the ugly truth

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?

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7 thoughts on “the ugly truth

  1. Even though I am much happier being at home with the kids now, compared to when Nina was a baby, I still often get the urge to run away. I just want time on my own more than anything. I often wonder how it is that other stay at home mums seem to relish every day spent at home doing one activity after another with their kids. Even when I start off with good intentions I feel drained by morning tea time and long for 7pm! But maybe we all feel like that? I still think of you as a super mum and imagine that you bake with the kids every day and play dress ups and go to the theatre! Maybe we all need to start focusing on the good things we do rather than all the things we don't do – although it is not so easy to do when your toddler tells you she had a bad day because "we didn't do anything today" ;(

  2. I found solace in that Buddism For Mothers book too!And I could have written this post word for word (although probably not as clearly or as well!) it is especially painful for me when other mums put the 'working mother who still bakes the cakes' on a silly pedestal and no matter how often I tell them that my own silly 'standards' are killing ms, they won't listen. I just wish I could buy a bloody store cake, just once!?!? x

  3. Thanks guys, I have heard about that book before and may just have to put it on my list. I think it's just a case of wanting it both ways. I'd like to have the time to bake, read and have a career all while fitting in raising two children (which takes up 90% of my time). Knowing there are many in the same boat does help and this is just my little venting place…

  4. I so agree with this post, Nicole. One of the hardest things about moving back to the city is I don't have a group like that anymore. I do have mother friends, but it isn't the same somehow. I read Budhism for Mothers with Lingering Questions (one focussed on toddler-aged children) and just loved it. Although not a Mummy book at all, I also found new positivity when I read Eat, Pray, Love.

  5. Nicole, I think you are a wonderful Mum, and I have always admired your honesty when you talk about how you balance your career and your family life. I always thought I wanted to be a SAHM, and I was happy in this role with only 1 child but with 2 and then 3, it all became a bit too much! I am much happier now that I am working two days a week, as well as pursuing some of my own interests and hobbies on a regular basis. I think I'm a much better Mum and partner for it. But a lousy housekeeper – you just can't have everything! Actually, you are one of the people who helped me to feel ok about not wanting my life to revolve entirely around my kids, so thank you! Just goes to show the importance of openness and being able to communicate with other parents in a non-judgmental way.

  6. Thanks Anna – I'm so grateful to others who can see where I'm coming from. I think we all do the best we can and make decisions based on our priorities in life. I too am a terrible house keeper!

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