The thing about being a woman is that you will always be bombarded with rows of fashion and beauty items the marketers will want you to own, you are spoiled for choice and while that isn’t in any way a catastrophe, you will soon realize that the outfits you choose may come with labels you weren’t prepared to hear - somedays you’re Superwoman, somedays you’re a villain. They will expect you to slay dragons, except that you won’t, you walk around with your hands in your pocket, and they will think you’re hiding your weapon, but the only thing you’ve got is a fist of superpowers better known as love, and when you free your hands up in the air, you will dance with them like you really just don’t care and you will tame the dragon with the stroke of your calloused fingers - the same fingers that stroke your daughter’s hair to sleep at night, the same fingers that swipe the touchscreen of your device as you text your deliverables to your bosses later the same night, the same fingers that sprinkle a little too much salt in your dinner when you can hardly open your eyes, the same fingers that push in the coins for your train fare before you can even see the daylight. These fingers - they know the things you fight for but they do not know the meaning of labels that society will continue to give you, and neither should you.

And while they will tell you to shoot for the stars, never ever let them tell you that your worth is in the weight of those stars you’re carrying, because no matter what you do, and no matter what you carry - grocery bags,

an oversized laptop bag, a child in one hand, a crying child in another,

a squeaky toy to comfort your crying child, a tablet that won’t stop blinking with messages from work, bus fares, extra change, a mop, responsibilities - never ever let them label the weight you’re carrying, because what they cannot measure is your dreams, your love

and the passion in the things that you do, the things that make you the superwoman who’s uniquely YOU.

I didn’t always enjoy motherhood as much as I do this way, under the sun. As I plant my smile somewhere in between my children’s cartwheeling shadows on the sunlit grass today, I am brought back to six years ago when motherhood first greeted me like a rush of huge waves; beautiful in pictures but surprisingly rough. I remember mourning what felt like a loss of freedom somewhere three weeks into the journey of mothering a newborn. I remember wondering why I didn’t instantly enjoy motherhood like in the pictures they painted. I remember wondering if I was going to feel that way forever and if I was ever cut out for this. And I remember, someone telling me that “someday, you will find a phase that becomes your favourite”. Maybe the waves would be a little less rough there, I thought. And those words have never rang truer today, and a couple of other times over the past years, in fact. Because motherhood, like other things in this temporal life, isn’t a constant. And not everyone fits into a cookie-cutter mould of a mother. I may not have found myself in one of those pictures where a mother smiles peacefully into her newborn’s eyes. But I am loving these sunburnt pictures we’ve painted together of us cartwheeling our ways on the grass. I have never enjoyed motherhood as much as I do this way, under the sun. And if you (future me included) find yourself drowning somewhere in between these rough waves of motherhood, remember that “someday, you will find a phase that becomes your favourite”. The waves aren’t any less rough there, but you’ll just find a favourite way to swim.

Motherhood, as it turned out, isn’t as straightforward as looking into your eyes while bearing a sparkle in mine while cradling you with a familiar lullaby as I rest my cheeks against this warm headrest on the family’s old rocking chair. No, it isn’t as straightforward as that, and in fact, there are no rocking chairs. With you, I am somewhere in between being obsessed with routines and reminding myself to embrace this mess. I am “go to bed by eight” and discovering Duplo blocks in the fruit basket. With you, time is neither moving too fast nor too slow, it is both of them and it is us living in different time zones. You want things now and I want to put things back where they belong, things like those Duplo blocks in the fruit basket and things like your bedtime that you have deferred another night. It is you growing up too fast and it is me waiting for you to nap in the carseat as I circle this drive-thru the third time. With you, I am constantly wanting to keep you safe and fervently wanting you to colour in the world map to represent all the places you’ve kissed the sun and played in muddy puddles. With you, things are neither this nor that, they never quite make sense. But without you, my life would never make sense.

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