On Motherhood and Momentum


I ask too much of myself. I say this isn’t good enough. You need to be better. This house isn’t what it could be. You need to work harder to make it nicer. You are too fat. This is shabby. You are too scruffy. This is dirty. You shouldn’t feel like this. Or that. You shouldn’t be exhausted/hungry/dis-organised. On and on I berate myself, using up precious headspace conjuring up plans to be a better me and forcing myself to listen to this relentlessly cruel inner dialogue.

So I create routines and rituals for betterment.  I eat better and shop better and work better and life gets better and I can see tomorrow and next year and I like myself more and for a while all is well. And then optimism is dampened by little blots of gloom. I start to tell myself that I don’t deserve good things. That it won’t last. That I will not be able to keep it up. That I will be exposed as a fake something. A fake cheery person. A fake Mummy. A fake writer. A fake everything.

On Wednesday I woke up blue. My body was sad, throbbing with discontent and refusing to cooperate. I knew before I opened my eyes that the ring on my finger was once again wedged in swollen flesh and that my feet would hurt when I pressed them to the ground – the physical manifestations of a thyroid swooping up and down at will. And with the throbbing came the anxiety. And the red hot poker jabs at my confidence. I had a bad case of  the what’s the points and knew not how to fix it.

High on my list were worries were the results of my babba’s biopsy the following day. The fact that Brocantehome was painfully slow and my emails were still being eaten by the email monster. That my authentic self definitely preferred hot chocolate to green smoothies  and  that I could not predict the outcome of the next few months. High on my long list of burdening emotions were subdued fright, disappointment and something like disgust. Disgust. A killer if ever there was one. After weeks of being a wonderful me, without warning I had lost momentum. Crashed and burned and depleted.

This happens doesn’t it? We set out on a new path and just when the Emerald City seems to be in sight we let fear push us off our own wagon and leave us stranded, shocked and bruised in a field full of poppies. This happens. It has to be normal. Something to be expected. And when it does we don’t have to lie in the grit and wait for help to go galloping past us. We can instead stand up and dust ourselves off and sit quietly nibbling at the picnic we have wrapped in red gingham, letting slumber take us when it chooses to, and then working up momentum all over again to climb back on board  and re-commence our journey.

And so I went out and treated myself to something on my 100 things list. I wrote page after page of nothing in scrawl never intended to be read. I  washed my little boys curly hair and told him blood tests didn’t hurt at all and the doctor wasn’t going to do anything terrible the next day and that even if the news was a bit rubbish we would always have each other and I was his Mommy and I could make everything alright no matter what.

And he believed me and I almost believed me. So when Thursday dawned and the kindest, oldest doctor in the world told us that yes Finley did have the very rare Ora-Facial Granulomatosis we were so hoping he didn’t have, I asked a million questions and made it clear I did not live with Mark and could not be held responsible for the one ridiculous question he asked, and agreed to put my child on a Cinnamon and Benzoate free diet and worried out loud about the likelihood of OFG being a precursor for Chrohns Disease, and all of a sudden I was me again. A little bit shaken, but strong and determined and willing and absolutely able: for in Motherhood we find all of this and more and even if we never, ever make it to the Emerald City and find ourselves living in long, tangly grass instead, we know that we will manage and that all the routines and rituals for betterment we have created can be picked up and put down again as and when our souls say… now please, now I can carry you a little bit further along that path. Now is the right time again.

I don’t really know what I am saying here. I wanted to tell you that I am like you. That I disappoint myself. That sometimes I am scared witless of what will be and that above all else I am a Mother and that even when I am at my lowest I have reservoirs of strength barely touched. I wanted to say that I too am at the mercy of physical ailments and emotional trenches and that when I am, Motherhood gives me strength and says thin/organised/tidy doesn’t matter. Your little one matters but everything else can wait. It’s all just gravy.

Yes. I think that is what I wanted tell you: It’s all just gravy. Don’t sweat it Sweetheart. 

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13 comments on “On Motherhood and Momentum

  1. Yes. It amazes me how one day I feel so great, like I can take on the world, how I feel like the amazing mom and wife I strive to be, but know deep down inside that times like that don’t last. And I feel as if I have absolutely no control over it. It’s so frustrating. Why can’t I feel that wonderful and positive all the time if I wish to do so? How is it that I can be knocked down off my high horse at the blink of an eye and suddenly feel as if I am trapped under a muck 6 feet deep without a lifeline to hang on to?
    Hang in there, Alison. I’m sorry about Finn’s diagnosis. Life sure isn’t fair, is it?

  2. oh honey i can relate. what i adore about you is your ability to always put your babba first even when you have a million other things taking up mind space. he is absolutely blessed to have you as his mama.

    blessings,
    helen

  3. Sophie on said:

    Thinking of you both. Sophie Honeysuckle xxx

  4. I hope you and Finn are feeling better . I love the post today. It was comforting and inspiring. Thank you for two of the positive affirmations within ” I am strong, determined and willing and absolutely able ” and ” I have resovoirs of strength barely touched ” .
    You are an awesome mom and writer ,

  5. Hugs… And then some more hugs….. Thinking of you both!

  6. That first paragraph was like you popped into my head and took out the regular inner dialogue and wrote it down! The older I get the more I realise I am not alone in anything, we might all dance to our own drumbeat, but we are dancing alongside each other. Hugs and kisses to you both.

  7. Oh Alison, I’m so sorry to read about the diagnosis, OFG doesn’t look much fun. I am sure though that if anyone can power through it with imagination, you can. Finn is lucky to have such a wonderful mother.

  8. First: That thyroid could be at the root of some of this.

    Second: You are the bestest! This post is raw and authentic and so wonderfully great. Why? Because I know that when I’m feeling down, I’ve been dumb enough to compare myself to you and say, “Self, look at your miserable, loser-like, craptaculous life and know that compared to Alyson…” And then I just crawl into bed and weep, even though I know, way, way down deep in my soul, that not only would that attitude shock you, but you’d be the first one to bring me a hankie, a cup of tea, and a hug, were you even on this continent. So, it’s more than okay to know that you don’t lead the magically charmed life I sometimes torture myself imagining and that you, too, actually live a Real Life, which is so much better anyway.

  9. Brunette on said:

    So I haven’t gotten any e-mail notifications of new posts since Friday, but popped on over because I craved a little Brocante…and found 3 new posts! Delightful surprise, then bad news. *sigh*
    Hug your little guy tight and keep making his life as scrumptious as possible. A cozy, warm house packed with love and homely ritual is a very comforting thing for a child, especially a sick one. Be encouraged; you have lots of people who love you and root for you, and spring is on the way!

  10. Yes…life can feel so daunting at times, but that feeling doesn’t last forever…as you have found, brave Alison. I sighed for you and Finn after reading the list of foods to avoid, but know from experience that you will find a way to make it work-and because you are you-make it work as beautifully as possible.

    Wishing you both so well with it all. xo

  11. You are so fabulous,sending hugs to you and Finn xxx

  12. how do you make us giggle and weep in one post? Keeping you and little Finn in my prayers. You are doing a wonderful job!