in Family Life

On haiku and heartache … the reality of parenting


This post originally appeared on Only Halfway There.

Yesterday I helped my 6-year-old write her first Haiku. We brainstormed a topic, counted syllables, and created a poem. It was wonderful for this poetry-loving mother. I had tears in my eyes, as I thought, “I will write a blog post about this tonight. My daughter wrote a haiku and my heart is full.”

The blog post never happened.

By the evening my heart was not feeling the same. It was bruised and battered from disagreement. I had no energy to write anything.

The reality of parenting and family life, and the importance of love.

We have had five wonderful days at home with our girls, being family together.

Five wonderful, relaxing, peaceful days.

Five hard, trying, emotional days.

The two states existing not just side by side, but at moments also entangled and intertwined.

Being family is hard and great; tiring and energising; encouraging and heart-breaking all at the same time.

It is picking olives with the grandparents, and battles over meals.

It is quiet time crafting around the table together, and tears and complaining when that table needs setting.

It is fish and chips in Fremantle, and raised voices at home.

It is watching our girls join forces to explore the amazon rainforest, and then not be able to get in the car without disagreement.

It is haiku, and it is heartache.

It is a roller-coaster ride of emotion. But I need to remember that each emotion is not the sum of who I am as a parent. Nor is it the sum of my relationships with my family.

When we have a fun time together, I am their mum who loves them. When there are voices raised and hurtful things said, I am their mum who loves them. When we are in quiet companionship, I am their mum who loves them. When the tears are falling, I am their mum who loves them.

The emotions change. The love never does.

So, in fact, I actually can say, “my heart is full”.

Join me for the journey,


Jodie McCarthy

Jodie is a full time mother, part-time writer and sometime poet. As a third culture kid she lived in Europe and Asia for ten years. While now living happily in Perth with her husband and two daughters, the travel bug has never left her. She writes about the journey of life: the beautiful; the painful; the everyday; and the mundane. She has a heart for encouraging others wherever they are on their journey. On the days when she is not writing you will find her in her kitchen, usually licking the beaters from a chocolate cake.

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