A friend of mine just created a Facebook page called The Stuff We Don’t Talk About – for mums to go and share all their anecdotes about struggles with motherhood. A community where mums can vent about the stuff that doesn’t fit in with the picture-perfect vision of being a great parent, without judgement. A problem shared and all that…
It’s all too easy to assume that everyone is doing better at being a mum than you are. To assume other mums are more patient, more organised, crafting with their kids happily, laundry basket empty, clean clothes ironed and folded away, a freshly prepared cooked-from-scratch dinner bubbling away ready for a 5pm mealtime. Sigh… that is never the case in my house. Ever. Does that make me a bad mum? – I’d like to think not, but it doesn’t stop the self-doubt and the guilt from creeping over me.
I know I’m guilty of possibly painting a picture-perfect life on this blog. I write more about the good stuff than the not so good about family life. I haven’t done that consciously I don’t think. I’m certainly not trying to paint myself as the perfect mum, god, far from it.
So in the spirit of talking about The Stuff We Don’t Talk About, here are my top five frustrations of being a mum, caveated by saying (a) I know that I am incredibly lucky to have two gorgeous, healthy little girls, (b) I love them both to the moon and back, (c) I would lose my life if I didn’t have either of them in it. I won’t bore you with other caveats like being lucky to have a great husband, lovely and supportive family, etc etc. parking all that to one side, I think I’m still allowed to have some frustrations and here they are:
1. The relentlessness: in my actual job, the one I’m paid to do, which I’m going back to in January, I have allocated holiday days. Days I am paid to not be at work, to have a break from the daily grind, to relax and re-charge my batteries. There is none of that with motherhood is there? – you know what I crave and I (obviously) feel guilty saying it out loud, a night alone (a week might be pushing it!) in a hotel. A whole 24-hours to myself. To do what I want. To talk to nobody. To be responsible for nobody but myself. To spend my time how I want. To just “be”. I know, selfish right? #badmum
2. The repetition: I’m so sick of the sound of my own voice and repeating myself a thousand times a day: “please do not jump on the sofa”; “please sit nicely at the table and eat your lunch”; “do not touch that, stop it, did you not hear me? – do not touch that”; and so on and so on… I know, I know, it’s just how it is with children, but WHY?!?!? (and don’t even get me started on the “but why mummy?”) #badmum
3. The mess: I know this is a universal problem, with children comes a certain degree of mess. But I am someone who used to blu-tack things down (ornaments and the like) so that people couldn’t move them from where I’d set them in position (I know, weird…), so the messiness of a trashed house on a daily basis is something I really really really struggle with. I’m fighting a losing battle. I try to tidy up at the end of each day but then BOOM, back to square one come the morning. I want the house to be lived in and happy and the kids to be relaxed and play without limitations and all that. I just want it to be tidy too… do the two have to be mutually exclusive?! – it would seem that they do… #badmum
4. The need for patience: oh god, I wish I could be better at being patient. On a good day, a day where I’m not tired or hungry or saying “PLEASE don’t jump on the sofa” ad nauseam (ref. point 2), I can be pretty patient. I can be pretty cheery. I can coax my toddler around to my way of thinking and get her to do what I want without a battle, without an argument that ends in her crying and me shouting and a time-out moment. But I feel I have far too many days where my patience is short. How do I become a more patient mum? – answers on a postcard please (or in the comment box below…) #badmum
5. The feeling that it is all on me: there is literally never a time when I feel “done”. When there isn’t something that needs doing and that I feel the onus is on me to do it as the stay-at-home-parent of the house. When I feel I can justifiably sit guilt-free on the sofa and enjoy X-Factor without a ticker-tape of “to-dos” running through my mind. Why can I never get everything done? Why are there not enough hours in the day? How does everyone else do it and I don’t seem to be able to? #badmum
What reassures me is that I am not alone. I urge to you to watch this clip from SATC in which Miranda and Charlotte talk motherhood. Nod along, laugh along, and take a sip:
Now don’t leave me hanging out here alone, feeling like the worst mother in the world. What are your top 5 frustrations about motherhood?