Motherhood – this endless pushing forward and pulling back… this compulsive strain towards an unachievable goal in a world of achievable goals, checks and balances. This is the balancing act of a behind-the-scenes circus performer – the one no one is watching but many depend on. She is responsible for survival, perpetuation.
A mother knows there’s only a short window of time whereby she can press her lips into the back of her baby’s rosy softness… a slightly longer window where she can hold them close without feeling that wrench-away of excited, confident independence.
Yes, we know the unvoiced desire to drown in your child, freefalling into the cushiony-soft yet highly strung world they inhabit. It is a battle between fierce animal mother embraces, unselfconscious saliva kisses and bloodied finger sucking… and the sensible, unemotional decision to teach them independence, autonomy, freedom, apart from you. It’s the delicate push-pull every mother knows, yet never gets exactly right. This job is notoriously lacking in exactness or scientific reasoning and can make us feel like unemployed poets – doing what we love yet not contributing to the economy in any quantifiable, reliable way. It’s a role comprising both art and necessity. We need to paint the picture, messy as it might turn out.
Indeed, the brush strokes of our days are complex and varied, borne of passion and an indefinable purpose.
Parenting is like throwing kites to the wind.
And it’s this drunken, mad uncertainty that we’re both desperate for yet terrified of. It’s a gift and a calling that’s out of our control – and sometimes out of control.
Yet we choose it anyway.