parent opinion

"I was exhausted to the point of tears." What this mum selfie doesn't show.

I took this selfie of us last weekend. It was 7am on a Sunday, I was exhausted to the point of tears and I had been up countless times through the night with both kids.

Not overly different to any other night really, but for some reason it was one of my most challenging.

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It got me thinking about what it means to be ‘mum’.

Where uninterrupted and dream-filled sleep is long forgotten and replaced with multiple night feeds, cuddles to calm nightmares and bed-wetting.

When breastfeeding is over and your previously perky boobs take on the form of loose leaf tea-bags, so limp and lifeless you can tuck them into your jeans. Speaking of which - hello elastic waist bands!

Remember when you used to rock a bikini to the beach, but now a full-piece, rashie and board shorts isn’t enough to cover your pale, squishy body?

Speaking of the beach, remember when all you needed was your towel?

How about the last time you had a real adult conversation that wasn’t about snot, schedules or grocery lists? Or the last time you could trust a sneeze? Am I right ladies?

Have you looked in the mirror lately? Of course not, because you’ve come to the realisation that ignoring the reality of what you might actually look like, is easier than mourning your old self. 

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What about when cleaning the house wasn’t a pointless task?

I peed without an audience today... must be time for another baby!

When did your days go from being respected and rewarded at work to groceries, dog walking, laundry and making meals which end up on the floor? 

Sex, what’s that?

How about the fact that you need a second house just to store all the toys that no one plays with? 

Is today Wednesday or Friday?

When you think back to the last time you had a girls' night out and realise it was over two years ago and you should probably organise another. Hungover with kids? Don’t be stupid!

Last sleep-in? Can’t remember.

When coffee was served hot, wine was a right not a privilege, and there was time to order dessert. 

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Well, here you are, in a whole new world where you no longer identify or relate to your former self, and your entire reason for being is to serve them.

I was talking to a friend the other day and saying that when I can afford a big family home and my kids are old enough that I can have my career back, I'll feel like I’ve ‘made it’ in life. Like I’ve got everything I could have ever wanted. For now though, I’m just going to have to settle for being 'mum'.

And then that night, after a shocking day of toddler tantrums, self sacrifice and after telling myself I need to get to bed early or my eyeballs might actually fall out, I spent an hour looking through my photos. 

Goodbye photos of cocktails and sunsets; only kid shots in this gallery. 

I scrolled, smiling and laughing at my snotty-nosed, screaming children thinking 'damn, they’re beautiful'. WHAT. A. MIND. F**K.

Image: Supplied.  Because despite all the challenges, they taught me the meaning of happiness. That we need to appreciate the small things in life, as these are the things that we'll miss most when they are lost.

So I guess, in a way, I have made it. While I don’t live in a five bedroom house with a butler's pantry, big backyard and a cubby house, I have a home filled with love, fun and toddler giggles. And while I don’t work 9-5 in a role where I am challenged and praised for a job well done, I do have the best kind of challenging and rewarding job. 

And although this may just be the sleep deprivation talking, my kids bring me so much joy that I would give my life 1000 times over just to be their mum.

Who the f**k has time to clean a five bedroom house, anyway?

Feature Image: Supplied.

Jaimie is a mum of girls, Maltesers addict and realist. She's rarely filtered, honest, and humbled when people read her rambles and can relate.

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