I'm sitting having coffee with a friend and she is telling me that she thinks it's impressive that I'm still climbing at my pre-bub level, or something to that effect. Now I do love a complement, we had an amazing midwife who I wish could still come round everyday because she told me I was doing a good job and that made me feel warm and squishy, but this compliment kind of just made me feel like a fraud... It's taken me a while to figure out what made me feel so uncomfortable but I think I've managed to put my finger on it. I didn't feel like climbing up bits of rock to an arbitrary point was worthy of this "bad ass Mum" vibe she was giving me when the most challenging parts of my life are the things most parents go through on a day to day basis, yet don't receive the same recognition. Our definition of impressive just seemed a bit skewed when Mums (and Dads) everywhere are doing impressive shit on a daily basis yet it just flies under the radar.
Impressive is getting dressed after feeding the baby, making breakfast, giving the baby porridge, feeding the dog, cleaning the porridge out of baby's hair, taking the dog out so she doesn't poo in the house again, changing the nappy, brushing the teeth, feeding again while you drink your now stone cold cup of coffee and realise it's now 3pm and what even is the point in getting dressed anyway? You gather 10 seconds to throw some clothes on because you don't feel like answering the door in your reindeer Christmas PJs again... Impressive is not giving a shit that you answered the door in your reindeer PJs yesterday.
Impressive is the parent who's home alone looking after the kid(s) and the house while their partner is working away. Impressive is the other half who's holding down a job while missing their babies like hell.
Asking the manager to help you fashion a large hook to post through the small slat in your window to fish your car keys out of your baby's hands because she's locked herself in, you don't have a spare and it's boiling, while the whole restaurant watches from the window, now that's impressive.
Dealing with this sort of stuff every day is impressive!
Impressive is resisting the urge to dropkick your partner when he says "I got up with the baby yesterday" even though you had already fed the baby while he was asleep yesterday and the 364 days previous to that. Extra impressive if there is no violence used when he mentions the words "I'm too tired".
Impressive is leaving the sink (and house) full of dishes, the overflowing washing basket and the unhoovered floor so you can have an hour to yourself, to make it possible to hold your shit down for another day. I like to climb or train in this free time (although I am partial to vegetating on the sofa watching desperate housewives), it always feels like a treat and a privilege, never a chore. Others like to run, knit or have a glass of wine and do sweet fuck all. Yeah packing to go climbing with the family is hard, and it's bloody impressive that we actually manage to leave the house, but I feel so lucky to have that 5mins on the wall immersed in climbing instead of baby poo. What Mums do in their "me" time doesn't ever detract from all the impressive shit they've done throughout the day. So remember to tell Mums that they are bloody impressive, whether they are running back to back marathons in their spare time whilst balancing an egg on their head, or they've hired a baby sitter so they can have a night out, it's all the same, really god.damn.impressive.