It’s The Little Things

By De Elizabeth

Motherhood has a way of making one day bleed into the next with ease; life sometimes feels like a rotation of meals (most of which end up on the floor), cleaning up, making a mess, and cleaning up again. Morning catapults into the afternoon which slips into evening, all within seconds, even on the longest and toughest days. There’s a scene in the 2018 film Tully where Marlo (Charlize Theron) is essentially on a 2 a.m. loop: a montage of the light switching on, a diaper change, feeding, back to sleep, rinse and repeat. So much of motherhood, even beyond the newborn stage, feels a lot like that.

And so, you find solace in the little things. The pockets of quiet first thing in the morning, when the light filters in, white and grey. The moments of laughter, the first inside joke formed, the sounds of giggles you want to imprint on your memory to dig up sometime in the future when they’ve changed and no longer sound like that anymore. A cup of coffee that you manage to drink hot all the way through. A rare date night, a window of time to yourself, a chapter of a book you actually find time to read. Those few and far between pockets of time when life stands still a little bit for a snuggle or a story, when everyone stops moving and you can just exist, quietly, together.

But it’s the little things that are hard, too. A 2-minute phone call to make a dentist appointment when your toddler is screaming at your feet, demanding you play with them. Ten seconds to hear yourself think at the grocery store to decide if you want organic or non-organic strawberries. Trying to wash the dishes while also supervise and make sure no one is climbing the furniture while your back is turned for a minute. The tasks that you barely thought of before, the little things that never even demanded an iota of your mental capacity — all of it becomes a production when you have a tiny human who is sometimes more like a tiny tyrant. Those little things take a silent toll.

As with all parts of motherhood, every hard part is a phase, everything that is tough today might not be tough tomorrow. “This too shall pass” is the mantra of new moms everywhere because it’s endlessly true. But those hard parts aren’t necessarily replaced with better ones, they just become hard in different ways. The good little things and the bad little things are always there.

And while some might be quick to declare “the good outweighs the bad,” there are certainly days when that doesn’t seem accurate. There are days that are just plain bad, days where nothing goes right, days where you want to hit the reset button — or better yet, just fast forward to the end, to when you get to go to sleep. We’ll try again tomorrow.

So maybe it’s not that the good outweighs the bad, and maybe it’s not that the bad outweighs the good. Maybe the good and the bad just are there together, drifting somewhere alongside one another in the same shared space. And you take the bad little things knowing that there are good ones somewhere, too. For every “I can’t even hear myself think” moment there might be a snuggle, or a hot cup of coffee — or both — right around the corner. It doesn’t make the tough moments any easier, but somehow, it makes them worth surviving. And that’s ultimately enough.

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash