I’ve officially hit it. That brick wall that I’ve read about.
The glazed look – dead behind the eyes.
All I can hear myself saying is, “if I have to wash one more f*&%$king bottle, I’m going to scoop my eyes out with my child’s spoon” (apologies for the graphic nature of my thoughts)
I have three kids and they are wonderful most of the time. But this post isn’t actually about my kids. It’s about me and an issue I think many mums can relate to.
Motherhood means monotony.
It wasn’t a detail mentioned by my older, wiser mum friends before I had kids. They just told me being a mum is hard work.
Hmmmm ok, I thought. Yes I’m sure that ‘no-sleep’ part is horrendous.
However the no sleep is such a tiny sliver of what makes this job a hard one. It’s actually the monotonous nature of everyday routines that is shaping up to be my largest obstacle to feeling happy.
There are many people who would say – but you get to stay home and play around with your kids. You get to watch them grow – what could be more special?
Yes I agree with that point but motherhood isn’t an endless series of Hallmark moments when the children are giggling and you’re sitting in the sun sipping a cold iced tea while they play peacefully in the garden in their cute outfits.
Motherhood is 85% bottle washing, nappy changing, puree feedings, puke cleaning, laundry, laundry and more laundry. These are little humans who need you to do almost everything for them so as a mum, you spend most of your day just making sure they get through theirs in one piece. It genuinely can drive a person to insanity after months/years of it. Especially once you have more than one child, and everything is multiplied.
Ironically no day is ever the same. Each day brings a new challenge. But still, it’s the mind-numbing little daily tasks that make me feel like I’m selling my soul to Peppa Pig.
Surely I didn’t work my butt off in my 20s and early 30s to develop a career and establish myself amongst my peers, only to become THIS person.
If I’m brutally honest, I don’t recognize that person in the mirror anymore. My hormonally-laced dreams (those hormones are still screwed up from pregnancy btw) are all about me in my 20s meeting myself now and I spend the whole dream just trying to convince my younger self how cool I still am.
It’s like I’m a kid again, being shut out by the popular kids at the playground. I’m screaming for them to acknowledge me but they won’t even turn around.
I’m that invisible.
That’s how I feel as a mum right now. I’m everything to my children but in order to be that way, I’ve become a shadow of my former self.
I always knew it was going to be hard – staying at home with my children. I’m well aware how blessed I am to be able to stay home fulltime with my little ones, BUT that in no way means that the job is an easy one.
It’s not that I want to drop everything and head back to the office fulltime (and quite frankly there’s no way we could afford 3 kids in childcare. Although I’m not going to lie, I fantasize about doing the commute each day into London….I would get to sit on a train for, like 40 minutes!! 40 minutes – EACH WAY. I could sit with my phone and actually respond to texts, or dabble in a bit of online-shopping, or gasp, read a book. Seriously – this is what I dream about these days!)
The truth of the matter is, I’m bored. Motherhood is boring me to tears. Literally.
I hate even admitting that because there is instantly the other part of me that screams “what the hell are you talking about?! Your kids are amazing! Stop being an ungrateful woman.”
That little voice is true. My kids make me laugh every day and I couldn’t possibly feel more love for them. They do things each day – something new that fills my soul with amazement. Those little gems, those bright lights of a moment keep me going each day.
I know I’m to blame. We woman just take on our new role as fulltime mother as if we’ve been training for it our whole lives. That maternal feeling should come naturally right? But the truth is, many of us are just trying to fake it till we make it. Too many of us never ask for help or admit we need a break. We have babies and then proceed to give up our hobbies because of either time or budget realities. “That’s ok I’ll get back to it one day…”
We try to fit in to the motherhood mould as best we can – even though, at least in my case, I find myself to be a round peg in a square hole. My new hobbies include, clothing folding, potty training, swing pusher, chief colourer/finger painter and of course, night owl (thanks again to hormones for my new-found insomnia).
I have so many amazing friends who seem to excel at being a mum. They have play groups lined up each week, coffee dates ready to go and their child’s snack box perfectly packed each morning ready for the day’s activities.
I look at them with envy. They seem to breeze through this stage of their lives, enjoying almost every moment.
So why do I walk down to the kitchen each morning with dread, knowing I need to unload the dishwasher, move the washing into the dryer, wash the bottles from last night and start the conveyor belt of food known as breakfast for three hungry mouths?
My mind jumps from thought to thought as I do these tasks like some drone: “I must actually get a tea this morning. Did I wash the right jumpers for the girls? Check the weather, hmmm rain today – need to change plans and find an indoor venue. No, not that one, too busy at this time of year…Oh shoot that stain didn’t come out. Sam needs socks.”
Who’s bored? I’m bored just writing that. Not exactly stimulating after the millionth time thinking it either.
I recently read a brilliant article by a woman who essentially said that sacrificing yourself – sacrificing your interests, your passion, those things that excite you in life – not as a mum but as an individual – needs to be a thing of the past.
We women need to make ourselves a priority even when we feel we shouldn’t be. Your kid will be fine watching a cartoon while you do a 20 minute work-out in the dining room – so stop killing yourself with guilt about it. Or instead of doing the laundry and dishes while your kids are napping, take that time to meditate, sleep or read a book. If funds allow it, get a babysitter or a family member to come once a week for a couple hours – not so you can go grocery shopping but so you can do something that stimulates your brain.
My brain needs me to start standing up to the monotony of motherhood. I owe myself that much. I owe my 20-something self that much. I owe my kids that much – as their role model.
I WILL start putting me first on occasion. My personality, my interests, my dreams WILL be back on the daily menu – I promise…
….right after the bottles are cleaned.