Is what a fellow mum said to me last week and yes I was thinking the same thing I mean who in their right mind has time to iron their kids clothing (the child is 2 by the way).
She either has way too much time on her hands OR she is just stupid (ok that’s a bit rude, but come on NO one will care whether his t-shirts are ironed! She then went on to say that she sometimes irons his bedding too. I used to iron my bedding, but that was when I was single and living on my own, then sometimes I would do it when I was married and living without children. William has come along and I iron the bare minimum!
I was laughing out loud talking to this friend about the other mum, but not nastily. She then went on to talk about an author who writes the hurrah for gin series Kate Kirby, I was given one of these books when William was born (possibly that friend was preparing me as she knew what was coming?) and then my secret Santa at work a couple of years ago got me one. What are people trying to say, that this motherhood lark is hard work? That it drives you to drink gin?? Until my holiday a few of weeks ago I would’ve laughed at the thought, but on holiday I was actually drinking most evenings after the stress the toddler provided!
Then I started to talk to my mum about it, and other friends I have realising that there is a lot of publicity for mothers having a hard life, I mean yes, I’m not saying its easy but is it really being milked? I first realised this most certainly isn’t the case when I got my first mothers day present from William (obviously HE knew what was coming!)
Then I kept seeing online posts of women with t-shirts saying ‘motherhood powered by coffee and wine’ or ‘this mother is whinging it’. I thought it was quite funny to start with because I did see how hard it was with my own eyes, but then I thought how the hell did they cope years ago?
I cannot imagine how hard it is to have more than one child, but my mum told me that when I was a toddler having tantrums she couldn’t tell me off. When I asked her why not, it was because both my brothers (one is 8 years older and the other is 12 years older) would tell my mum not to. They would say “Mum leave her alone, she’s only a baby.” I felt a bit smug when she told me that, as my brothers were always quite protective of me.
But then later I thought how awful that must’ve been for my mum, there she was trying to bring up three children practically by herself in 1977 (my dad worked long hours) whilst working extra hours herself and there she had two boys in the family telling her off for telling me off, seriously that might as well be a brick wall to my mum. I don’t remember much of my childhood, but I know I never went without. We lived in a country house, my dad worked at Mottisfont Abbey as a groundsman and we were lucky enough to have a lovely big house and garden.
When I had a tantrum she didn’t have google to see how to deal with it, not even books on how to give her guidance on how to bring up a child. All she had was her instinct and unconditional love for us all, I couldn’t do a thing wrong in my dads eyes so she had that against her too. She had my nan to get advice from, but she wasn’t around the corner and to be honest her views were to give me what I wanted so that wasn’t exactly helpful.
Now we have books for baby sleeping, teething, weaning, behaviour and celebrities that also want to give us guidance on how to bring up our children and slogans like ‘happy baby happy mum’ which is all very well but if every parent could just stop for a second and think that maybe could we not just use our instinct like they did years ago and deal with it ourselves??
I do like a good slogan to be honest, and I know this post sounds like I’m slating these people but I’m not. Hey they’re genius’ because they’ve made money out of making slogans to make parents feel better by making them realise they’re not alone, I wish I’d done it!
The trouble is, people think it’s easy to have a child. I really did, for years and years of trying to have a baby it was hard enough but then to go out and have a social life with other parents talking about their offspring, and sitting next to people with children and watching their parenting skills telling myself it wasn’t fair and they didn’t deserve to have children, oh my gosh I was incredibly so judgemental and now I hate myself for it.
I would be out and I would see a woman walking round town with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth while pushing a baby along, or children running around a park and the mother just sat on a park bench not watching them just sat on their mobile phone. I would judge, like you wouldn’t believe because I was jealous as hell.
There was one moment where the husband and I went out for a meal at Cafe Rouge (love that place) and on the next table was a baby, I had just had my third miscarriage and the meal was the first time I’d gone out in days. Husband noticed straight away that I was upset and tried to see if we could sit elsewhere, it was then the baby started to cry and without blinking the mother got her baby out of the pram, pulled her top up and began to breastfeed her. I looked at my husband and felt like I was about to burst into tears, there was no where else to sit, he leant across the table and told me to swap with him so they weren’t in direct eye line of me. But as I sat back down the mother practically spat, “Breastfeeding is completely natural you know!” at me, that was it, I burst into tears and ran from the restaurant. Hubby paid the bill and chased after me, he was livid at that woman and wanted me to go back in there and tell her why I was upset, tell her that I had just had my third miscarriage and I would give anything to be able to casually lift my own baby out of a pram and breastfeed them. But I didn’t, I never went back there and we ended up driving home in silence, I went straight to my bed when we got home and cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. That was my lowest point.
I still feel slightly the same now having a child myself helps a bit but I still feel envious and jealous of younger mums and when I take him to soft play and parks which he loves and I can’t take my eyes off him for a second, but that’s because I still have to pinch myself, I still cannot believe that I’m a mother. We’re going through difficult times with him at the moment, he’s pushing boundaries and it’s draining, it really is but it’s because I’m finding it hard discipline him because he is especially special.
So…..all these slogans and goodies that you can buy with them on are all very well, but what did the mums have years ago? They couldn’t have struggled too much because they went on to have other children? Or maybe because they were a lot stronger then, was it that they had more stamina? That they didn’t know any different?? Who knows, but some of them must look at the mothers of today and wonder if the mothers would’ve survived years ago.
All I know is that I’m ok, just, but I’m ok. There are people out there that are a lot worse off, I struggle with a two year old, but there’s probably someone out there that has a two year old and a sibling and/or even one with a disability, maybe they’re a single parent because the father said he’d be there but he isn’t or maybe he works away in a job that isn’t 9-5 Monday to Friday. We are all in different situations, it’s easy to get caught up in it all, but I actually feel lucky. I have another friend who has a little boy the same age as W and her mum lives abroad, to be that would be hard.
I just want you to know that I am ok, you are ok, we are all ok and you got this.
It’s not a slogan, just how it is.