Seeing the big picture when it comes to parenting

"All I can do is ignore the little annoying things, to wrap myself in the big things more often."
"All I can do is ignore the little annoying things, to wrap myself in the big things more often." 

It can be the smallest thing.

Finding more crumbs of toast smeared around the shoulders of my t-Shirt. Not being able to cram all the toys into the boxes, which are too small. Folding up more and more and more laundry. Every day.

I know these are small things. But these are the things that can really get to me.

There are other little things. Insignificant things.

Like throwing away meals which I've dutifully followed recipes for - but neither child will eat.

Like constantly repeating the same instructions to a toddler who won't put his sandals on.

Like finding more biscuit crumbs trodden into the carpet.

I know these things don't matter. But sometimes they are the worst things that can happen in the world, because they make it all crumble.


There are other unimportant things. Folding the buggy up and putting it into the boot again after lifting two small children into the car. Getting the buggy and the children out. Again. Strapping them in, unstrapping them, negotiating the buckles. Again.

Or, it's the endlessly cheerful jingles of children's TV. The soundtrack to my new life.

They are the smallest things that get to me, that eat away at me.

And then there's also the smallest but growing feelings which don't go away.

There is the guilt that I don't spend enough time just having fun with my son and daughter. There is the soul-destroying fear that I am not good enough. There is the worry that I'm getting this thing that is motherhood all wrong.

It's the things that shouldn't matter that get me.

It's not going to playgroup anymore because I don't want to make small talk about naptime routines. It's the stranger in the supermarket who asks me why my one-year-old isn't walking.

It's the exhaustion of holding all of these little pieces together all day. Every day. It's the fatigue that comes with letting go of the smile when they're finally asleep. It's the tiredness that grows out of not letting the cracks show.

It's the little things that get me. We all have these little things, though, don't we? Even if they're different?

They are the insignificant moments that make us want to hide in bed for a month. They are the should-have-been forgotten seconds that make us want to throw the half-eaten bowl of porridge across the kitchen.

I don't think there will ever be a way to stop the little things from getting me. Because life is full of the banal. Looked at the wrong way, the most precious, beautiful, never-to-be repeated moments can look too much like they are mundane.

So what I must do is try to look more often than not at these little things and see them for what they are. Wonderful, sometimes. Everyday, sometimes.

All I can do is try to wrap myself up in the big things more often. What are these? These are that we are all healthy. We are happy most of the time. We have each other. Always.

Sometimes it feels like hundreds of tiny cracks are spreading across the surface of our lives, creeping slowly into the foundations and threatening to make them crumble. Sometimes it feels like I don't have a firm hold on all the pieces and they are about to fall apart. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to wear this smile anymore.

And then the children laugh, or they stretch their arms out to be held, or they do something that they alone do. Then I'm reminded the smallest things get to us all. But we can do this together if we want to. With other mothers, fathers, friends, lovers - let's not do this alone.

This is life. This is parenting. The standing on Duplo, the throwing of home-cooked meals in the bin, the constantly scrubbing the carpet of sick, the carrying around a potty in a plastic bag, the understanding then of what is important after all and the knowing you really wouldn't want anything else. 

Yes, the smallest shouldn't-be-important stuff wears me down. That's life. They're only little things. The big things are the ones that are important. To them, I'm trying to hold on tight. It's something we could do together.

Essential Mums