Motherhood – is it everything you expected it to be? Did you have any expectations? Or do you find yourself stuck in the middle of it sometimes feeling inadequate? If so, you are not alone. Motherhood can be hard, and at times there are as many hard moments as there are good. And when you feel like this, it seems like everyone else has their shit together.
My last week has involved many conversations with beautiful amazing mothers, but the common themes that came to the surface is how it can feel like a struggle; it can be exhausting, it creates relentless anxiety; and the pressure of being a good mother can take its toll.
I started writing this post as a letter to my girls for the day they become mothers and then it turned into a message I thought important for all mums out there. Here is my reflection of motherhood after Mother’s Day 2017.
Mother’s Day 2017
The day has almost come to an end and I’m feeling scared and trapped by my anxiety. I’m scared at the thought of anything changing in my perfect but obviously imperfect life. All little worries become physical symptoms that have somehow become uncontrollable. The feeling of not being enough, or not being the best I can be and especially the fear of not being the best mum I should be. These two little human beings rely on me, for the obvious things of course, but their reality and their whole concept of life makes sense because I’m there for them everyday and that is an immense amount of pressure.
My little one mentioned a sore back; I look at her back and brush it off. Again, at bedtime she mentions her sore back. I rub it better and tell her it will be better in the morning. Then as the house quietens and I’m relaxing in front of the TV (instead of doing all my other mother duties) that fear creeps in… What if there is something more wrong with her and I brushed it off? Why didn’t I show her more concern? Should I wake her to see if she’s ok? Should I take her to the hospital?
Holy Fuck. What the fuck is wrong with me?
My eldest, always has a hard time getting to sleep, but I’m tired by the end of the day and by the time the 5th question comes from the room, I yell at her “GO TO BED.” But when the day quietens downs, the guilts set in. Why didn’t I lie with her and tickle her back? Why didn’t I listen to that last thing she wanted to tell me?
And I go in while they’re sleeping with tears in my eyes, giving them the longest kiss on the forehead, hoping they’ll forgive me. Hoping I can forgive myself.
And then I remember words of advice I gave to some dear friends of mine who are also mum’s. I’m doing the best I can. As long as I love those little creatures as much as I can and they know how much they are loved, I’ve done the most important thing I needed to do today.
And… as I reflect on my mother’s day and the behaviour of my little humans and on my behaviour, I realise I’ve not done such a bad job (and of course I can’t take all the credit, thanks husband. Although you didn’t win any husband of the year award by getting home drunk at 3am on mother’s day 😉
This is what we created.
- My little one: enters the room early, doesn’t wake me but asks husband if she can (she’s considering others);
- Little one crawls in bed and snuggles with me as per usual (has the ability to show love);
- Eldest comes in, crawls into bed and the first words she mutters are “Happy mothers day, I love you so much” (wants to make others feel special);
- They are bursting with excitement about giving me their personally selected presents at the school mothers day stall, the eldest a bit nervous as she’s worried I won’t like it (knows the importance of giving and feeling happy from giving);
- They take my order as if a waitress in a café (wants to make someone else feel special);
- I get tea in bed in my new tea cup that is placed on my new coaster;
- Eldest then proceeds (out of her own will) to pack the dishwasher, hang the clothes on the line, vacuum the floor and then later be concerned about the washing she’s hung on the line as the sky fills with rain (she’s 8) (And that’s just a whole lot of awesomeness).
What thoughtful, kind and considerate children we have raised. These are the moments that make us proud. But as mum’s these are the moments we should go easy on ourselves, pat ourselves on the back, let go of that mother guilt and tell ourselves, “I’m a good mother, look what I’ve done for these little humans.”
The day didn’t go to plan with the usual bushwalk, we ended up taking the girls to use their vouchers and buy something they chose for themselves. Watching them ponder over items and the cost and what they want the most for their value of money and seeing the excitement and happiness in their faces made my day all worth it.
It sounds crazy that this moment brought it all together for me. It wasn’t about shopping, I realised that on my mothers day the best part was seeing my little humans HAPPY.
I had no idea motherhood would be so hard. I didn’t read that in any parenting book. I didn’t know that becoming a mum would change me into a crazy, anxious, self-doubting worrier, cause that’s NOT who I was before. But this person I am now has two daughters that are more important to me than my own self. I need to take care of them better than I’ve every taken care of myself and I don’t know that in every moment I’m capable of doing that and that can scare the fuck out of me sometimes.
I’m writing this, as I want to record these fears and vulnerabilities for my girls when they enter motherhood themselves. I don’t have the opportunity to share these moments with my own mum and for her to tell me its normal and I’m doing a great job, or not. I’m also writing this to all mums, if we speak out honestly and reach out to one another, we may realise that we’re all not so different or alone in this journey of motherhood.
I’ve got no advice to give anyone. I don’t know how to make motherhood easier or better. Its about being kinder to ourselves, not comparing ourselves to others, being vulnerable and sharing the shit times with beautiful friends and admitting to someone “I’m about to lose my shit” and knowing when to ask for help and that its ok to ask for help.
All we can do every day is try and be the best mum we can be, and sometimes we’ll fail but if we never stop trying we’re doing the best we can.
I’ve found peace tonight in reflecting on my day and realising that I feel absolute joy in my heart when I see happiness and joy in my children’s expression. Knowing that I’m going to love my children first, make sure they know I love them, and then I can relax and know I’ve ticked off the most important job of being a mum. That’s what motherhood is to me.
“A love to be true has to hurt” – Mother Theresa