Today’s post is part of the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival celebrating the launch of the second edition of Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering by Amazon bestselling author, Lucy H. Pearce (published by Womancraft Publishing).
I am the vortex of a spinning wheel, a blur of maternal motion, a Catherine wheel of sparking thoughts, love, resentment joy and despair. Faster and faster I whirl through my days in a dance of agony and ecstasy. Everyday I spin outwards, my thread stretching, stretching, until it is in places as fine as a spider’s gossamer, in places as fat and comfortable as an old velvet cushion. As fraught and taught as a fine steel wire prickled with barbs, twanging tight and sharp with tension. As soft and yielding as the underbelly of a mother mouse, silken to the touch and quivering with love..
This is me. I am a mother, my life is woven of an inestimable collection of these threads, the sharp scratch of rough spun black wool of trying too hard to do the work of three people in a single hour; cheap beige polyester ball of flat dull monotony of meal planning and nappy washing, the softest alpaca yarn of sinking deep into the sofa with my toddler, a warm cup of tea to hand; the rainbow skein of lambs wool of a joyous red cheeked family day on the moor; the iridescent shimmer of fine silk of a few shining moments of awareness of my darling Lily who lives in other realms not so far away as it sometimes seems.
Eight little souls have been held in the dark creatrix of my womb, five have been birthed into earth bound children and right now my mother cloak feels large and comfortable enough for all of them, in whatever dimension they are.
It’s big enough, warm enough, wide enough, strong enough, loving enough for all this quivering, laughing, rippling, kicking, slumbering, singing beings within its folds.
My cloak is all powerful, like the best medicine of hedgerow herbs stored in carefully stoppered jars in my cupboard; like the like the most nourishing tales spun by candlelight near a November fire; like a cup of warm spiced milk and honey, sipped by a child in the curve of my arm.
Right now I am in the café which sells the best coffee in town, by myself, writing this, after a walk down the winding green lane from home, all scattered with the golden and crimson leaves of autumn. I had a good morning home educating my 9 and 7 year old and ticked everything off my to do list, including learning to spin using a drop spindle and doing maths while Finch slept. I even hung the laundry out.
So I feel good; Nourished. Satisfied. Capable. Resourced.
I’m sure you know its not like this every day.
Yesterday I was at the tail end of a week run of a night time vomiting bug which spread its tendrils around each child in sucession. Milk and diced carrots on my pillow at night, sheets soaking evilly in the bath, cups of herbal concoctions to soothe troubled tummys and flint sharp irritation with minor daily annoyances. (like someone eating just that bit too loud , a little too close to my ear) Cascades of unwashed laundry in the bathroom and still the need to cook volumes of food for all the people still well enough to eat. And late night support for teenage school projects. And constant availability of my body for comforting whoever was ill. And the need for producing captivating home ed projects for children well enough to work and wanting sums…yes really! And feverish almost constant sweeping of downright filthy floors with pale shaky toddler on my back, hip, lap, head, in an effort to believe that the house was not a complete slum. And quickly leaping up to deal with the latest ‘accident’…(even the cat decided to start vomiting in sympathy!) the minute I’d managed to grab a cup of tea and sit down for a moment.
The German student decided to have a birthday in the middle of all this, for which, in a heady, rash moment, I’d promised cake; baking for work days and school fairs, phone calls, emails solicitors banks, all needed to be dealt with.
My head was at once hollow and grey with fatigue, and squirming with tired illogical manic energy, half formed ideas which never quite made it out of my head through the pen and into a notebook.
I became devious with plotting ten minutes alone in my bedroom, sneaking off on the pretence of needing the toilet, five minutes to calmly crochet, to still my teeming brain, breathe, and soothe myself with the creative repetition.
I forgot myself , I forgot my body, I forgot that I had needs, I swore and crashed about and became downright weasely with resentment and self pity, wrangling and bargaining time from my time poor partner in a failing effort to stay sane. Everyone felt the cutting blade of my anger, my stress levels, my sheer exhaustion.
Someone asked me for a cuddle at a bedtime which had already gone on for far too long….nursing, singing, story telling, herbal tea fetching. And I said, for the record I said, ‘for god’s sake haven’t you had enough of me already’ and dropped a quick kiss…just so desperate to get away to an empty kitchen and a fire and a late night cup of tea, and hell, the chance to perhaps exchange two words with my partner while doing the washing up.
The poor child just wanted a cuddle and I just had nothing left to give, not a whisper.
I didn’t feel great about it.
But that’s what its like, the rollercoaster ride of motherhood which dips and soars with no warning that its about to change. Anger can evaporate in a moment, impatience can arrive in a second.
My love can spread itself very thin, it can achieve the work of ten in a day, can shimmer with saintly patience, shine with immeasurable brilliance…..and it can sometimes take a break to sleep. Its there, always…always but sometimes it needs to recharge.
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