I wasn’t one of those girls who played with dolls and thought, “Wow one day I want to do this all by myself” Instead, as a firstborn, I thought about how much I wanted a sister and thankfully, my little sister was born, she was such a blessing to my life despite our age gap. As a teenager, a lot of the girls around me already knew the kind of wedding they wanted, how many daughters and sons they would have and all I could think about was how I wanted to travel the world, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I got pregnant at 23, not a very young age but also now that I look back at it, mentally I was still a child. I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and I had little to no idea about babies, I never knew how unconditional my love would have to be and the expectation of this love not only from my son but from society keeps growing. I suddenly belonged to the honorable, patient women association, the women who baked didn’t enjoy a glass of whiskey on the rocks and now I had to act like a mother! I had to love every moment of motherhood and that pressure alone was damning.
The lie we’re all told as mothers is that motherhood is a big bowl of joy and love and is forever fulfilling. What we forget is that we’re bringing human beings into our lives, little human beings with their own set of emotions and different personalities and yet at the same time we’re still trying to unlearn all the negative traits that live within us, we’re trying to undo the impatience, the sadness, disciplinary measures that were used on us and at the same time we’re trying to either be wives, and also employees, it’s a lot!
There’s so much that goes on within a mother’s mind from the time she gives birth, emotionally, psychologically and mentally that we forget it’s okay to admit that not every moment of motherhood is enjoyable. As a matter of fact, it is necessary to address these feelings so that we’re able to accept that we’re human beings who genuinely go out of our way to make our kids happy, I am not a superhuman, I am a human being who stretches so widely to make things happen out of the love I have, but not because I have this innate superpower.
There’s an assumption that mothers innately have the ability and even need to want to sacrifice their needs while juggling the world around her, what they don’t tell you is that the weight is crashing, crashing when the newborn can’t stop yelling at 3 am in the morning, crashing when her toddler refuses to sleep and spits fire at every opportunity because he/she can’t get what they want. The idea that we love these things is crippling, I don’t know about you but the difference for me is that I am constantly deal with my personal problems just so I have room for my son’s issues, I learned that I no longer have space for people’s toxicity or drama because motherhood is already draining as it is. There are times I’ve loathed motherhood, don’t get me wrong, I still always have loved my child (if you get to a point where you hate your own child then you need to get help because you might be suffering from something deeper) I am talking about hating the burnt out feeling, the lack of a life when you desperately wish to have adult company around you. People are often quick to judge whenever a mum seems to be weighed down by motherhood but they are not the same people who offer the support you need when all you’d like is an hour of a nap, people say “you chose to have that child so why do you need help?” there’s this sort of punishment that mothers are given, for choosing to bring life to this earth and still get tired, how dare you! The truth is, if women chose to choose themselves over and over again then the birth rate would be devastatingly low, it’s not that motherhood is, always overwhelming, it’s just that we shouldn’t have to pretend that we don’t need help when in fact we actually do. We have to remember that motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all experience, every mother has their own unique experience and every child is different. While everyone likes to judge others based on their own experience, it is unfair to do so, in my few years of parenting, we’ve all noted how different our children are, some kids have had ADHD, and my son needed glasses when he was only 2, another one had a picky eater, we’re all dealing with different human beings and not every moment is remarkable and that does not make you a bad mother.
Let’s move away from this romanticized and idealized motherhood journey that the media and society have created. The truth is, being a mother is a full-time job, and it is challenging and demanding, it is not a super job, it is an average human being who still feels the pressure to balance parenting, work and personal life, behind that healthy happy child there’s a mother who is exhausted and drained yet from all this she finds fulfilment simply because she does it from a good place, with the purest form of love, if we didn’t have the two most powerful ingredients which are patience and love (with an occasional glass of wine) then we’d be running mad, of course, present helpful fathers who understand our roles also make a huge difference.
What I’ll reiterate is that it’s okay to not always enjoy every moment, motherhood is not a competition where you’ll get a golden trophy for it, do it to your best ability with no expectation that your son or daughter will later buy you a house, and do it because of that love in your heart. Appreciate the many times that motherhood has brought a whole lot of fulfilment and joy but at the same time take time to recognize and honour yourself for what you continuously do. Get rid of the guilt and shame that makes you feel like a horrible mum every time you want to hide in your room and binge-watch a series on Netflix because in the end, it’s rather obvious that you’ll live your room and jump right into a wild routine of “eat your food” and “have you done your homework?” it is ok that you need to alleviate some of the pressure and stress that comes with trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. Ask for help when you need it, take some quiet time in those moments and remember that prioritizing self-care is not a cliché, it is an actual need that is necessary for your own well-being and the well-being of your family.
There’s no such thing as a perfect mother, so remember to validate your own feelings when you’re feeling out of it, this will not only help you a better mother but you’ll be able to let your children know that even their favourite person has her ups and downs because she’s a human being who just tries her best.