Let me start by saying I love being a mum, I love my children and wouldn’t change anything about either of them for all the world. They aren’t what this is about.
Why does life suck being a mother?
Because it’s the only thing in the world where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Whatever you choose to do there will be 50% of the entire population of the world hurling abuse at you for it.
- Lets look at just the early years (0-2) in this stage of your childs life people will be judging you on:
- How you feed them: formula vs breast. Weaning: how and when
- How you let them sleep: co-sleeping, separate beds, on you, in a cot, in a pram, by demand, routine.
- How you transport them: Baby-wear or pram?
- How you toilet them: cloth nappy, toilet train early, toilet train late.
- What you name them
- What you dress them in
- How you talk to them: baby talk, as a mini adult
- How much you have them looked after by other people.
All of those are personal choice, and some of them are heart wrenching choices. First hand, feeding. I tried and failed to breast feed both of my girls. With my youngest, I can remember her being two days old, coming in from a walk with my husband and mother in law and silently leaving the room, going up to my bed, curling into the smallest ball possible and silently sobbing. I couldn’t cope with the breast feeding. And I felt like a failure. It hurt, so much. I was bleeding from places blood should never come from. But I knew that BREAST IS BEST and FORMULA IS POISON. Ridiculous really, I’d formula fed my eldest who’s a startlingly intelligent, well adapted and healthy child. So logically I knew that wasn’t the case. But neither the midwives or, even worse, other mothers were telling me it was ok to formula feed. Everyone was adamant I should breast feed and in that over wrought, exhausted (and believe me, until you’ve given birth you’ve no idea what exhaustion actually feels like) I felt like an evil, abominable person for wanting to formula feed. Luckily husband talked sense in to me.
Being a mother people are judging you endlessly. You stay at home? You’re failing your children by not showing them a good role model. Go out to work? You’re failing your children by letting other people look after them.
And then in addition to all of the crap that does have some legitimacy, feeding there are benefits of breast feeding, there are benefits of co-sleeping, there are benefits of routine, there is the absoloute bull shit that is spouted by people.
Like this meme that is doing the rounds on facebook/peoples kitchens again:
Or ones to that effect.
So now we can’t even have clean and tidy houses without it meaning we’re depriving our children.
Awesome. I can’t cope with untidiness. It stresses me out. It’s a major trigger for me. Mess and noise make my head hurt and trigger my anxiety. So my house is pretty much always immaculate. (I’m getting better, I can leave the pots until after the school run now). Apart from two rooms: the girls bedroom and the playroom. They’re generally fairly untidy. But not massively. I make my children, yes even the two year old, tidy them up. Some times they even have to do it properly. But according to holier-than-thou parents out there, I’m depriving my children of making memories?!
Personally I prefer to look at it as
- Instilling values: they should look after their area
- Valuing worth of toys, if one gets broken because it wasn’t put away properly, I’m damned if I’m replacing it.
- Responsibility: I am not having one of those kids that doesn’t give a damn about rules.
So that meme annoys me every time I see it. Because it’s bullshit. Children making memories comes from spending time with family and friends, learning things, going out and visiting places. Not from running around in a messy and filthy home not caring if they’re trampling their toys.
So, so far we’ve established life sucks as a mother because:
- You’re judged on every basic need choice you make whilst the children are infants
- Becuase apparently if you have a clean and tidy home you’re uptight and don’t let your kids have fun
- Because if you work you suck and if you don’t you suck.
And I’ve not even got started on the social life.
There seems to be an entire quarter of the population that are martyrs to the cause! OH NOES WE HAVE BABIEEZ WE MUSN’T HAVE FUN!
This quarter (quarter: mainly mums, and only half of the mums so 1/4) seem to think that as soon as you have children your life must revolve only around them. These mums are usually hemp wearing, baby wearing, co-sleeping, vegan, new-age moms (that’s not true, but see how easy it is to judge?!). This type of mum is the type that considers the dad to be “babysitting” if they do the grocery shop and leave is children in his care. (It’s not babysitting when it’s looking after your own spawn). This type of mum would look aghast at you if you dared hint at having your child looked after by someone else so you could ahve some “me” time. Apparently, according to them, once youre a mum, your social life revolves around the child.
I’m sick of all this judging. Surely, as long as the child is happy and healthy nothing else matters? So why then, is everything you do as a mother judged and critiqued by all of society?
I, for one, am sick to the back teeth of it. I don’t want to be judged because I’ve gone back to work. I don’t want to be judged because sometimes I put my children into childcare so I can have a day to myself, sometimes to do nothing more than nap and laze around. I don’t want to be judged because sometimes I throw a pizza in the oven and call it dinner. I don’t want to be judged because I still like to go out dancing with the girls. I don’t want to be judged because I keep my house clean and tidy instead of letting the kids trash it (we’ve worked hard to have a house we’re proud of!). I don’t want to be judged because I spend time doing things for me that only benefits me. Oh gosh!
Just because I do those things it doesn’t mean I love my kids any less. It doesn’t mean I don’t adore them. I still go in an kiss them every night before I go to bed. I still have them in my thoughts 90% of the time. I still put their safety and happiness first. I just don’t see why my life should stop because of them? Because in 15 years time, I can garauntee that hopefully by children will be off every second of the day without a second thought for what me and their dad are up to. That shy of a quick message to let me know their safe and if they’ll be back for a meal that’ll be the most contact I get from them .Because surely that’s what we want to raise? We want to raise happy confident kids that fly the nest without a backwards glance? We want to raise kids that are confident to go out into the world and forge their own way?
It’s high time mothers stopped judging other mothers. That we all looked at one another and went “cool whatever”. That we stop screaming BREAST IS BEST. And instead just went FEEDING IS BEST! That we just said to each other “hey, you’re doing a good job.” or even “well I do it differently, but I can see you’re way works for you and your sprog, so cool”. Why are we always trying to put each other down? Is it because raising kids is hard and we’re all terrified of getting it wrong?
Because actually, as long as we love them, keep them safe, feed them, instill values and morals into them, well they’ll be okay. They’ll probably life to an age where you’re sometimes nothing more than a foot note in their lives. And actually, we all get things wrong. We all do. Frequently. But as long as they know we love them, then nothing else matters sometimes.
So please, fellow mums, please lets stop judging each other. You stop judging me because I have a clean, tidy house, I work and I have a life way from my kids. And I’ll not judge you because you’re house is messy, and you only associate with your kids and kid friendly things. Then we can all get a long and focus on the main thing that matters: turning our little bundles of joy into well functioning, caring and confident adults.
Life sucks as a mother because what ever you do someone thinks you’re wrong.