Everyday struggles of a “weightlifting” mother that we all can relate to
and the answer of how to survive and stay sane (yes, it is possible!).
Illustration: Mara Viska.
When you think of Mother`s day, what`s the first thought that comes to mind? Champagne in bed, “Best mum ever” cards, a high dose of saccharine, exquisite dinner in a fancy restaurant… Or more like screams and tears, emotional rollercoasters, cooking three different dishes for every meal (because one child has allergies while another is a gourmand-level picky eater), juggling with work duties and piano class appointments, and changing dirty nappies all day long? No wonder this day brings up some mixed feelings. Read the essay from MADARA Skin Care founder Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere:
“With International Women`s day becoming a symbol of empowerment, I think this is the moment for Mother`s day to be re-shaped as well. Other mums might agree that it is hard to relate to this floral and gentle vibe that surrounds this tradition. Have you seen those super happy, loving, Instagram-worthy Mother`s day mornings in movies or on social media? Instead of this beautiful and serene scenery, I, as a mother of three kids and an active businesswoman, consider motherhood more like being a warrior, weight-lifter or a marathon runner than an ethereal goddess. This is why I want this tough side of motherhood to be appreciated and celebrated as well.
To put it gently, becoming a parent is the most life-changing experience I`ve ever had. Founding a company, building a skincare factory and re-constructing houses (two of them, to be precise) is a piece of cake compared to rising a child.
The first child completely transforms (may I say – ruins?) your life and everyday routine, so you must build a new one for years. Forget about a good night’s sleep for at least 4 years, eating with a knife and fork for 2.5 years… Or even longer! No more brunching with friends or lounging on summer evenings (this part I miss the most). Instead of that, every Saturday morning starts at 6:30 AM with a baby’s cry as the first sound you hear. And there is no pause button that can save you for even a minute – the only escape comes in the form of the grandparents.
If you`re a well-established hipster who considers choosing between freshly ground Kenyan VS. Ethiopian coffee for your artisan cappuccino as the toughest task of the day, after the first child you might even find yourself desperately sipping some brown-coloured liquids at your local convenience store. However, maternity is a real opportunity if you`re a shopping addict – imagine the endless style possibilities which are provided by shifting in size and shape in terms of 30 kilograms or more.
The good news is that the second child does NOT double the mess. I would say it adds about 60% more of it. By this you`ll learn to eat with your fingers while nursing a baby, will get used to jam stains on your white office shirt, and of course – porridge, juice and Lego pieces all over the floor (consider it a foot massage). And I will use this opportunity to advocate for an even bigger family – if you have 2 kids, think of having one more! As it turns out, one more baby blends in smoothly and almost unnoticed in the everyday mess. The only thing you`ll need to figure out is how to stuff five people, two bikes, one stroller and nine bags in one car, unless you drive an Escalade, the bigger version.
Do you still picture a mother like a serene Madonna with a child? Then I want you to come shopping with me for flower seedlings at the home goods store. I can`t imagine you staying emotionless while trying to talk one kid out of buying the hugest bubble gum package, while the three-year old suddenly disconnects the electricity for customer service. And I want to see the bliss in your face when you finally arrive home and only then realise that you just forgot and left all the purchased goods (including the bubble gum) at the store. Screams, tears, dirty nappies and empty flower beds in the backyard. And remember – there is no pause button.
So HOW can a parent survive?! Our family has developed some strategies. Our humour has become incredibly black – you either joke or cry (or both at the same time). We do have our daily moments of escape – I meditate with my cup of coffee for 10 minutes every morning by the window, while the world around me can explode. Meanwhile my husband stays in the shower until the water supply of the municipality is over (I`m sorry, I`m aware of global water issues, but we have three kids!). And, of course, we share all the household duties as the gender roles went out of fashion in the 19th century. I make dinner, nurse the children and wash the floors, while my husband makes breakfast, takes the children to daycare and does 80% of the grocery shopping. And we both work two shifts daily – during the day and at night when the children are asleep.
Does someone need any more evidence that motherhood is closer to being a warrior than a serene mother, which is the ideal of maternity promoted though the centuries? In fact, feminism philosophers have challenged this icon by pointing out that maternity is a socially constructed role, which has often been used to discriminate gender. As put by Latvian author and art critic Jana Kukaine in her book Beautiful Mothers. Woman. Body. Subjectivity (Neputns , 2016), natural motherhood appears to be a collective fantasy. As she writes, motherhood is traditionally associated with nature, the corporeal, the instinctive and the emotional. “The child is not an otherworldly event taking place outside of time and space; instead, it is the totality of real worries and anxiety, sleepless nights, lectures, empty plates, grazed knees, tears, horseplay, laughter and a loving touch. (..) The more clearly women articulate their experience, without fearing also talking about the difficult, despairing, sorrowful and disappointing moments, the fuller the picture and the more authentic the features on the Madonna`s contemplative face. After all, an honest articulation of women`s experiences will lead to fruitful discussions and the transformation of actual motherhood practices.”
Illustration: Mara Viska.
Even though maternity sounds like a mission for Iron Man, I admit, it has its moments of nirvana. Giving birth is a cosmic event, watching them sleep is magic. Watching them grow unveils the mystery of why this world still exists after all.
So I would like to express my deepest respect for all the Iron Mothers out there, send special hugs and sweet wishes to all of my single parent friends, mothers of sick children and angel babies. Greetings to all of the mothers on every continent who, deprived of empowerment, safety, cutting-edge healthcare, education, and basic human rights, ensure the survival of the human race.
TREAT YOURSELF OR YOUR SWEET MOM THIS MONTH
WITH THESE FEEL-GOOD FINDS
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What are your thoughts on motherhood and Mother`s day?