Being a mum is downright hard! Personally I would say that I have sound mental health. Thats not to say that some days (ahem weeks, or months) things start to feel like they get on top of me. I have my struggles. Every mother does! I don’t have all the answers. I doubt anyone does. I want to explore some of the things we tend to do as Mums. I want to provoke your thoughts, and to challenge your perspective. Perhaps if you could modify your thinking, ayou could give ourselves some clarity that you desire. You could soon start to see some positive improvements to your mental health!
We compare ourselves to others!
I think it’s human nature to occasionally compare yourself to others. Even when we know we shouldn’t. The reality is that every day as a Mum is SO different. Some are good, some are bad, some are just plain old ugly. You know, the days that you are so grateful that your not on the Truman Show! (and then you start to wonder that maybe you are, EEK!) Sometimes we smile, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we are so confused we laugh and cry at the same time! It is never fair to compare yourself to others. We all put on a brave face when we step out in public. Don’t compare yourself to ‘that Mum that seems like she’s got it all worked out’. I guarantee you that she has days where she feels like she’s a complete failure as a mum too.
“Don’t compare yourself to other Mothers. We are all losing our shit, some just hide it better than others!”
We don’t ask for help
For some reason, we just don’t ask for help. Maybe war are too proud or too shy? Maybe, it’s because we don’t want to put others out. We were the ones who decided to have children, so it’s our responsibility.
Perhaps you don’t live close to your parents who would ordinarily be our biggest support networks. ‘Everyone is busy’ and it is sometimes very difficult to ask for help. Even when people offer help, we often don’t accept it. Just ask yourself how many times you have genuinely offered help to a friend and they decline.
Remember that “It takes a tribe to raise a child”. Maybe you need to be the brave one and be the first one to ask for help, or the first person to accept it. Accepting help could be the catalyst of a ‘tribal movement’ starting amongst your friends and family, where everyone starts to feel more comfortable giving help and accepting it!
We are too harsh on our partners
You might be thinking WHOA! What the f*&^ are you talking about. I do EVERYTHING! Truth is that most Men are trying their best. We need to give them credit for that. When we talk to our partners we often want a response that they can’t give. What I mean by this is, when he says “Oh I completely understand” we hate it, because we think “how could he possibly realise how hard it really is!” When he says “Give yourself a break, your being too hard on yourself” we think “A break, when am I meant to get a f%^#ing break? How about you do something and YOU GIVE ME a break” When he makes a suggestion of how you could make something easier, we think “Argh, I wish he would just listen and show he understands!” and so the cycle goes… Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. I tell myself this on a regular basis. It helps me to cope. He is trying! (he just doesn’t get it)
We hate our bodies for letting us down
Whether it be inability to breastfeed, post baby weight that won’t seem to budge, or a pelvic floor that literally feels like its on the floor! We can resent our bodies for letting us down. When I get frustrated by this, I remind myself of 3 things 1.Many women can’t have babies 2. We have the pleasure of experiencing pregnancy and childbirth 3. We must just be more capable of dealing with these things! Don’t hate on yourself ladies. If you would love to learn some ways to improve your body confidence and learn to love your body, read my blog post on How to really love your post pregnancy body.
We don’t appreciate ourselves
Okay, so this is “false advertising”. I haven’t included only a fraction of the ‘jobs’ that we do as Mother’s but you get my drift… We work hard, we don’t get paid, and often we feel like a lot of what we do goes unnoticed. There is nothing to feel guilty about! It took me almost the entirety of my maternity leave to stop feeling guilty that I wasn’t “working” and contributing the household funds. If I stopped and rested, I felt guilty.
People say “sleep when the baby sleeps”. I agree! But when your baby hardly sleeps and is extremely clingy, you can’t get anything done when they are awake, it’s hard to let yourself rest when baby does. You feel like there are a million jobs staring you in the face that you “must get done” before hubby gets home. Even when hubby doesn’t expect you to get everything done and the only person who has put that pressure on you, is YOU, it’s hard not to feel guilty when you do lay down to rest.
Often I would lay to have a rest and all I could think about was how many things I still needed to do. I’d close my eyes for a few minutes, my mind wouldn’t switch off and I’d get up and start doing the chores because “I couldn’t get to sleep”. (I’d hardly given myself a chance) It wasn’t until I had had so many battles with getting my baby to sleep only to have her wake again 20 minutes later, that I finally gave in and would lay down and sleep with her. Whilst her ‘learning’ to co-sleep has created other challenges, I will be forever grateful that my baby girl taught me to STOP, slow down, and sleep calmly with her. Let yourself turn off. Unfortunately all the jobs will still be there when you wake, but nobody ever died of having some dirty laundry!!
We are quick to assume we are being judged
I have had to change the way I think as a Mum. There have been plenty of times where I have felt “that look” of judgement in a strangers eyes. Then I have had to ask myself, is this genuine judgement? Perhaps “the look” is one of “I’ve been there, done that, and I know exactly how you feel”. I know myself there have been times when I’ve looked at a mother with a screaming toddler in one arm, a baby in the other, a haul of grocery bags and a look of distress on her face. I want to go and help, but always stop myself out of fear that she would feel embarrassed. Sometimes I wonder if that Mum feels my ‘look’ is one of judgement, when really its a look of empathy. There are other times when it’s clear that we are being given advice. Often, it is unwanted and can leave us feeling quite frustrated. However, more often than not it comes from a good place in peoples hearts. The intention is to help. Not to judge.
Being a Mum is really hard!
We don’t have all the answers as Mums, but like my mother always says “You do the best you can with what you’ve got!” Your doing great! Trust that. Remember, take care of you xx
If you enjoyed this you may also enjoy: