It’s been three weeks since the last time you remember closing your eyes for more than thirty minutes. Your kitchen is lost amongst a sea of dishes, containers, bottles, dummies, condiments, and… miscellaneous. You’re wearing an old torn, stained T-shirt that is three times your size and have more than once considered shaving your entire head, just to avoid having to do more than shove your hair in a loose, knotty bun on a daily basis.
Perhaps your children, are currently emptying the box of a billion lego. You think to yourself,
“Why the h*** did I even buy those, anyway?”
“It’s OK, darling children,” you mutter quietly under your breath “It’s not like I just spent the last hour and a half picking all of those up, hoping desperately to save my feet from finding them later. You know, no biggie.” (Note: sarcasm).
Your toddler then spends the next twenty minutes squawking for yet another drink. So you struggle to find a clean tippee-cup in the dishevelled kitchen space, then moments after pouring and passing it to her, she opens the lid and empties the water, milk, or juice all over the expensive, suede sofa.
But of course you can’t get angry.
“That would be bad parenting,” you think. So instead you grind your teeth and pull at your hair, then calmly put her in a quiet time corner while you set about dabbing away at the barely surviving furniture.
Not long after, you witness your little one toddle right up to her big brother, and wallop him right in the head with a large, plastic dinosaur. They both start screaming, and before you know it you’re separating a small dust cloud.
“How on Earth did it get to this?” you think. “Thirty times in a day?! Come on, guys!”
Finally your partner returns from a “hard day at work,” and wonders why you’re so stressed.
“They’re just kids! It can’t be that hard!” He dribbles out of his bl***y smug face.
Note: for the dads of this website, unless you would like to spend the next month on the couch in a regretful, foetal position, don’t ever say these words. Just don’t. No.
So what kind of mother reaches such weakness in a day like this, that she’d say or think such “selfish” thoughts like:
“I’m sick of being a mum!”
“I want to jump in my car and drive far, far away!”
“I wish I never had kids!”
“I hate parenting!”
The answer is ALMOST ALL of them!
Unless you are some sort of super-mega-robot-futuristic-cyber-woman from NASA, (good for you), I can pretty much guarantee at some point during motherhood, you’ve thought at least one of these things.
I can also guess, that upon hearing your own thoughts, you became overwhelmed with guilt and shame, spending the majority of that day labelling yourself as a “bad parent”, trying desperately to “do better”, and comfort eating the tub of chocolate ice cream while hiding behind an open freezer door. My powers of psychic ability are astonishing, aren’t they?
Of course there are variables. You know, not everyone likes chocolate or ice cream, (weirdos), and not everyone reacts the same to these feelings. But the majority of us have felt them.
Allow me put it in plain writing for all of us.
You are not a bad mother. You are a normal, human being.
Parenting is a full time job PLUS some. It’s a selfless task of endless time. As a mother, you are expected to sacrifice almost all of your self identity for years of your life, to become the rock, support, and comfort of another little being or more. There is no pay or material gain. There are long hours and sleepless, stressful nights. There is little recognition and there is a lot of pressure from society to do everything “right”. For a large portion of that time, your child will reward you with tears, screams, fights, tantrums, disobedience and, well, poop. So it would be hard to imagine anyone would love this job all of the time!
If that isn’t enough, we are constantly surrounded with out of this world, unattainable images of would parenting “should” look like.
Images like this can be found almost anywhere. Shops, TV, Billboards, Advertisements, you name it!
Notice the immaculate setting. The well dressed, fit, smart looking mother and father and impeccably straight seated in his modern, polished chair. A perfectly well behaved child. Notice the impossibly white shirt and tablecloth, capable of producing the glare of a thousand suns? Yeah, right. Try and find one white item in my house that I haven’t almost immediately stained and given up on, I dare you.
Of course we want to be like this, but it is simply impossible to do all the time, yet we are surrounded every day by media and the suggestion that others live like this. Thus we are different, inadequate. Hence we try harder, get frustrated, feel guilty, and so on.
It isn’t always smiles, cuddles, and happy times. It isn’t always enjoyable and it’s OK to not always enjoy it. We’ve all been there. Most of us understand. So please, for your own sense of sanity, don’t feel bad.
Accept that you’re having a s****y day. That the kids are driving you nuts, and that you’d rather be in Vanuatu right now, sipping cocktails in a beach chair with an incredibly good looking man to your left playing you the ukulele. Watching the sun fade down behind the horizon as you’re brought dinner by a butler with a pearly white smile. Accept it and move on. Remember tomorrow is another day, and with every passing moment, they are growing a moment older, wiser, and more independent. Remember you are a great mum, and that’s why they need you so much!
You’re doing a fantastic job. Well done to you.