Motherhood. Before I had children I thought it would be relatively straightforward. You care for them, cuddle them, clean them, feed them, play with them. No one could have ever explained to me the depth, the cavities, the gullies and the complexities that I still don’t understand almost four years in.
While striving for a simple existence, my life has become more complex than I ever could have imagined. 2013 was an internal explosion of this life, this existence. Every conflict I felt, every confusion, every darkness and every light imploded on my very being. At times it felt like I was collapsing, at others I felt so enriched and enlightened by motherhood that I could hardly bare the weight of it. Caring for a small baby who didn’t care much for sleeping or for eating, and a toddler who needed me absolutely immediately and constantly brought with it such intense conflicts. Conflict between my love and my frustration. Clashes between my yearning for my children and my exhaustion. Desperately needing time for myself, feeling the urge to learn, to expand the tiny corner of my brain that is reserved for me versus the fight to keep that tiny corner, to fence it off and bar the doors and not let it be overrun by chicken stock and nappies and watercolour paints. Friction between me and my lovely husband, as I watched him drive away each morning, coffee in hand on his way to work. A hopeless, strangling love for these tiny beings strapped to my chest and gripping my legs, and, at times, an intense urge to be alone, to be quiet, to not be touched.
That was then. Now it’s 2014 and although I still feel the same way and experience the same antithesis, I have spent the summer consolidating. We spent time by the ocean and in the forest. I didn’t take my crochet with me. I deleted instagram from my phone. I took my usual summer sabbatical from facebook.
I spent time re-building rhythm into our days. I joined a writing group to preserve that little corner I hold so dear. I paid attention to nature’s cycles: the moon, the weather. I listened to my body and my mind. I saw little connections that I have been ignoring. I adjusted our diets and cleared out our home. I gathered my thoughts. I collected little bunches of them: negativity, jealousy, anger, depression. I acknowledged them and the darkness they bring with them. I allowed myself to feel them knowing that their propulsion is short lived. They come on fast but stay only momentarily.
Things are easier now. Motherhood will forever be filled with these explosions of darkness and light. There will always be conflicts, confusion, contradictions. There will be inconsistencies of mind and thought. There will be pushing and pulling.
This year I want to embrace the push and the pull. I know now that the good is here to stay and the bad is transparent, temporary. I want to keep consolidating, compartmentalising. I want to find and recognise the simplicity amongst the chaos. A simple “mama” uttered from the lips of my smallest. An evening of silence when both children miraculously Go. To. Sleep. A walk up to the coffee shop. Holding his hand. The stirring of my weekly pot of stock. Small moments alone.
I know this is just the beginning. I am still learning. And that is ok.
What do you hope 2014 will bring?