I’m realising more and more that we take on so many roles as a mum. When we are given this incredible responsibility we somehow, and so intelligently mind you, learn new skills and develop ourselves into a chameleon of parenting. Nowadays I’ll try my hand at baking that all too special birthday cake even though after many attempts I still know I’m no baker at heart. At times I’ve become calmer in my approach to the world around me and other times I’ve discovered a whole new me when ‘angry mummy’ shows up to start getting someone (anyone please!) to listen. I can juggle tasks, human bodies, nappy bags, prams and a loaf of bread like a boss when back in the day I thought my handbag was too heavy at times (so precious). I’ve also become a creative problem solver, if not due to my newfound intelligence but for my own survival and maintenance of sanity… if you can’t solve a problem shit just might get a little messy.
So with all these roles I try to take them in my stride. And most days I think I’m doing a pretty good job. But I do see now that within each of the roles we play as mother, there are many faces. We will happily lay claim to all the cool new stuff we have learnt as mums but how often do we acknowledge the face we portray to the world around us? How we have adapted and continue to embrace these change emotionally?
On any one single day of the week I could have many faces.
Eyes bright with beaming love when I pick our baby up for her first cuddle of the day, so glad to see her beautiful little button nose and hear all her squirmy noises as she wakes.
Next I’m showing the face of despair, pushed to my absolute limits by unruly toddlers who won’t listen and fight each other like cats and dogs. Soon there could be anger, that despair and feeling of overwhelm morphs into all out crazy mumma when a bag of flour is dumped on the carpet and billows over the top of baby resting on the play mat.
My next face is sadness, tears streaming with my eldest asking why my heart is hurting… so then I cry some more. When he asks me if I want a cuddle my face softens, fills with warmth and gratitude as I hug this amazing little human being that we created (how on earth do we do it so right?!).
My friend pops by and my face is disguised, hiding behind the smile is the nightmarish day we have had, but my face won’t reveal any of that, I'm too strong and too stubborn to ask for help or admit "defeat".
There's the face that says you're tired yet beyond those dark circles, unmoisturised skin and frizzy hair is a tiredness bigger than you can put into words. An exhausted feeling that despite the toll it's taking, it's familiar and you just roll with it. This tiredness has become home and for today at least you've accepted that.
When hubby walks in the door he sees a face filled with relief, thankful he is home and here to hug away the worries, the face that he sees is one where he knows my world wouldn’t be complete unless he was in it.
The best face of all is the one where happiness beams out of every pore, playing with the boys, chasing them and being silly, tickling bub and hearing those angelic giggles... I’m sure sunshine rays are radiating from my face.
So many different faces we have as a mum, so many ways we reflect our world. Most often we try to be positive, not let anyone see when it’s tough. We think we need to have those sunshine rays beaming from us all the time, because if we don’t, well then we must be doing this parenting thing wrong. Letting someone see that sad face, the desperate face, the face that says I’ve had enough of all this shit… well that’s the real one.
But it’s that realness we try to hide. Hide no more I say. I don’t need to preach about those sunshine beams, we know being a parent is incredible, fun and love bursting from your soul kind of stuff. What many of us don’t hear enough about is the other faces we have, what else happens to us in between those moments of sunshine? If we can be more honest about what’s in between then less women will feel the need to put on a face, to fake it, to keep their chin up and be brave when they don’t feel they can or want to be.
Today my face is a mixed bag. It’s stained with the emotional clutter we experienced this week, when mummy had some heart wrenching realisations and tried to let go of the madness that stormed through our household. But this face is mostly filled with anticipation and an eagerness to take on the next challenge. It’s a face that says good things are coming and for every storm I have weathered I know there will be sunbeams waiting for their chance to bounce their way out of me.