“It’s okay to not be made for motherhood.”
I wrote this blog a while back now and I thought it was perfect to share in the run up to Mother’s Day. It came to me one evening when I was going through a really rough time and couldn’t see how things were going to improve.
So there it is. In the title. It’s out there for the world to see. Will I share this on my own personal platforms? Probably not. Why? I’m embarrassed. You see, I always knew I wanted children one day, albeit they came along sooner then expected. After a miscarriage in December 2013, I think I went into panic mode despite only having just turned 21 – even then both my daughter’s are pill babies!
It’s been the what-ifs, the why’s, that’s bothered me. I was, and still am, in the same long term relationship. Babies were always a part of the plan. When I found out in March 2014 that I was expecting, we were more than ecstatic. Fast forward 9 months and we had our first little girl. 7 months later, and after a slight mishap of throwing up in Tesco car park, those two lines appeared again.
Baby number 2 was on her way. To me, my family was complete. We got married, had our two beautiful daughters, and I have everything I ever dreamed of as a kid. And yet I don’t feel up to the job sometimes. I was never the baby group mum. My confidence was at rock bottom – and I live in such a small area that everyone knows everyone – including people from our past who attended such groups. So for me, with my confidence that low, it was enough to make me steer clear. Couple that with post natal depression (times two) and my youngest being born with sepsis amongst so many other health worries, I can’t say my journey into motherhood has been the best.
Now I don’t know if I am just too hard on myself, but at times I look at what we have done with our day. Usually it consists of the girls, playing whilst watching films. And I’m on my phone nearly all day, every day. That’s my main embarrassment right there. Am I addicted to my phone and to social media? Absolutely. Am I mortified by this? Absolutely. Do I seem to be able to stop? No. If anyone has any miraculous answers then please send them my way!
I don’t know if sometimes I just find life too tough to function or whether I’m just not mum material. I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, they are the centre of my universe. But I see other mums (or even my daughter’s with my husband) making everything so much fun and so enjoyable. I end up wondering why I can’t, or don’t feel I can, do that. What is stopping me? Going down the beach, to a splash pool, to a soft play or even doing crafts, baking, any kind of activity sends me into overdrive. Half way through I pick up my phone or I don’t find it enjoyable.
Doesn’t that make me sound like the worst mum in the world? Do my girls laugh every day? Yes. Do they know they loved? Absolutely. Do they see a happy, content marriage? Yes. Are they brought up in a happy, loving home? Yes. Does my husband see ‘the best mum in the world’ when he looks at me? So he says… So why don’t I feel it? What can I do to enjoy my girls more, or should I say, enjoy doing activities with them more? I want them to be learning from me, and at the moment I wonder if they look up and only see two phones half the time. That devastates me beyond what you could begin to imagine.
I don’t feel I am equipped with the knowledge or knowhow to be the best mum I can be. My eldest goes to school in September and time is so precious. I remember holding her in hospital the night she was born, wondering how we would ever make it to this day. Yet fast forward on 4 years and we are only months away. I want to make her home time the best time. I am sure in the eyes of my 4 & 3 year old it really is, but I want to look back and know I did my best and couldn’t have done more to treasure, encourage and teach my girls.
Right now I’m not doing that. It’s been weeks, if not a couple of months since I wrote a blog post, although so much has changed. The start of that change was that I spoke up, I explained to my husband how I was feeling and it meant I wasn’t alone with my thoughts. Secondly we came up with a plan, I have severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which means I have excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worries about events or activities. Part of my management plan is lists and organisation, so on a Sunday night we plan the weeks activities ahead.
It means we have structure to our day. The girls are more fulfilled and I feel better about myself. This is because I feel they have benefited from our day’s activities. I have now finally stopped and taken a breath. Looking at our lives, for four solid years I have devoted my everything to being a mum and a wife – there has been no room for anything in between. I have concentrated so much on everyone else that I had forgotten about myself.
Mums, it is SO important to remember YOU. You matter too, without you your family isn’t complete, so be kind to yourself. Have five minutes reading a book, play on your phone, sit in the garden, get your nails done. Whatever it is, take time for you. You will be a better mum and partner for it. As I’m sure anyone reading this can appreciate, sharing this blog was a hard decision to make. It’s so personal and I was worried I would have people on a witch-hunt against me for admitting being a ‘bad’ mum.
Mother’s Day is approaching and for me personally, that means celebrating all that my mum does for me, the love she gives, the endless support and for being the best mum there is. Yet I bet there are times, in fact I know there have been times, where she hasn’t felt the best and yet in my eyes she is.
A piece of advice I was once given was this: ‘As long as your children go to bed each night knowing they are loved then you are doing the best job you can.’
It doesn’t matter if you live in a rented house, or you have a mortgage. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, large or small. Whether you look in the mirror and feel pretty or ugly. I hope it’s not the latter – everyone is unique and beautiful – it’s what makes us all different. It’s really not about what you feel you personally have in life, or what you don’t. None of that is a measure of love.
Be kind to yourself mamas, it doesn’t matter whether you are having a good day or a bad day, as long as you love the bones off your children and they know it then everything in between can be fixed. It’s okay to not be made for motherhood.