Tonight, as I sat with my son in my arms waiting for him to fall asleep (as I had already done once this evening with the baby) I once again felt the crushing weight of responsibility heavy on my shoulders.
Until you become a mother I don’t think you can ever know what it feels like to be needed so absolutely by one person (or two, or three…) I love my boys, of course I do, but my life now is just an endless stream of feeding and washing and cooking and trying to get a baby to sleep or trying to stop a toddler taking an accidental car nap which will lead to a bedtime that can last for hours. It is a never ending chorus of ‘mummy do it’, ‘my cuddle mummy’, ‘I hurt my finger’, ‘I did a poo’, ‘I want my daddy’.
It is having a toddler hanging on my leg as I try to put my shoes on, of little eyes watching as I sit on the toilet.
It is a baby who is actually endlessly patient as I plonk him in his bouncer or on his playmat yet again so I can make breakfast or lunch, or change a nappy or pack a nursery bag. A baby who is so good as he is bundled in and out of the car several times a day as we run another errand. But it is also a baby who has me up by 5am every day and who I spend at least two hours of the day trying to get to nap, or stay asleep.
It is a two and a half year old who still wakes up crying almost every night and who will only settle for me, usually when I get in bed with him. It is trying desperately to stay awake so I can creep back to my own bed rather than wake up in bed with a toddler at 3am when I hear the grumbling of the baby next door in my own bedroom.
I have the best, most supportive husband I could wish for, but there are so many times at the moment when only mummy will do. And as much as he helps with the chores (and sometimes it seems our only conversation is about whether there’s washing to be done, or how many bottles need to be made) he can’t help me escape from the suffocating neediness that two small children have for their mother.
And so as I waited for the toddler to fall asleep (anything to avoid the crying and wailing which are inevitable at the moment if I try and leave the room while he is still awake) and the tears rolled down my cheeks I heard a little voice say ‘stop crying mummy’ and that only made me cry some more.