I often find myself talking to other mothers who reluctantly admit the troubles they have had/are having/feel they will continue to have forever, over the course of raising their children. I am the first one to admit how hard I have found being a mother to anyone who will listen.
In the very early days of parenthood, I felt all these terrible things – baby blues perhaps added to them – and I felt that there must have been something wrong with me. Why didn’t I feel like to women in commercials appear to feel, and why did I long for my pre-baby life so much?
Through the advice of a wonderful community nurse and meeting my new mothers group, I was able to feel more normal. I know many new parents have this revaluation when they speak with other parents about all the terrible things noone ever told you about before having children. I feel particularly fortunate to have met a group of women who I have stayed close to for the past four years, and who are prepared to talk openly about their feeling and experiences of being a mother.
It is because of the genuine concern and security I feel amongst this group, that when I meet other mothers who are alone in their struggles I really feel for them. I may sometimes exaggerate my own hardships in order for them to feel more at ease about how they are feeling. I have to laugh when they tell me that they are glad to hear my confessions as they had seen me as a ‘perfect mum’ who would never yell at her kids, want to run away from them, break down and cry when they can’t cope etc.
I often find myself feeling jealous of those mothers who cherish the whole experience. I wonder if I were able financially to stay at home, would I be able to feel happy in myself if I devoted myself more to my children? Aside from the adult conversation that I missed while staying at home, I also feel a need to foster the career that I carved out before having children. I want to continue to work at my goals and not make my life all about my children. Does that make me selfish? Perhaps.
Not only do I have plenty of my own guilt to keep me going, but there always seems to be just a few of those other mothers around who wish to make you feel worse by making unwanted comments and/or suggestions. Do these people actually think they are being helpful? Do they not realise that some days you just don’t have the time to make your own pizza dough from scratch so you order take away?