My husband asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. As quick as a heartbeat I replied: “To pretend I’m not a mother for a day.” It was the truth, but as soon as the words left my mouth I felt guilty.
It didn’t matter that the conversation preceded my three-year-old’s swimming lesson, in which I spent a solid 40 minutes running after my one-year-old as he willfully tried launching objects or himself into the pool.
It didn’t matter that the conversation came on the back of the week my three-year0old had worms and turned into a devil child. It didn’t matter that the question came after 15 months straight of waking three to eight times a night.
The rough patch and the chronic sleep deprivation didn’t matter. Even if I was basking in the glory of motherhood, and let me just say there has been so much of that.
The answer still would have been the same. I am human and the yearly 24-hour shift adds up.
I crave space just to be with myself. I crave a quiet room with no one to think about but me. I want to spend time with the woman behind the mother.
Most days when people ask me how I am, I have absolutely no idea how to respond. Like most people I usually stick with the safety of “good, thanks.” Some days, what I really want to do is gush with joy all over the person who had lent me their ear.
I want to swoon with love and shout out in ecstasy. To all who will listen I want to say that I am happier than I ever felt possible, and that being a mother is the most incredible thing I have ever experienced.
Being a mother changes us, it molds (or beats) us into something new. We lose friends, we gain friends. Old dreams die and new dreams are born, what mattered so much, matters no more
Other days, like today in fact, I’d like to respond by telling the person we have all been lied to. I want to tell them that motherhood is the hardest job you will ever have, and that the pay is terrible.
I want to tell them that this morning I seriously contemplated jumping off the closest bridge just to get some peace and quiet.
Last year, I was interviewed by an artist named Kirsten Hocking, for a project she was working on called the Faces of Motherhood. Kirsten interviewed over 70 mothers on their experiences of being a mother -- the good stuff, the bad stuff, and all the flavours in between.
When we were done, I asked her: “What has been the most common thread?” She thought for a moment before responding: “Nearly every mother has said that they love the woman they become through being a mother.” I could totally relate.
Motherhood has shown me my greatest strengths, and has taught me more about being kinder to my weaknesses. It has taught me the deepest depths of love that human beings are capable of.
I could sit for hours and watch parents playing with their children at parks (I think I may have lost my one-year-old once due to this) seeing the unconditional love, the patience, and the care mothers, fathers, and grand-parents give to the children in their lives -- restores my faith in humanity.
It teaches me that the way we love our children, is the potential of the way we can love ourselves and the entire world. I told Kirsten all this, and then I laughed: “Well, I think I love the me I have become, but I’m not really sure I know her yet.”
Being a mother changes us, it molds (or beats) us into something new. We lose friends, we gain friends. Old dreams die and new dreams are born, what mattered so much, matters no more. We are forever changed, and yet the woman from before is still within us.
Being a full-time mom, I spend a lot of time at home. However, the home I’m craving, the one I want my husband to help me get back to, is the home within myself. I wish to return to that little place within me where my heart and soul beat for me and for me alone.
I want to experience that fleeting feeling in the quiet within, the sinking, the melting, the “Ahh … there you are” moment.
I want to be able to say to myself: “It’s so nice to find you again, how are we doing?” And I want to be able to respond: “I’m not sure, but let’s chat about it over a cup of tea.”
Amanda Jayne Fisher is a women’s wellness therapist, writer, social entrepreneur, and artist. She is the founder of Bachhara Ethical fashion. She can be contacted at amandafisher.net.au.