Motherhood….It’s the most challenging, yet rewarding, role any woman could ever be bestowed; and it’s also most certainly the one that not one of us could ever truly be 100% prepared for – no matter how much time, money, resources or education one has behind them.
From the very moment we are blessed with the arrival of a tiny human to nurture and love the journey begins. The possible destinations are in our hands, but road maps and navigational equipment are not included accessories. All that is certain is that we’re bound to encounter unexpected twists, sharp turns and speed bumps that seem like mountains. There’ll be days when it seems impossible to navigate around a “no through road” or cross over a “raging river” – but the unbelievable view, and memories etched, will always prevail and coax us forward.
What’s so unfortunate though is that the true reality of being a Mother is portrayed so falsely in the glossy magazines and on social media with “cropped & shopped” celebrities so conveniently making it look all too easy (and glamorous to boot); but worst of all, our peers – our fellow Mothers – are our harshest source of intimidation and sadly, that’s who we size ourselves up to the most. But that picture of “perfection” that we all try so terribly hard to paint isn’t fooling anyone.
We are all human – of course modesty, privacy and a lot of pride keeps us from discussing the not so glorious components of motherhood – but if we continue to pretend that each day is wonderful and that our children are perfect in every way, then we’re only going to set ourselves, our families and our children up for a horribly unhappy journey. The truth is it is hard – for all of us, and although we may be all shoved in the same pigeon hole, no two of us are the same. Criticising, comparing or competing will never change this.
A single Mother is no more of a hero, than a married one. A working Mother shouldn’t expect any hierarchy over a stay-at-home Mum. We all have our challenges, weaknesses and strengths, and we need to remember that not one of us could ever truly understand or appreciate another’s circumstances because we are all contending with unique family dynamics, budgets, health status’ and most importantly children.
We (Mothers) really need to re-evaluate how we convey our own lives, and start speaking a little more honestly about our challenges instead of trying to pretend that everything is perky and perfect – because let’s face it, we all know it’s not – because so many of us are falling prey to the unrealistic standards we (and society) are setting ourselves, laying the foundation for an array of depressive disorders and low self esteem.
Breastfeeding is messy, painful and sometimes unachievable. Toddlers are difficult, sticky and often a danger to themselves. Tweens think they know it all and teenagers are intimidating mood swings on legs who make you want to hide in a confined space and pray for peace, love and happiness. They all have their days when you consider reading the fine print, looking for the returns policy – not one is cast from the same mould.
Housework is a never ending battle, not everyone can afford a cleaner. Unidentifiable objects will lurk under couches, beds and the back seat of the car. The battle of the washing basket will never be won; piles of folding will grow and ironing will wait for weeks. Cooking becomes a chore and nutritional value sometimes gets overlooked. Baking is not for everyone – store bought will do.
Forgetting is normal; not being at every single school assembly is ok. Avoiding the tuckshop crew isn’t always rude, it’s self preservation. Parent Teacher meetings aren’t always positive, and school gate interactions can be filled with fabricated boasting about “wonder children” who you rightly know are royal snots. Working overtime doesn’t mean you’re not around enough.
Some days will be harder than others and getting out of bed will be a challenge in itself. You’ll worry that your punishments were too harsh, or not harsh enough. Was your advice correct? Did you truly make a difference? Questions will swirl, and your confidence will be tested by that unrelenting doubt. Should of, would of, could of…
All that said, what we really need to remember is that it’s all ok. All of it. The mess, the headaches, the successes, the failures, the awkward situations; they are what make our journey’s unique and at the end of the day, what matters most is that our children are safe, happy and loved. So do just that, and know that that is enough.
Liss Actually x