends up crying for one, and the lips of those who have are filled with complaints” (about same children).
Which is why the saying that life is unfair is just so true; there is only so much about life we know at a time. Most ladies and moms likely had a list of things they would do differently from their mom, when they become parents themselves. I know I had that list and day in, day out, I find I’m becoming more like my mom, even in my mannerism with the kids. We all have these lofty ideas of how motherhood should be; sweet, rosy, exciting and all shades of goodness.
The truth most find out is, motherhood is all of those things, and even more. Motherhood is sweet, it is exciting, it is rosy, it is rewarding, it is goodness personified, you get to mould a life, mehn, it’s exciting. However, motherhood is also gross, filled with bodily fluids you had once been repulsed by. It is filled with a kind of selflessness no one told you about. Sometimes, it is filled with dark days, which make you wonder when the light would come on again. The worst part is, once you start this journey into motherhood, you cannot stop! You cannot say you are no longer interested in being a mom. You cannot undo what you have done.
Talking of dark days, I have been through my fair share of foggy days, when I just manage to put one feet in front of the other and hoped that the sun would shine again and that I would fine. I remember a few times, when I felt like a failure, for not living up to the standard of motherhood I had set up in my mind for myself, and the ones that had been merely a matter of keeping up with the joneses, and how I had stressed myself out, trying to be the kind of mom I wasn’t cut out to be. Let me rephrase that, I was pretending to be someone else, other than myself.
I have been through some dark moments, worrying that my kids were not behaving the way I wanted them to. That I had failed in this God-given assignment. This assignment I couldn’t afford to fail.
The funny thing was, and is, the people I was trying to be the best mom to, didn’t care that I hadn’t planned their meals for weeks, as long as they got something to eat when they were hungry. It didn’t matter that I did not pick them up early enough from school, as long as I picked them. It did not even matter that I came back after they were in bed, they were just happy to see me the next morning. I guess I got to the stage where my heart just refused to bow to the pressure of mom guilt.
Nowadays, I beg, cajole, reason and even apologise for my actions and inactions and move on, no time to waste moping about whether I did it well or not. Life is too short.
The worst days were when they were younger, each of them wanted a piece of me. The older twins were jealous of the attention that the younger twins were getting and even though they were almost four years old when I had the younger twins, we went through a phase where they needed assurance that I was still their mommy. That was even more so for my quiet older daughter. Trying to do everything was hectic, I will not lie. I barely survived. But it’s all over now.
As I have come to realise and to tell anyone who cares to listen, it gets better as the years go by. It’s the song I have been singing to my friend, who just had her second baby. She is feeling so down and overwhelmed dealing with her nursing baby and un-detachable toddler, who holds unto her legs every day like a leech. Sometimes, both crying at the same time, she is harried, and sometimes feels like a failure
The last stretch of this long holiday couldn’t be over fast enough for her. She had sent her daughter off to grandma’s place but less than two days later, she was asked to come and carry her daughter before their hearing got impaired by her cry for her daddy.
Tolu had called in tears, some days ago, and asked me how I had managed the twins and she seriously expected me to answer that. The truth is, I had no idea. I just rolled with the punches, kept moving and hoping for a better tomorrow. As for details, I have no idea and told her as much, but what she really needed was not my preaching, just a few child-free moment was all she required to re-set her button.
That night, I suggested she ask her husband to help with the toddler at least, so she and the baby could go to bed early and daddy could get his dinner, or something like that. One good night rest cleared up the clouds by the next day. She not only slept the whole night, with a cooperating baby, she also spent most of the morning in bed.
Now, Tolu knows that once she’s feeling overwhelmed, she should take a step back and rest with a hopeful heart that it will get better someday soon. Her toddler will stop the leechy attitude, her baby would stop breastfeeding and sleep through the night.
Ironically, Tolu feels as though all of this motherhood palaver is pay back for the way she and her sisters treated their mom, while they were teenagers. She said, she and her sisters had gotten into fights as teenagers, with everyone struggling for relevance. One of those fights had been epic. It had ended up with them throwing their dinner at each other and breaking their mom’s glassware while at it.
Rather than call them to order, as she usually did, or threaten them with their Dad, Tolu said their mom had walked out on them. She had picked her car keys and left. It was only when the girls did not hear their mom’s voice that their senses started to come back to normal.
They cleaned and arranged the house and waited for mom to show up. There was an eerie silence in the house; everyone prayed that mom showed up before dad came back home, or else how were they going to explain what had happened. Their dad would have strangled them for daring to stress his wife.
In the end, both came home at the same time, and their mom ignored them completely, and behaved as though they hadn’t sent her out of her home with their barbaric attitude.
Tolu acknowledged that for weeks afterwards, everyone behaved themselves, dreading the fact that she would tell their dad.
Tolu’s mom story just showed that my mindset of it getting better with years might not necessarily be so; you just have a different type of fog to deal with.
Regardless of the darkness, I just want to keep the light in focus, simply because I must not fail at this assignment…but I must do it, staying true to me.
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