Over three years ago I ‘signed up’ to the greatest test of my life.

An endurance test of mammoth proportions.

A test that would challenge my body and my mind.

A test that would shake me to my core.

A test that would make me question everything I thought I knew.

What test am I talking about?

This one.

The test of motherhood.

This morning as I sit here, bleary eyed and exhausted after broken sleep and an early toddler rise, I am reminded yet again that motherhood – besides anything else- is the greatest endurance test I have ever known.

And on so many levels too.

Sleep deprivation is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in the endurance test.  The most common parenting challenge of all. The one that can really take us to our knees in exhaustion when we experience it in full swing.

But it is not the only thing we have to endure as mums.

Far from it.

As a woman, our endurance levels are tested right from the onset of sperm meeting egg.

Throughout the early bouts of morning sickness, throughout the middle months of pregnancy as our bumps begin to grow, right through to the end of our pregnancies as we nurse swollen feet, deal with heartburn and try to make it to the toilet on time about 100 times a day.

And then of course there is labour.

Bringing Elsie into the world took me 24 hours. One whole life-changing day. A whole day of pain, concentration, determination and anguish.

A whole day of summoning up and drawing on reserves of strength – both mental and physical – that I never knew I even possessed.

And then?

Then there are those incredible but terrifying newborn days. The days you take one at a time, as best as you can.


Hanging in there, trying anything and everything to keep your sweet bundle of joy happy and healthy, as you nurse swollen leaking breasts, can barely walk due to the pain ‘down there’ and survive on a mere handful of hours of sleep, if you’re lucky.

As they get older, there are only more feats to endure. Because motherhood never really gets easier. It’s just that the challenges become different.

Teething, sickness and colds.

Interference, judgment and opinions.

Nursery introductions, weening and my biggest of them so far, potty training.

Motherhood is ALL about endurance.

Hanging in there on those days when you just would do anything for an hour to yourself.

Getting up and getting on with things, as you juggle motherhood and work, the best you can.

Figuring things out for yourself when you really haven’t got a clue.

And doing all of these things while you try to ignore the tsunami of external pressures and people telling you what you really ‘should’ be doing.

Enduring. Battling. Holding things together.

Mums – we deserve a medal.

Because unlike other feats of endurance, as new mums, we receive no training.

Unlike running a marathon or climbing a mountain, there is very little you can learn about motherhood, until you enter this new realm.

Very little you can understand about what it means to be a mum, until you become one. You cannot train your motherhood muscles until you need to use them.

You cannot fully grasp what you’re about to undertake until you’re in the midst of it. And you cannot pull out when get a motherhood injury and say that’s enough for me, thank you very much.

But yet somehow we endure.

Somehow we survive those sleepless nights, frantic newborn days and weeks of teething.

Somehow we forget about the agony of labour and the sickness of pregnancy.

Somehow we learn, find our feet and become experts at juggling plates whilst holding our babies on our hips.

And as our children grow, so do we. As they learn, so do we.

Because although our motherhood muscles cannot be tested prior to being a mum, they are always there and waiting to be used.

Because although we may lack experience, we soon discover our maternal instinct and learn how to make it speak louder.

Because although we lack the training and the education, we have unimaginable depths of stamina and soul.

Because although tiredness often overwhelms us, our hearts continually remain open and beating and strong.

Motherhood is always about endurance.

But it is also an experience that we can learn to excel at.

It is also an experience that is worth all of the pain and frustration and exhaustion.

And our reward is the greatest prize of all. Our children and their love.

So tough it may often be, but I’d much rather be a mum any day than climb a bloody big mountain.

Wouldn’t you?


With love,






This post is linked to #BrilliantBlogPosts and #SundayStars


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28 Discussions on
  • Isn’t it amazing realising that we are capable of such endurance and that everlasting unfaltering love?! There is pride to be felt in knowing you have that in you! The lack of sleep is truly harsh and gives a real knock to our emotions and minds but like you said we can endure and we are capable of so much love that it gets us through it! Respect to all the amazing Mamas out there!

    • Indeed there is! Great pride in fact! I remember thinking after I’d given birth, that I was super woman! And to be honest, that feeling has never really left me, even if I am often a tired and grumpy mess! ;-) x p.s Yes, respect to ALL the mamas out there doing their best and doing their thang. Super comment. Thank you! x

      • It is so true all the super women I met when my life tumbled into motherhood have stayed as some of my greatest friendships. I treasure the Mamas I know who keep me sane through all the fun and games.

  • Sleep deprivation is the biggest test of endurance for me, I really struggle on lack of sleep. Second to that was pregnancy I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy at all and I haven’t forgotten how much I didn’t enjoy it either, it truly puts me off having another. But I know I will, I’ll endure it all again to have another amazing gift at the end of it, one that like you said makes it all worthwhile. Xx

    • It’s tough isn’t it – the lack of sleep can just be so debilitating! I’m totally with you on that one. So sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy your pregnancy too. Bar the awful first 3-4 months, I loved the rest of it. Hopefully that will happen for you with baby no.2 xxx

  • You have summed up the thoughts and feelings of many a mum here Kate. Beautiful words as always and a lovely photo of you and your girlie.

    Motherhood is anything but easy, especially when you have poor sleepers on your hands like I do, but of course we endure and strive to excel… I think as long as we can put our hands on our heart and say ‘I genuinely tried my best’ then we’ve done a good job xx

    • Thank you darling. Completely agree with your lovely comment – all we can do is do our very best. When it comes to motherhood, I always feel that as long as I put my heart and soul into it, Elsie will turn out alright and I can rest knowing I did the best I could x

  • When I think back to those sleep deprived days they certainly felt like an endurance test! Although now that two of mine are teenagers, I have sleepless nights for whole new reasons! Ha!

    • Goodness me, I can imagine! ;-) See, motherhood, always about ENDURANCE. (No matter what age they are) x

  • Love this post. This is my first “motherhood” AND I have climbed a bloody big mountain and whilst I can say that the endurance test is much harder in the former, the benefits are way better and last longer than the mountain climbing! #brilliantblogposts

    • Ah thank you Talya! Hang in there lovely, this endurance thing, it’s all part of the ride :) And well done for enduring so far…motherhood is bloody tough at times (even though it is also amazing) xx

  • I was literally just having a conversation with the lady I work with about just how amazing us women are. We can endure virtually anything….we are amazing.
    Lush post as always…and HIGH 5 for being an amazing woman x

    • Thanks Katy! We jolly well are amazing aren’t we?! Even though I was exhausted and sore after giving birth, I can still remember not being able to wipe the smile from my face because I just felt like super woman! Haha! Thanks for your lovely comment and kind words xxx

  • So true and beautifully written. I firmly believe that we are all much stronger, more resilient than we believe and motherhood for one just proves that. You don’t know your limits until they are tested and motherhood definitely tests them! As with anything in life, you don’t know what you are capable of until you or circumstances push you to those extremes. And in most situations we can and do overcome the greatest of hurdles. As you say despite all the endurance tests, motherhood is incredible.

    • Thank you Nomita. You’re spot on – motherhood shows us strengths we didn’t know we possessed. If there’s one thing labour taught me as a woman, it was that. It’s quite phenomenal at how strong we are.

  • Motherhood is about endurance and through it we can realise how tough we are, how far we can push ourselves and what we can achieve if we put our minds and hearts into it. This is a great piece and I will be sharing it on my face book page (The Guilt Free Guide To Motherhood) because I think it is a wonderful summation of how we put our heart and soul into mothering our kids. Thank you

  • We are all awesome aren’t we, we soak up all the shit and bat it back. Being a mum is hardcore but THE best thing I have ever done. Fabulous post lovely lady xxx

  • As the only man commenting so far I feel a bit nervous! But yes, it’s a massive test. I hated having to watch Mrs B go through hell and back. I think for dads the main emotion is guilt and helplessness until the baby is born. Then at least you can get stuck in and share some of the burden. I’ve just spent six hours toddler wrangling and although it’s exhausting I’m still up for more of it later. Definitely preferable to climbing a mountain! #sundaystars

    • We surely do Hayley! And also I think, be more honest about the challenges we ALL face. Thanks for the lovely comment x

  • Love this pic of you and Elsie :)

    Oh yes, it certainly is a test of endurance in so many ways. It also changes significantly as they get older too-but never falters.

    Wonderful words xxx

  • It is truly incredible how motherhood pushes, shakes, makes, shapes, and reshapes … my word! O yes, it is the biggest endurance test a woman will ever face. You will discover strength and staying power you never knew you had! A lovely piece and well done as you discover reserves of stamina you probably knew you had. :-) #SundayStars

    • Thanks so much and i’m so glad you agree! I have to say motherhood has made me feel like super woman or occasionally, sadly, the opposite! But it’s all part of the journey and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Still the greatest thing I have ever done. x

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