“That is not how a good Mum behaves” my 7 year old daughter screamed at me tonight. She had once again gotten distracted on her way to get ready for bed and was trying to show me how she ‘found’ her music book in its rightful home (after I located it while she was at school and returned it there). I acknowledged her relief (she was worried when she could not find it this morning), explained where I found it, encouraged her to put it away, and then screeched “AWAY! Not on the step, how do you think you loose things?”
I was annoyed, she does this all the time was the track playing in my mind and I reacted to that. Despite doing all the “Right” things to start with I lost it when they didn’t get the result I wanted. Was my expectation a little high- I think I expected gratitude and her skipping off to put it away and then me getting 3 kids to bed solo, on time, without any hiccups so no it was not really realistic 🙂
I know that I am also feeling the stress of a neglected house, and a seemingly never ending list of chores and washing and decluttering and that all weighs into my mindset and my ability to react how I would like to with the kids. That does not however make me a bad Mum. It makes me a real one. Do I some days count down the hours to bedtime (starting at lunchtime) because I just want some time to myself and no-one asking me to listen to them read when I have a shower, or wipe their Bum when I am cooking dinner or find a toy that was lost a week ago that they just remembered that they cannot live without. Hell yes! Do I some days spend hours finding fun activities to do with kids on Pinterest and then decide its just to hard to follow though? Of course. Do I some days plan adventure days out where we get to learn and explore together? Yes. Is my love of my children any different on these days- No way, just my ability to handle the pressure.
The pressure we put on ourselves to be the “perfect” Mum can inspire us to try new things, but it can also lead us down the path of Anxiety and depression. There is a reason that the rates of PND in our society are sky rocketing. It is not that children are suddenly so much more demanding, it is the picture of ‘perfection’ we are trying to attain. Society paints a picture with Huggies commercials and we reinforce it with social media. Just a click away see how perfect these Mums are- the celebrity Mums and the Pinterest Mums and the InstaMums. The ones who have it all together. As these ideals have become so ingrained in our minds we do not even realise we are comparing ourselves to just the window of their lives they want us to see, it reinforces in us the very belief that we are not good enough. Thankfully along side all this has come the Real life Mummy bloggers. those that slide wit and humor and occasional Gin and Fish Fingers into the landscape. The reason these Mums are so popular is that the Mums out there having a hard time can relate to them, they love their kids but it is hard work being a Mum and it is far from perfect. These Mums break down the stigma of the “Super Mum” and we should thank them for it.
Today an article was posted on the Daily mail about the so called “Slummy Mummy” the author selectively quoted these amazing Mamas pulling out their words and using them against them in a manner so out of context I can only assume she never read any of their post in full! While I fully support every persons right to an opinion there is a way to voice that and this woman did so with hate and vitriol and has publicly shamed these mothers in a manner she should be ashamed of. We see it time and time again, this article was in the UK but recently a similar thing happened here in Australia to Constance Hall as she was attacked by another blogger who felt she had a right to be rude and unkind because she had a difference of opinion. What this woman did was unfair and seeing the thousands of Mothers unite behind the “Slummy Mummies” and their realistic and funny views on parenting was a beautiful moment in sisterhood. Unfortunately the tables then turned and the attacker became the attacked as many Mums expressed their dislike, not just for the article but its author. When we fight back with hate we loose the power of our argument.
The truth is none of us are perfect and the Mothers who are brave enough to stand up and share their stories should be commended not shamed. Whether they choose to do so with humor and wit or perfectly arranged Pinterest worthy cakes and craft, there is no one way to get through the hardest job in the world.
After my own Mummy meltdown tonight I spent some quality time with each of my kids individually. I apologised for shouting, cuddled them and told them 3 of their qualities I admire. Each of them then told me their thoughts on me and you know what, they think I am funny and silly, nice and kind and beautiful with pretty clothes. That to me is enough to tell me I may not be perfect but I am doing the best I can and they love me for that.