Making Room

Today I found a few photos of Henry’s room before it stopped being a receptacle for all our assorted junk and started being a nappy-splattered nursery.

From this:

to this:

And here’s what the other wall looked like:

Much better these days:

(Did I mention I’m completely in love with that chest of drawers? Those little handles. My goodness.)

You know, I agonised over that room. I cried over it. It became a symbol of everything I didn’t have time to do as a pregnant stuck-in-the-office worker, and all my inadequacies that were sure to emerge as a mother. I couldn’t think of how to decorate it and didn’t have time to do much to it anyway. I wasn’t creative enough. I had to throw away one of my Complete Works of Shakespeare when I purged all of my books, and resented it – now I only have two – and felt it was obviously an indication of how little prepared I was to make room for a baby.

Well, we got there in the end. We reorganised our clutter, made trips to IKEA, took up the carpet, painted the walls, wrestled with the rocking chair. I never stopped agonising. Before every purchase and every decision I ruminated for hours, worrying about whether it would fit and if it would look nice. Everything seemed painfully imbued with significance, and only if everything was perfect would this grand adventuring experiment, this entering of motherhood, be exactly what I wanted it to be.

Here’s what I know now: it never really mattered. It’s a lovely room to sit in, and somewhere nice to change nappies, but he won’t even be sleeping in it till after Christmas. The rocking chair is still half-painted, the cupboard is bursting with swag, and the blind needs replacing. But it never needed to be perfect. It just needed to be his.

It’s been the same with mothering, generally. Some days are better than others. I’m not the superwoman I envisioned, and spend more time sitting around and wasting time than I ever did in the office. But as I type this, with Timothy asleep on the floor at my feet and Henry sat watching me with his little hand in the crook of my arm, I know I never needed to be a perfect mother. I just needed to be his. And that, I find, I can do just fine.

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