Six Struggles Every Mother Knows Are Real
The hardest job in the world is now all yours. Image licensed under Creative Commons.
Having a family of your own is a huge privilege, one most people dream of having. But it would also be fair to say that motherhood holds it’s fair share of challenges, from the trivial to the scary and even the downright ridiculous.
To her kids, a mother is the all-seeing, all-knowing superhero, but behind the scenes, she may not be feeling quite like that. It’s quite normal to feel in over your head when it comes to raising little humans – the reality is frustrating, joyful, relentless and powerful beyond anything you may have previously suspected.
There are some truths that you just can’t prepare for before you have your first child, but with a little perseverance and a lot of love for your kids, you will get through them…
- The Line Between Parent and Friend Is Tough
One of the most delicate areas to negotiate when raising children is where parenting ends and friendship begins. We all dream of cosy shopping weekends in the future with our daughters and sharing a drink with our sons, as well as being the friend they can trust to confide in when the going gets tough, but getting the balance right between that and dispensing discipline as needed can be tougher than you expect. Just know that children need boundaries in order to keep them safe – and also to give them something to push against in order to define their own limits- and that’s okay. Your first job is to raise a decent person with good habits, a strong value system and the skills to help them get through life, and if that means being the bad guy sometimes, so be it. Saying no occasionally doesn’t mean that your kids are going to hate you, it means that you’re being a parent.
- You May Lose Yourself For A While
New motherhood is supposed to be the happiest time of your life, right? But what doesn’t get shouted from the rooftops quite so much is the struggle a lot of women face with feeling like they’ve lost their identity after having a baby. It remains a taboo, partly because when so much of your existence is dedicated to a little person, it feels trivial and selfish to worry about yourself. Becoming a mother is a time when the very fabric of you changes beyond recognition – physically and mentally – so it’s understandable that you may feel like you’ve lost yourself. Claw back a sense of self in any small way you can. Use the support of family, friends and your partner. Insist on a small slice of time that is just about reconnecting with something that made your heart sing before you were someone’s mum. Track down some fashionable nursing tops that don’t make you feel like a total frump. And don’t ever apologise for it – you deserve to reclaim your own identity.
- You Will Watch The Same Cartoon Around 8,000 Times
Becoming a parent is a journey full of epic milestones. A quick glance at your Facebook feed will show you that – an ocean of parents celebrating various firsts and big moments. But what not many are honest about is that parenting can be dull sometimes. There is something slightly soul crushing about changing your twenty ninth nappy of the morning or watching the same episode of Peppa Pig for the seventeenth time because otherwise your toddler will scream the house down. Mundanity is as much a part of the day to day work of parenting as the wildly joyful times when your baby smiles for the first time or takes their first wobbly steps- it’s just that no one talks about that side! It can be a shock to the system, especially if you’ve spent years dedicated to a tough career.
- Leaving The House Becomes A Military Operation
Before kids, you may have taken pride in being the kind of person who was always punctual, present and well turned out, but be prepared to have to let those standards slip a bit. Leaving the house with young children is a tough ordeal. Getting them, yourself and the huge amount of equipment needed – toys, snacks, bottles, loveys, nappies, pram rain covers, breastfeeding covers, a change of clothes – ready and out the door feels Herculean. And just when you’ve sorted it all out, they’ll generally have a toilet accident. Get ready to use the word ‘ish’ a lot when describing what time you will be somewhere.
- Perfection Becomes Out Of Reach
Who doesn’t see a glimpse of an idyllic looking family playing serenely at the park or looking picture-perfect on social media and feel like they’re failing to measure up? You need to remind yourself of the ‘swan effect’. You may see other mamas paddling along looking effortless, but what you don’t see are the frantic efforts beneath the surface. Let go of the perfection myth. Accept the house may be pristine, you may have prepared a delicious, home-cooked meal and done a fun, educational activity with the children rather than bribing them with cookies and the iPad, but that these things will never happen all at once. Take a deep breath and let go of the myth of ‘perfect’. A little chaos is perfectly okay. Your only real objective is to make sure everyone is alive with all their limbs intact – that is a successful day. Anything else is a bonus.
- You’ll Forgive All Of The Above
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is simply this: you love your children too much to care about the challenges above. However scary all of the things you’ll face seem now, you’ll overcome them without a backward glance. That’s the power of a mama’s love.