when motherhood wears you down

The wintry storm that came and disrupted spring is still carrying on outside. Inside is much the same; convalescing, fighting, squealing and boredom stirred together with a pinch of fed-up and a good dose of overwhelm.

When your children are young it’s easy to feel like your catapulted from one stage to the next. When I sense that we’re on the cusp of change I muster all my patience and awareness and brace myself for the necessary adjustment; mothering little ones requires such enormous amounts of adaptability. Am I adaptable? Yes, but it’s not always pretty and more often than not, I settle into a new stage only after resistance.

These past few weeks have been a bit of a struggle, to tell you the truth. And now that I’m well and truly past the mess of it I can see that actually, there was a lot was going on. It’s been three-and-a-bit weeks since Poet’s operation and while she powered through her recovery with courage and minimal complaints, her exhaustion has been evident. At around the same time Percy started eating solids and whilst he has devoured every crumb of every meal I’ve presented to him, I’m shocked (yet again) of the time-consuming nature of food and babies – so much mess, so much washing, so much time walking circles in the kitchen. The onset of school holidays coupled with torrential rain, Daniel working away and a slew of editorial deadlines has had me juggling like I’ve never done before. And yesterday the drama reached its peak when Percy fell off the bed because a certain little someone thought it would be a good idea to make a cubby house from all the pillows that were keeping him from rolling over. Thankfully he’s absolutely fine but oh, my nerves.

In the midst of this recent struggle I’ve gone to and fro between being ok with it all and teetering on the edge of thinking that this really is complete and utter madness. Mother hormones and the all-day-every-day of life with small children can be a vicious combination. And while it’s difficult to find perspective when you’re worn down and stressed there are those moments that make it all ok; a break in the weather and a walk outside, baby giggles, a story completed, tea and chocolate, soundly sleeping children, Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on fear and creativity – little things peppered throughout the chaos of the day that, ultimately, keep you chug, chug, chugging.

I try not to dwell on the slog of parenthood but acknowledging it exists is important.

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Showing 11 comments
  • katiecrackernuts

    It's a slog. My partner and I have grown up children and grandchildren (a real blessing for me at 10 years younger than my partner and having been privileged enough to be their stepmum). But even with grown children, the worry and care doesn't disappear. I think I am more anxious about what they have to deal with as adults than I ever was of their childhood dilemmas, even though we were immersed in them at the time. You sound like you doing a great job, and I know what that can feel like when one of the team is away. Go you.

  • Clarina S

    A beautiful description of the rollercoaster that is motherhood! I think it is totally normal to feel overwhelmed at times, and yes, sometimes it is just hard slog! Love the honesty in this post.x

  • Ruth Meaney

    I am feeling the slog today with a baby that won't stop crying and a demanding two year old. There are brief moments of joy but running away to be a nun sounds amazing right now.

  • Sarah Wharton

    I'm feelin you here Jodi, this past week has been very hormonal in our household, although I only have the one child, a delightful nearly-four-year-old she has her UPS then a massive. Sometimes it can last an hour or sometimes a whole day and I'm not going to lie someways I walk in to my room to let off a scream in my head before tackling the next day with a smile. I have literally no family available for help and no parents, grandparents etc most of our friends work 90% of the time so options for help is minimal and has always been so. Although I wouldn't change this journey for another because the moments no matter how small, whether it's a new word or a new song Lilah has created, it makes it all worth it. Especially those hugs!

  • Meg Smith

    Really needed to read this today. Have a gorgeous but grizzly bubba who was overtired, but wouldn't nap for long enough to be well rested. He's now dozing in my arms, but I'm waiting for the late evening unsettledness to kick in. I would dearly live for my baby to sleep independently at times just so I could have a moment or two to myself. But in have a bubba who loves to give me cuddles instead. And so while Ivan about to break into tears of exhaustion, I must say that yes, it helps just to acknowledge it. Thanks.

  • Melissa Willis

    The slog is real…and so are those deep-down-so-very-good moments of laughter and chocolate 🙂 You're doing a great job, Mama! Keep your head up and remember to practice Self Care!

  • ici

    I just spent a few days alone with my intensely active 4 years old boy (oh the tantrums!) and my 5 months old teething baby (oh the constant crying) in a rather small apartment with no garden and no real door between rooms. My partner promised me he would "give" me a afternoon just for myself the day after he'd come back and I kept visualizing this moment over and over again, holding on to it as it was the only thing that kept me sane.

    I also try to take a bath every other evening once the kids are asleep. During the day, in the worst moments, I keep thinking: no matter hard it is, no matter how much I want to throw my kids through the window, I know that there will be this bath! A place and time to reconnect with oneself, to take time, to breath, to reconnect with a body and a mind.

    There is also one weird thing about taking care of little ones: how you can be at once insanely busy and quite bored. I mean, sometimes I feel that what wears me down is the vacuity within the million little tasks, moves, steps, things we say over and over and over, things our hands do over and over… there are not enough verbs to describe all the manual things our hands must do during the course of a day. And the day is perpetual, never over, so our hands keep running and trying to shape time.

  • Erin

    I was feeling completely worn down after a long day when I read the title of your post. Perfect timing.

  • Unknown

    Oh Jodie I just loved your post about motherhood – its nice to know someone else feels the same way! especially so close to home (I am Daniels cousin, so my little boy Samuel is 2nd (I think) cousin to Che, Poet and Percy 🙂
    -Genna (Greg's daughter in NZ)

  • Brianna Blacklock

    Thank you so much for sharing that interview!

  • Jenny M

    I remember taking a walk up to our back fence many times, just so I could remove myself from the 'moment' of dealing with young children. It is good that you are also acknowledging openly how you feel about some of those trying times. Our 2 children are all grown up and out in the world, but I still remember so vividly certain times when everything felt so out of control!

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