Ah motherhood. The most beautiful and joyous job role you will ever take. But it is also the most intense, challenging and life changing one. It should come with a job description, "this will be the best job of your life. But beware, it comes with sleepless nights, sheer exhaustion and the overwhelming realisation that you are not just you anymore. You have a tiny human/humans that depend completely on you. Also is not salary based." If this sounds like I am trying to put you off if you have not already stepped into motherhood, then you are wrong. On the contrary, I think it is the most rewarding and wonderful thing you can ever do.
But no amount of research, advice (whether it was asked for or just given), or preparation can really make you ready for the journey of parenthood. Before my little girl came along, I was forever reading articles on baby routines, how to sleep train, when and how often to feed, whether swaddling is good or bad. Add to that the obsessive Instagram scrolling of these seemingly perfect mums and babies who look so gorgeous and camera ready with a sleeping angel in their arms in a candid heavenly photo. Fast forward to after my baby was born and that could not be further from the truth. I practically lived in my dressing gown and maternity leggings for the first few weeks. And the thought of putting any makeup on my face was a far away dream. If someone was to take a photo of me, they'd see a rabbit in head lights, wild hair and eye bags the colour of that much needed coffee. There was no Instagram worthy, effortless photos. I breastfed which meant that constant cycle every 90 minutes of feeding, burpring and sleeping. Constantly. I remember a few nights after Rosemary was born, I went for a shower. A seemingly easy and nonchalant activity. But two minutes into my much needed shower, I could hear the desperate cries from the living room. My baby was hungry. My mum (who was an absolute godsend), came into the bathroom innocently saying, "she's hungry!", and that was it. I broke down. I cried. Could I no longer have a 5 minute shower to myself anymore?!
As a mother, I feel like there is a lot more pressure put on us. Pressure from society to get our “old” bodies back, to portray motherhood as an easy, effortless act and to make everyone see how perfect and dreamy our lives are. Then there is the pressure of actually being a mother. Constantly feeding our babies, giving them the time, attention and endless love that they so need. I am not saying the dads have it easy, but let’s be real, they have it a hell of a lot easier than us mothers. Sometimes I feel jealous towards my husband that he can still have time to himself, lounging on the couch, when our baby needs feeding or just need their mamma (I am waiting for the day they invent a pill for dads to produce breast milk). That was a joke, I love breastfeeding, I love the closeness and connection, but sometimes it is overwhelming, especially when your baby LOVES the boob. All day, all night. I digress... Her dad can leave in the morning to go to work without being obviously absent in our daughters life. Don’t get me wrong, the heart fluttering emotion I get every time our daughters eyes brighten and the look of sheer pleasure on her face when her daddy walks through the door after a day of work is so beautifully wonderful that it makes me want to cry every time. But still, he has the freedom to do what he likes. Even writing this, I feel guilty. Guilty for saying these words because I truly love being a mother, I adore our daughter and cannot wait to give her more brothers and sisters. But it’s hard. And society today makes it difficult for us mothers to express our struggles. Difficult to put our hands up and say “this is bloody hard!” Difficult to confide in loved ones saying we need time out. Difficult to admit that sometimes, we just want to lock ourselves in a room and be us, just us. For one moment, our own bodies and be with ourselves.
I love social media, the few moments when my baby is sleeping or I lock myself in the loo (we all do it!) and scroll through Instagram is great. But there are constant images of beautiful mothers and babies posed in such a way that makes their lives seem so easy and effortless. I mean, where is the baby sick stain on her dress? Where are the eye bags from being up all night with their baby? Where is the food debris on the table and floor from breakfast that morning that still needs clearing up? It is easy for some of us to then doubt ourselves. Doubt our mothering. But let’s remember, people don’t want to capture the difficult, not so beautiful times. People don’t want to capture the tears, mess and craziness that a baby brings with it. So let’s not look at those images and think “why is my life not like that?” Because guaranteed, they are struggling too. Let’s all be in this together, let’s raise our hands and say yes motherhood is damn hard and I’m not afraid to show it. But it is also the most perfect, the most insanely beautiful and fulfilling thing, and even during those 3am feeds, where you are crying with exhaustion, remember, you are SO blessed to have that angel in your arms. And before you know it, your baby angel will no longer be a baby. They will be spreading their wings, ready to explore what the world has to offer. So revel in each and every moment. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to ask for help. But always be so grateful and thankful for the life you have created, and the mark you will leave on your baby, even long after you are gone. Enjoy every day, be present and remind yourself how wonderful life is.
x x x