I am endlessly scraping, scrubbing and sweeping dried food off the floor. I clean the poo stains off my new dress. I used to have a job where I led and managed a team. But now I wash and I wash and I wash; sheets, towels, bottles, bottoms.
No one tells you about this before you become a mother. That it is exhausting.
Watch: How the Horoscopes home school their kids. Post continues below.
No one tells you that it is boring, mind-numbingly boring, being home with children. That it is relentless. That you’ll long to send them to childcare.
For another woman to hold your beautiful son, to comfort him when he’s sad, to feed him lunch and pat him to sleep. Because you feel like you are going insane.
This isn’t necessarily depression. It is reality. The reality of being at home with small children is work. Hard work. Emotionally and physically. No one will tell you that. They’ll say, ‘they are only young once’ and ‘it just goes so fast’.
But they are forgetting all that washing.
Before I became a mother, while waiting at a doctor’s surgery, I once watched a lovely little girl desperately trying to get the attention of her mother who was fixed on her phone. Later, I described this scene to others remarking on the outrageousness of this mother’s behaviour.
Now I know what it is actually like having a sick child – or worse, having a sick child and being sick yourself.
That awful sliding feeling of just wanting to crawl into bed but having to stay upright. Of checking temperatures and making sure no one gets dehydrated. Of explaining why they can’t go outside and run around. Of just wishing you could lie down and sleep as you try to cajole them into a nap.
Being a mother is putting your body second. All the time. It is your body being changed so fundamentally by carrying and feeding those babies. But you expected that (sort of).
What you didn’t expect was that you can’t be bothered doing anything about it, because you are so tired. Achingly, boringly tired. So tired you feel like you could sleep for the rest of your life and still not be rested.
I thought I knew what tired felt like before children.
It was the tired exhilaration of running ten kilometres. Or the tired, weariness of staying back late at work to get the project done. Or the exquisite tired of a new lover, when you can stay awake all night because just brushing against them is so thrillingly erotic.
I remember, the tired ache in your feet from dancing all night and stumbling into your home, with the walls and floors suddenly appearing in unexpected places and laughingly thinking ‘this might hurt tomorrow.’