“Waaaaake UP, Maaamaaaa.” My five-year old’s whine cut cruelly through REM mode like a dull knife pressing down on a firm tomato. My brain explodes red pulp and seeds. It’s like the film Inception but instead of my secrets being stolen from my resting mind via Leonardo DiCaprio, it was a girlchild with curly hair, her toddler-esque tummy peeking out from a too-small shirt and indignant look on her face, who was entering my dreams.
My eyes fluttered open and I accepted a breath as deep as I could manage as I finally sat up. My body was heavy with fatigue from a the previous day’s happenings, working until 11:30 PM, and being roused 2-3 times during the night by my snot-filled, congested 2-year old. The 2-year old who was also calling my name, “Mama! Mama! Mama! Maaaaaaamaaaaaa!”
Under my breath I uttered a Quebecois French curse word. Since English their first language, it’s OK.
Walking down the hall to prepare the first meal, change the first diaper, pour the first milks, end the first fight over a piece of string, my legs felt heavy as if I’d been hiking for hours instead of laying on top of my duvet in an attempt to stay cool in the rapidly intensifying Montreal summer.
I felt angry and began making a mental list of the groups who had enjoyed more sleep than I:
- prison inmates
That’s as far as I got before the first fight between my wrestling champ (2-year old) and her older sister began.
Twenty minutes later we were all in the kitchen, my Mac perched against the counter next to flour, baking power, eggs, mixing bowls and my favorite cookbook. My psyche needed healing and there is no activity that calms my spirit like baking.
As my girls and I proceeded to make the mess of all messes while mixing sweet potato purée with eggs and kneading sticky white mounds into loaves in preparation for dinner- a meal that seemed lifetimes away, we laughed and talked, My toddler cried as the muffins entered the oven (goodbyes are hard for her), and I relaxed into mothering.
I floated around the kitchen, fully in my element cleaning up eggshells, checking emails, and wiping hands. For the past two weeks I’ve been working my full-time business from home without a babysitter which has pushed me to new levels of…let’s call it “growth”.
It’s exhausting but from somewhere in my maternal soul I know there is a well. Sometimes in the midst of chaos and simultaneous child meltdowns all it takes it thinking of the millions of mothers who also have their hands on their hips surrounded by unfolded laundry and their mess offspring- to renew my spirit. I’m not the only one.
Motherhood brings me down all day. On my hand and knees I search for the one miniscule cheap plastic toy that if not found will destroy my 5-year olds life forever, she says. Changing tables are for some people. I sit on the floor, form a diamond with my legs and lay my baby’s head on top of my kissing soles. The women before me stooped to gather grain and berries, I bend to return toys to the toy box and retrieve crayons from corners. How many hours I’ve spent sitting on my bathroom floor while my daughters bathe, pee, poop, brush, and change, I will never know.
Motherhood brings me so low down. I hunch to pick up my child, her chubby, sticky arms reach, her fingers spread, her eyes say “Up!”. When the afternoon hits and I need a moment I lay down on a blanket and become a jungle gym bounce house with breasts. Sometimes I’m a sleeping tiger, hospital patient, or a hairdresser’s client while I enjoy the feeling of my hardwood floors supporting my body.
There’s no chance of me floating away, my motherhood keeps me firmly anchored, the kneeling and bending is its own constant prayer, and accidental worship. My whole life is holy, messy, infuriating, and miraculous, and ridiculously sweet. And sleep deprived. Human nature in its purest form stands two inches in front of my face daily.
If not for dirt perhaps mothering would pull me to the center of the Earth where Gaia and I would share secrets and have tea. Maybe she’d let me take a nap.
This life, mothering, is an umbilical cord. Perhaps that’s why when mothers are pulled in too many directions the strain is felt so deep. We’re mysteriously tethered to the Earth.
My kids bring me down daily. This calling pulls me down. I’m grateful for that.
Bunmi is a mother, writer, and social media entrepreneur living in Montréal, Canada (by way of California). She has two girls ages 5 and almost 2.
She is the blogger behind http://www.montrealmomblog.com
About Bunmi Laditan
Bunmi is a mother, writer, and social media entrepreneur living in Montréal, Canada (by way of California). She has two girls ages 6 and almost 2.