Do you ever get together with your friends and really, truly say how you genuinely feel? Because we all have our Top Frustrations of Being Mummy – but we never seem to acknowledge them. Let me tell you about something I read that got me thinking…
There are 2 words I would love to remove from the English language. One is “fine” (and the other is not “moist”).
What’s wrong with “fine” you may ask?
Because it’s a word we use rather than saying how we really feel. It’s a catch all for “not good enough” – if you made huge effort to get ready for a (in my case all too rare) date night with your other half and when you appeared they glanced your way and said you look fine … not ffiiiiiine … just fine. Bleurgh. Evening ruined.
As Annabel Rivkin wrote in a recent interview when she didn’t give the expected “I’m Absolutely Fine” in response to the obligatory “How are you?” on arrival but blurted out EXACTLY how she was feeling instead and there was a moment.
You know the kind: when the world stops spinning – everything hangs still – suspended – no one wanting to break the silence by inhaling … then all at once the flood gates opened.
All her friends who had previously been “fine” suddenly revealed they had all been struggling one way or another but trying to battle on alone. Not wanting to burden others – or embarrassed to share anxieties for fear of judgement.
And that’s the thing with Motherhood …
There are many, many blessings to being a Mummy and it truly is the best job in the world. It’s also the hardest.
With social media showing us how “perfect” motherhood is it can be totally daunting to admit that there are aspects we don’t like. Times we struggle. Days that can stretch an eternity for all the wrong reasons.
As part of my self-care practices I found giving a voice to feelings / thoughts is a really positive step to take & cathartic too. As if by giving them power that energy is also released. So here are mine … feel free to add yours in the comments below!
14 Top Frustrations About Being Mummy:
I loathe them with a passion. I hate everyone says you have to have one. I hate being beholden to someone else’s schedule. I value spontaneity and freedom and I didn’t realise quite how much, until I had kids!
But it’s not just that I hate the routine – I hate the fact that they bloomin work for kids. Typical.
2. Saying No
Saying no to going out with friends because I choose to stay home and breastfeed my baby. This is a HUGE conflict for me; if I said YES I miss my baby and spend the whole time feeling guilty about being out. And yes, I know, I could try bottles, I could express, that she will be fine. I KNOW it’s my choice to stay in (in fact to some degree in retrospect this has probably enabled some of my illness). But by the same token I hate missing out! FOMO hits hard sometimes.
Tim Minchin’s quote about opinions stays with me to this day (it’s a little rude so I won’t directly quote here … but here’s a link if you don’t mind a little profanity)
Opinions – suddenly I am being treated to everyone else’s opinion. As if by having kids I have given permission for anyone and everyone to comment on my life choices.
My neighbour once confessed to me she doesn’t even like her kids – then gave me her opinion about how I should be “managing to do more” – she was running 2 businesses as well as raising kids you know. Why would I want to follow the advice of someone who, by their own admission, has a strained relationship with her kids??
Suddenly other people are obsessed by how much sleep you’re getting. Not enough BTW but then I knew that came with the territory.
And when did my vagina become an appropriate topic of polite conversation?! Seriously – I don’t walk into anyone’s house and enquire about their vagina. Yet somehow, after giving birth how many stitches, what degree of tear, how things are healing and how much discomfort I am experiencing is an appropriate line of questioning?
Close friends and other new Mum’s maybe – relatives, acquaintances and strangers – mind your own!
Maybe that’s where I went wrong … I should have answered with “My vagina is fabulous thanks, how’s yours?”
5. The Rescuer
That one person who visits so they can tell others they “popped in to help” … but actually did nothing other than accept hospitality and hog the baby snuggles.
My advice: don’t stress it. Yes, they are blooming annoying but recognise that this is about THEIR need to feel important rather than YOUR need to be rescued.
Once you have identified “the baby hog” make sure you have “somewhere to be at x time” so they know when they have to leave. Setting boundaries to their time means you keep control … & know that the end is in sight!
6. The Divisions
We’re all familiar with this one right?! I hate it. With a passion. Whatever we choose as a Mum has to be right for us & our children – and quite frankly other people’s opinions shouldn’t come into it.
- Breastfed or formula
- CIO or cuddle
- Attachment or non
- Time Out or Time In
- Disposable or Cloth
- And on … and on … and on …
The heightened awareness around this division means we feel implied criticism – even when there is none. Or we stay silent for fear of appearing to criticize. At times I find myself not saying I exclusively breastfeed because I know someone is formula feeding nearby and I worry they’ll think I am criticising them.
8. Goo in pumpkins
Seriously? Who knew that stuff was so sticky?! And it stings when you’re outside merrily scraping out the contents of the humungous pumpkin you have just madly lugged back from the farm not foreseeing how dang heavy those beauties are!
Then the pulp is not so much pulp that the kids can get out, it’s thick, sticky, fibrous horror stuff that the kids are bored trying to prise through the lid hole within 30 seconds of commencing the task and thus you are stuck outside in the freezing cold with your hand stuck to the spoon and the cold creeping slowly up your forearm which is inevitably exposed to save your clothes being covered in cold pumpkin juice …
Kids love repetition but it can be (is) VERY draining. Chinese water torture would be preferable in some cases.
If you aren’t yet into the Baby shark phase you have my sympathies.
If you are on the other side, congratulations, I salute you!
It’s also the monotony of the same argument or conversation. My son and I have the same conversation about getting dressed EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.
10. Screen time
I once wrote on T’s settling in form under “favourite TV program” … “doesn’t watch TV”. Wow – I wish that was the case now!
The reality of having 3 is that the TV is a necessity sometimes. But the stigma of allowing our kids screen time also really grates with me. Feeling I have to explain they have been outside already today and do have well rounded fulfilled lives the rest of the time.
But you know what – sometimes the easy option is ok.
11. Always being ON
One of the most overwhelming aspects of parenting when you bring your cute little bundle into the world is that your brain is now permanently set to ON.
There is no let up.
You are always thinking of another person – where they are, what they are doing, what they need, if they are happy.
It’s intense. And exhausting.
Even when sleeping your brain is still only on standby. One snuffle and you’re up. No snuffle and you’re up. Just for fun – comment below – how many times did you wake up in a panic the first time your child slept through? I bet you didn’t sleep through!
When did sex become a race to the finish?! I kid you not, you are not yet a parent if you haven’t raced the monitor.
Also that I totally want to, but by the time the kids are in bed I just literally have nothing left. That after a day of being a human climbing frame to small people I really need NOT to be touched. Which is crazy: I crave intimacy but need space.
A milestone. One I looked forward to and was excited to enter with T. But it’s also the end.
For 9 months I grew my babies. For 6 months my body alone nourished them. And it’s only on reflection I realise a little part of me is sad that the time of me being their sole source of nourishment has come to an end.
Plus, food gets everywhere! In your hair, the floor, the walls and very occasionally in your child!
Mom guilt is real!
It’s like Olaf’s very own flurry in Frozen! Always with me, showering me with little doubts.
But since I have defined what makes me feel like me and I put time aside to do those things I realised that I am there more for the kids too.
Because “Real Ali” is starting to reappear from the fog.
What would you add to the “Things I hate about Being Mummy” List?
Please feel free to leave a comment (or vent) below and share with other Mummies – let’s vent together!
I’m just off to take a sharpie to “fine” in the dictionary … oh and the 2nd word is “should”…