The tough get going (or so they say)
There was a time when all I wanted (desperately) was to be a Mum and start a family. This didn’t come easy to my us (like many couples) but we were very lucky to fall pregnant early (ish) in our journey, and I know so many people are not as fortunate – and my heart breaks for them, as when you can’t have what you desperately want, it gets harder and harder and [I’m sure] the obsession and fixation too gets more invasive in your life – we experienced to a extent this too (albeit on a much smaller scale I know). I can only imagine how this must be for couples/ people who aren’t able to fall pregnant and start a family. I have gone into this in detail, as I want it to be clear, that although this blog may seem like a poor me, a bit of a bitch-athon, I know there are so many so much worse off than us.
Even so, being a mum, a parent, is bloody hard work. They say it’s the toughest “job” you will ever do but the most important. And there are days, lots and lots of them, that I feel like I’m truly woeful at this gig – and I genuinely mean this, it’s not some trivial ‘poor me’ statement, I sometimes really feel like I’m a shit mother, a shit partner, a shit friend, a shit sibling etc – the list is truly endless.
This morning whilst trying to get my kids to have their breakfast for the millionth time I lost my cool, my patience dissolved completely. It only got worse as I began to try to get their underpants on before they put the rest of their clothes on and then shoes (OMG, why is it fucking shoes are the hardest?). Once we finally had them dressed, the obligatory arguing ensues – “I won this”, “I won that”, “that’s not fair”, “that’s my barbie”, “that’s not your (dirty) pyjamas” etc etc etc….. It’s endless, I think kids (especially mine) could fight over how much oxygen the other one is “stealing” – FFS, seriously – it’s only funny because it’s damn true.
And then it’s car ride time! One of my most dreaded activities as a parent is driving my children. “Mum, she looked at me”, “Mum, she’s touching me”, “Mum, she’s breathing near me” … Again, the possibilities of “car wars” are endless too! I often think (as we all do) that children and their behaviour are punishment for all the grief we caused our own parents – karma really, then, let me tell you, I must have been an absolute horror! Some mornings, I’m completely prepared for this shit show we call mornings but there’s other days when I’m in true survival mode, like I imagine soldiers would be when they’re approaching enemy lines – stay still, keep out of sight and just try to stay alive. Success on these mornings is that moment when the drop off is done and you’re in your car with no one. Ahhh, that glorious moment of the day when the first calm (and quiet) seconds occur. I often just sit there, listening to the quiet, almost in a trance by it, trying not to look around at the tip we call our car! It’s often said that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and, for me, this is true for peace and quiet. I never get it and I crave it dearly - EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
I’m lucky enough to be able to be a SAHM at the moment – which is both a blessing and a curse, as once “that moment” of peace is over, it’s a quick (and harsh) snap back to reality. Time to head on home to the endless washing (seriously though, how much fucking washing is there!), and senseless cleaning (we clean for the sole pure purpose that our kids can come home to annihilate our home like a nuclear bomb, in about the same amount of time too). All this is quite simply Einstein’s definition of insanity – “doing the same thing and expecting a different result”.
There’s some solace in the fact that I know many parents feel a similar way, however it’s still a bit of a taboo subject to whinge about the struggles of being a parent – but they are real, they can be all encompassing and really bloody tough. The good days can seem few and far between and kids these days seem to rely on a continuous stream of stimulus and it’s exhausting, really fucking exhausting. I don’t resent being a Mum, I really don’t, but I’d be lying if I didn’t fantasise about my pre-kid life. Remember long lunches or impromptu evenings out with friends – just because we could. Planning holidays that didn’t revolve around kid’s club or babysitting options, grocery shopping that wasn’t an extreme sport! Little, and once simple things, take a back seat as we prioritise raising our children (and rightly so).
Recently, a Mum at school I was talking to mentioned feeling disconnected with herself and this really resonated with me. Currently, I don’t work because I can’t – I desperately want to but I can’t due to the stroke I had last year. But there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss my job, the work we did and the people I worked with. I hope that a time comes that I can return to work, rebuild this part of me and find a balance between being Mum and a professional again – I know this is a challenge for many Mums out there!
At some point on the road of motherhood we do/ can lose ourselves, or fragments of us anyway and I think we need to tbh, because although transitioning to being a Mum isn’t easy for us all, we do need to pivot and put these crazy little humans above all else. There’s a need to accept that our former selves need to go on the bookshelf for a little while and hopefully we can pick her up later when our kids have “flown the coup” – a time I know I will both relish and dread.
Is there a solution to all this? That magic silver bullet? No, I don’t think so. I think (for me anyway) it’s about coming to terms with this life of mine, to try finds ways to improve how I show up as a Mum and not get too caught up on the days that I feel like I’ve failed or could’ve done better – like today. Tomorrow is coming, no matter what we do, and I truly hope I can forgive myself enough to try again in the morning, and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow might be better!
So, I say here's to us parents, it’s a bloody hard gig! A wise man said once that “we are exactly what our kids need because no one (absolutely no one) loves our kids like we do, no one knows our kids like we do, and no one wants more for them than we do - and that’s going to be enough to get them through this thing we call life”. Let’s hope they’re right!