I’m putting aside all of the positives, the joys and the feel good moments for a minute to talk about something that we don’t often say out loud – this motherhood gig is tough. Some of us may feel this more than others and some more frequently than others, but whether it’s multiple times a day, once a day, or once a week, we all feel the strain.
The difficulty of motherhood comes in a variety of forms. It can be in the nervousness of being a first time mum with a newborn, having a curious toddler, parenting a rebellious teenager, or perhaps juggling multiple children. For a number of us, the toughness comes from being a working mum and making the decision to be away from our children. For some, it’s in being a stay at home mum and feeling like we don’t get a break from our children (oh to be able to go to the bathroom in peace!). For others, it’s in the decision to be a work at home mum, and struggling to set boundaries between work time and family time. The difficulty can be in the level of support we receive, be it financial or support from our partners, family or friends. It can come in the form of health issues, perhaps our own or our children’s. It can be from the expectations from others, or those we place on ourselves. It may also appear in the daily sleep deprivation, or in forgetting to put coffee on the shopping list (or forgetting the list altogether!).
Each day, we all face varying levels of difficulty in our daily battles of mum life. For example, there’s the ‘mum guilt’ battle, the breastfeeding battle, the bedtime battle, the mealtime battle, the sibling rivalry battle, the public tantrum battle, the household chore battle, and the battle to end all battles, the ‘trying to stay on top of it all’ battle. There are the constant battles in our head, with strategically planning our every move (like we’re playing a never-ending game of chess), ticking off our imaginary task lists, worrying about our children, and thinking for them (and often for our partners). No matter what the battle, there are times when we will all feel the toughness of motherhood, when we will all feel a bit defeated, and when we could all use a bit of love and support. As the saying goes, “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (Plato), and we can all relate to this as mothers.
Bearing in mind that we are all experiencing a challenge or two, it’s important to remember that we are not alone. Even on our toughest days, there are other mum’s out there who are feeling just the same as we are (yes, even those mum’s who appear to have the picture perfect lives). So let’s get more comfortable with checking in with each other and leaning on each other for support, and in return, let’s spread the love, pay the compliments and send those thank you messages (with all the warm and fuzzy feels). Whilst it’s good to acknowledge the difficulties, we cannot forget what or who makes the challenges worthwhile (you know those beautiful little people that we made!), and the hard work that we put in every day as mothers. So most importantly, let’s make it our priority to be kind to ourselves, and remember that “there is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” (Jill Churchill).