It’s ironic that today happens to be mothers day given the week that I have had and as a result, I find myself reflecting on what it really is like to be a mother, and damn it is bloody hard.
It’s a strange time in the world to be a mother. It’s a period where in the first world you are hailed as a blessed and fortunate person. Someone who has something that others struggling through the likes of infertility are not given, almost placed on the highest of pedestals because you fell pregnant unexpectedly…how lucky. However in the third world, the problems of over population, disease and poverty have health officials desperate to end out of control births and to have a mass of children is seen as a stress to society.
We also live in an era of over parenting. Parenting is something that is now up for debate within society. It is now, more than ever an exposed and judgmental society where the likes of those not even involved in your family are in a position to judge and create an opinion of you based on your parenting choices. What I am going to confess in this article will have many people scoff, judge and attack me but you know what I am being honest!
This week, I realised I am a raw, true mother. For the first time in my life, I was hit by the cold reality that life simply isn’t and can’t ever be the same. I was also hit by the reality that this doesn’t make me happy. In fact I feel depressed, anxious and emotional to realise that right now…as a mum and a person I don’t really know who I am.
I don’t think I am the only mum in this position, I am sure there are many out there who are like me pretending it’s all A-OK on the outside but inside is mourning the loss of the person they used to be, the dreams they once had and struggling to be a new person with absolutely no idea how to do it! I have pretty much become an out of control car steering into the lake of disaster…and now I’ve crashed into it!
This week I had to make a decision that changed my life forever. A decision that has seen me forced to let go of a part of my dreams, look away from what I’ve work for and now start to re-structure my life to be more of a mother and less of …well me.
Throughout the parenting process I have endlessly heard people say, “life changes as a mother but it’s better, it’s more full filling, it’s great.” I have also been told “don’t give up on you, it’s still important to make you happy, If you’re not happy then you can’t be a good mother.”
Well I’ve realised this week both of those are utter crap!!!!!
Here’s the thing…
- I am selfish… I have been blindly pretending that I didn’t have to give up on my dreams by becoming a mother. That I could honestly have everything and balance it. But I can not. I have realised that as a mum I DO have to make huge sacrifices and realise that my dreams will not be met. Maybe one day by a bit of chance, but no longer by a pathway of hard work and perseverance, because as a Mum, I really am not first in my life. It probably sounds selfish that I want to be first and as I said I guess I am…the truth is I really hoped I could full fill myself and my children. I have realised now, that’s an impossibility and would only come with a lot of sacrifices most of those ultimately impacting on my kids therefor making me a bad mother.
- Being a mum is not the most satisfying thing of my life, no. I love my children, more than anything, but being a mum and a working mum is really bloody hard. When I’m home with the babies I love their smiling faces but the day to day process is tedious and with that admission I feel overwhelmed by guilt. When I’m at work I’m the same driven person, chomping at the bit, driven to go from strength to strength however the truth is…I can’t. I still in the back of my mind want the dreams I had, the future that could have been. I have to realise now that I can’t have the same dreams and I know they will fade over time.
Will being a mother become the best thing ever? I hope so and I believe it will…but right now it’s the hardest thing.
Being faced with the reality that everything you hoped and worked for in life has been wretched away from you is a hard thing to swallow. Understanding that the reasoning is not because you are not successful, or that you can’t do it but because your life pathway is now stopping you is hard, it’s difficult and it’s an overwhelming pain you need to handle. I feel like a part of me is mourning the loss of a close friend. And I am. I am mourning the loss of me…other me. The go getter, nothing stops her me. The passionate single minded focussed me. She has to leave me now and make way for a new me, a me I haven’t even met yet.
To be blessed with children is a fine thing. To handle the difficulties, changes and challenges that come with children, their needs and your families needs is a painful, emotional and challenging time of life. It’s an adjustment (particularly with 2 straight up), that no one can prepare you for and that everyone deals with differently.
To the mums out there who are full filled and living their dreams by being a mum I truly am envious. I wish I had the strength to be nothing but a mum. I wish I was unselfish and dedicated to my children the way you are, one day I hope to be like that.
I was told recently that to make happiness and peace in your life you need to put everyone else first and make them happy in order for you to be happy. For the best part of my 20’s I put others first. I lived and breathed a life that wasn’t for me, that was for someone else’s happiness truly believing that their happiness would result in mine. I also believed that when the time came to be about me it would be…sadly I was misguided and found myself alone.
Finding the balance between looking after you and looking after others is possibly one of life’s greatest challenges. But it is no more challenging than when you have children.
Right now, today, this week, I am both a bad me and a bad mother. I have broken. I can no longer handle the pressures of being me and a mother. I am worn out, exhausted, tired of battling, tired of disappointing others, tired of their thoughts, comments and judgments. Tired of fighting a relentless battle that is me and my dreams V me and my new reality…I’m done.
This week I have failed myself in every way. I have failed my boss, my work and my colleagues. I have failed my community, my friends and my networks. Most importantly I have failed myself but ultimately I haven’t failed my family. I have realised that I need to be different in order to be better for my family.
I don’t think there is a Mum out there who hasn’t sacrificed something amazing by being a mother. It may be her dreams, it may be part of her happiness or it may be her underlying desire to be the diva of her family. But instead she’s muddling through making choices that break a little part of her every day.
This mother’s day is not a celebration for me. It’s not about receiving flowers and chocolates from a shop that are supposed to symbolise that I am a good mum once a year. No this mothers day is a chance for me to start a fresh and start working out who I am both as a mother and an individual. How I can become at peace with myself and be a great mum? How do I live for me and have my dreams without feeling guilt and pain from not being with my babies? How do I find a new direction with new dreams, new goals and a new life that work better for my new family? And how do I ultimately find the moment where I can truly say…having kids and a family is the best thing that happened to me?
To all the mums out there who have taken the hits, made the sacrifices, put yourself second, pushed away your dreams and are truly happy…you are the heroes of my world! You are the champion mums!
Today instead of just giving the mums of your life presents stop and ask them…are they happy? Are they truly happy? And maybe if they aren’t it’s a chance to start to build a more balanced family life? For me I know it’s about making adjustments but without giving up who I am inside. I can’t be the best me and the best mum unless I’m a happy mum…and right now I am none of those.
If you or anyone you know is struggling please contact lifeline. 13 11 14