I went around to a friend’s place tonight to cook dinner for her family. Her husband is away for three months and she is alone with two children under four with another on the way. Talk about doing the hard yards.
What I noticed most during out time together was the unrelenting nature of motherhood. The two little ones couldn’t leave her alone for five seconds. The three year old was “Why? Why? Why?” about everything we said and the two year old clung to her mother as if she was a life raft on stormy seas. My friend was desperate for someone to entertain her children for five minutes just so her head could clear. Doing the dishes or hanging out a load of washing while her children were read a story is her idea of nirvana.
It brought back a lot of memories. My children are older now but I remember too well their early years. I felt like Persephone descended to the underworld waiting to be released back into the world again. Starting work full-time when my youngest was three felt like going on a holiday. You get recess and lunchtimes as a teacher, not so much as a parent. Whilst not so long ago my friend couldn’t wait to stay home and raise a family she has begun to dream of returning to work part-time for similar reasons.
Not that either of us don’t adore our children. We’d do anything for them. But because we take our parental role seriously, because we are constantly working to develop our children into decent, caring, thoughtful, independent human beings, we get exhausted. Mother/parenthood is a 24/7 business.
Which brings me back to a card we looked at the other day, the Eight Of Pentacles.
A young man works at etching a pentacle into a series of coins. Over and over again he repeats the same task. The project absorbs all his attention. Like a mum or dad raising children. Teaching them to survive, trying to install decent values, repeating the same lessons over and over again.
Do you have children? Did you find their early years exhausting or did you just breeze through it? Some do. Please share.