I spend a lot of time with other mums. I watch how they parent and I see how good they are at what they do. I see them carrying their toddlers, even though their backs are breaking. I see them forcing their eyes to stay open, despite years of broken sleep. I see them giving up their last bite of cake… just so their toddler will be happy.
I mean, that last one, right there, is probably the biggest sacrifice of all, right?
Those are just three tiny examples and they don’t go anywhere close to illustrating the things we do for our children, the things that we all do- mums, dads, step-parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. We all give so much.
But for some reason, I feel like mums are the hardest on themselves.
I so often see the look in someone’s eye. The one that says “I’m failing, I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m failing”. We think that if our babies don’t sleep, we have failed. We think that whatever feeding choice we make, we have failed. We feel like if we find motherhood hard, we have failed.
The thing is, motherhood is hard. There’s no way around it and quite frankly if there is anyone out there that says it isn’t, they’re lying.
Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have given a whole piece of myself to my daughter and she carries it around with her everyday. If she is sad, I feel sad. If she is angry, I feel angry. If she is happy, I might be happy (although probably not, if the reason she is happy is because she has just used an entire pot of Vickes to ‘clean’ every surface of her bedroom). You get the picture. Being a small human in this big world comes with a massive rollercoaster of emotions and when you become a parent- you get no choice but to ride it with them… everyday.
So, finding motherhood hard and equating that to a sense of failure is just bizarre. If you are finding motherhood hard, guess what?
You’re doing it right.
If you’re feeling your child’s emotions with them, that’s called empathy and it’s a bloody good quality in a human being. If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, well done. It means you’re looking for ways to be a better parent- that’s called growth. If you feel like you just want to cry a river of tears because you just can’t cope, congratulations, you are role-modelling to your child what it is to vulnerable, what it is to be human. Imagine a world where everyone grew up knowing what that meant?
Trust me, it would be a much better place.
So, if you find yourself having ‘one of those weeks’, you’re not alone. If you find yourself feeling like a failure, you’re not, you’re simply human. And to truly be a human is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
If you feel like, it’s not just ‘one of those weeks’, if you feel like it’s something more, then please, please, please get yourself to see your GP or self-refer to your local IAPTS service. If involving a healthcare professional feels like too much right now, then speak to someone close to you. Unburden those feelings, let them all out, cry and be held. When we open up, we often heal ourselves in ways we thought were not possible before.
If you’d like some solidarity from other mums, come and join us in our Facebook group here.