What Then

What do you do when you’re so tired the first response you feel is anger?

What do you do when you give them the very last drops of blood from your scrappy veins and still they assault you for more?

When the only solution to their problem is you?

When no one else will do.


When coffee isn’t touching you anymore.

When it takes too much effort to take a deep breath and stay.


Stay with their unrelentingness.

Their chaos.

Their needy eyes which fill with tears because they have the wrong shoes on, the wrong dress on, the wrong day on.


Don’t they know I’ve nothing left?

Don’t they know I don’t care about noisy trucks and red things and where the hell Spot is?


What do you do when you know what will make you better and yet it’s the one thing you’re denied night after so very long night?


It’s not validation I need.

It’s not to feel valuable.

I know the worth of what I do.

I don’t expect grand accolades for performing a job I chose, for children who did not ask to come into this world.


But when friends go home to bed.

When family leave for dinner.

When help flitters away,

And you’re left with your babies,

Pushing through the day and through the night.

Scrapping through it.

Clawing through it.

When one baby spends his night feeding off you and the other calling for you,

What then?


What then is me.

Me against myself in the toughest act of endurance I’ll ever know.

Of self-restraint.

Of sheer fight.


What then is me.

And my attitude.

My sentiment.


For if I don’t have the strength to take in soft eyelashes, pudgy skin, weighty breaths,

If I don’t have the strength to notice sea blue eyes and the way she kisses me,

To take them both in my arms,

To smell the tops of their heads.


How then, can I possibly endure the rest?







4 Responses to “What Then”

  1. NatandDan

    Those tough days suck, don’t they. When you spread the little bit that’s left of you so thin between the two of them, all that’s left is frustration and exhaustion. But we’re only human after all. These moments call for time out for mummy… Some deep breaths work wonders. And so does a Wiggles DVD 😉 Hope those two little cherubs of yours are being good for their mumma.

  2. You'll Soon Be Flying

    Oh my. You have touched me and given me goosies. Beautifully put. As a mother of four, dear, dear humans, none of which were asked to rsvp to their invitations into this circus act my husband and I call a family, I can relate to this in so many, many ways. There have been days in my mothering where I am teetering on the brink, and it is absolutely an endurance test, a battle of wits, and in some moments, I am losing. And then just like that, there are other days, so good, so deliciously good, that I cannot fathom anyone else on the planet is as lucky as I am to have had some part in creating four such gorgeously perfect people who make my life a dream. Its a polarizing experience most days, this mothering stuff. Thanks for the really lovely glimpse into yours and for the reminder to just take it all in stride. You deserve every happiness you desire. Thank you for sharing. Best~ Julie

    • The Red Tent

      You’re right, it is a polarizing experience most days. It’s at once claustrophobic and yet highly addictive… heaven and hell all rolled into one….and you have 4! Hats off to you! x


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