Reality check

It can be hard to leave things unfinished.

To start, stop, then restart.

To have everything remain as a work in progress.

And I wasn’t prepared for it – This aspect of my behaviour which would face a massive reality check in motherhood.

My whole life I have been prepared.

I’ve prided myself on getting things done.

I’ve been a “doer”.

My life before becoming a mother was dictated by timesheets, organisation and “productivity”.⠀

I was always on time.

I was trying to fit as much as I could into a work day.

I got such fulfilment from being “productive”.

And I was rewarded for it too.

Productivity meant getting better grades, moving up in the workforce, getting positive reviews from work (and others).

This is what we are taught to strive for as young women,

As though this sort of productivity is the true measure of success.

And perhaps it is in the workforce,

But it’s not in motherhood.

Productivity in motherhood isn’t measured by how much you get done, but by doing what you can, of what actually matters.

It’s is spending time with them.

It’s feeding them.

It’s being on demand.

It’s watching them.

It’s teaching them.

It’s helping them get to a place of calm.

It’s cuddling them.

It’s changing their nappies.

It’s bathing them.

It’s playing with them.

It’s loving them.

It’s keeping them alive, happy and well.

And even though I write this, it’s not always easy for me to recognise some days.

The conditioning runs deep.

So I need to remind myself of this often:

By doing these things, I am being productive.

By letting what I used to consider as “productive” fall by the weigh-side or ask it to wait, I am being productive.

By ticking off the invisible list of love, I am being productive.

And when I really need that extra perspective shift, I ask myself:

What in the world could be more productive than growing and caring for another human?

Than raising the future?

Than being responsible for an entire life?

Because the answer is: Nothing.

I repeat: Nothing.

Mothering is progressing the best sort of work in progress, even if it’s hard to see some days.

And while everything else remains largely unfinished, or on tomorrow’s list,

What matters will never really be complete either,

Because I will never be finished loving them.

And what a beautiful reality check that is.

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