Motherhood Is Not A Good Enough Reason To Give Up
Being a mother means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some it is the gateway to the post-partum Nirvana of unconditional love, baby cuddles and a ‘complete’ family: to others it’s the start of a downward spiral of anxiety, stress and loss of identity. To most it’s a bit of both.
But you know what it ISN’T?
Motherhood isn’t a one-size-fits-all excuse for everything that has turned to shit in your life.
Motherhood is not a ‘condition’ that makes you exempt from adhering to society’s norms, and it isn’t an excuse to give up all self respect, shrug your shoulders and think ‘who cares anymore?’
Because I care.
I care that society groups all us mothers together, when we are all different… the only thing we have in common being that we own a child. So mums – please stop letting the side down.
What I am about to say is not coming from a place of judgement or smugness. I’m a mother of two kids who has, on more than one occasion, struggled. In fact I have teetered on the edge of Post Natal Depression, I have had rocky moments in my marriage, I’ve gone weeks (actually, years) without a decent night’s sleep and I have had many many self doubts. Some mornings, after no sleep, it’s hard to even walk in a straight line… let alone go about my business as I once did.
But it’s not impossible. And it doesn’t mean you should no longer try.
Everywhere I look I see women giving us mums a bad name. Lazy, dirty, despondent women… who, quite frankly, were probably lazy, dirty and despondent before motherhood… blaming the fact that they have children for being a walking talking mess.
I’m not buying it.
Here are the 5 things that Motherhood IS NOT an excuse for…
I read an article about schools asking mothers not to drop their kids off whilst wearing their dressing gown and slippers and I thought it was a mistake. Who leaves their house in their bed clothes? Then I witnessed it for myself. I saw a woman wearing fluffy pink slippers and cotton trousers imprinted with penguins poking out from beneath her anorak, just idly standing around chatting to other mums at the school gates. And no, she hadn’t accidentally locked herself out of her house. That is how she had chosen to go out in public!
In my opinion there are only two reasons why you would leave your house wearing bed clothes:
1. Your house is on fire
2. You are a lazy cow
Seriously, how long does it take to grab a pair of leggings and a jumper and slip on your trainers? No one is asking for you to wear a ball gown each morning, apply lipstick or even brush your bloody hair – but pajamas? And slippers? You can’t get up, oh I don’t know, THREE MINUTES earlier? Is your life that hectic and disorganized that you can’t grab a tracksuit on your way out? Or have you simply stopped caring? Because working mothers get dressed up in grown-up clothing every day AND even manage a bit of mascara.
And before you start – no, you don’t have the right to wear what you want where you want.
Clothing is made for different reasons. Would you ask for a loan from your Bank Manager while wearing a bikini? Go to the gym in a woolly jumper and jeans? Go to bed wearing a wet suit?
Even my kids get told off if they are running around the garden wearing their slippers, so what are you thinking?
Get some self respect and pull your shit together, ladies!
2. Living in a hell hole
I have written about this before but I don’t care how many kids you have chosen to have there is no reason why you have to live in squalor. Come on mums… your kids are not making memories, they are making a mess and you no longer care.
Having a bit of arts and crafts stuff scattered over the dining table is one thing – but having a kitchen that resembles the aftermath of a teenage drug-fueled party that was raided by the police and then bombed, just because you are a mother to an active two year old, is not acceptable. You weren’t happy living like that pre-baby, so why is your status as a mother making it okay now?
Life is harder when you have someone to run around after, I get that… I DO that. But if there are women out there with kids who also have a relatively clean and tidy abode, you can manage too. Don’t shrug your shoulders and say, ‘oh well, I’m a mummy now,’ because you are using Motherhood as an excuse to give up. And so is your other half who should also be helping.
3. Being unable to lose weight
I put on a couple of stone after my firstborn, I think most mothers do, and it was hard to lose. REALLY hard. Not because I wasn’t active, there’s nothing like an energetic toddler to have you on your feet all day, but because thanks to lack of sleep and lack of structured eating times I was snacking on crap and craving sugar. But eventually your kid will sleep and you will eventually want to feel like your old self again, even if your tummy will always be a tad flabbier than it was before.
So why, why, WHY do hugely overweight people blame Motherhood for being fat? If you are unhappy with your body, change it. And if you are okay with being bigger than you used to be, then great. To be honest I don’t give a McFuck what you look like. But please, don’t say that having a baby makes you fat. It doesn’t. It makes you pregnant, then flabbier and then it’s up to you to be the size you want to be.
If you are making puree for baby, turn some into soup for you. If your gym has a creche, use it. If you own trainers and a buggy with wheels, run around a bit. If you don’t want to, then sit back down in front of Loose Women and eat another donut. But it’s not your baby’s fault.
4. Not fulfilling your ambitions
This makes me sad. Because life is such a wondrous gift and once you enter the fog of Motherhood it is all too easy to get lost and confused and lose your way. You are all ‘But I’m A Mum Now’ and then, once the fog lifts, you forget who you were before. And so does everyone else. But there is no need to get to that stage, because instead of seeing the transition from the Carefree You to the Mother You as being an end of something – see it as a new beginning.
You may not get the chance at first, between feeds and bedtime routines and the monotony that is babyhood, to know what you want to do once your little bundle won’t be in your arms 24/7. But you should have some idea, even a tiny one, to give you hope through the hard times. You should believe in yourself and know you won’t stay this size, this tired, this helpless or this focused on one person for the rest of your life. That eventually the old you will reappear and you will be ready to shape her. Because too many mothers don’t, they settle for Easy and then they blame Motherhood for stripping them of their ambition.
Having kids doesn’t deny you your dreams. It will make achieving them a bit harder, yes, and pull you in more directions of course and give you more plates to spin. But it CAN be done. So if you want something more… it’s there for the taking.
5. Being a bitter resentful bitch
“How dare my husband go out and have fun while I’m stuck at home?”
“Look at that young childless whore dressed in a tight dress and heels. Ha! She wouldn’t look like that if she had kids!”
“How could my work colleague say she’s tired, only mothers know what real tiredness is!”
“Look at that selfish working mum… look at that lazy stay at home mum…”
YOU chose to have kids. YOU have the life that YOU set out to have. No one knocked on your door, handed you six children, and ran off laughing maniacally.
By all means have a moan when being a mum gets hard, of course you have every right to – it’s hard work and exhausting and bloody mind numbing – but don’t resent other people for having the life you wish you had.
If your other half goes out, good! HE has a life. Be gracious and next time tell him it’s YOUR turn to hit the town.
Is she prettier and younger than you? So? Get dressed, put the donut down and make yourself the best version of yourself that you can be. If it’s that important to you. Or shut up and leave her be…
Yes other people get tired and grumpy too, you don’t OWN the emotion just because you have kids. Maybe the woman was in hospital all week nursing her dying father? Or she works 15 hours a days? Or she was shagging her new boyfriend all night? How about you empathise with their exhaustion instead of being such a sleep-deprived hormonal bitter bitch?
If you can’t do it all then seek help; put yourself first for a bit and put your phone down, get off Facebook, turn off the TV and stop wasting your time thinking about how better off other people are. Think about how you want to progress with your life instead. Because this exhaustion won’t last forever and when it gets easier you need to be ready, you can do this!
Be kind to yourself, get your house in order (tidy home, tidy mind), dream big and stop hating on others. You are a mother, it’s not over… you are not a shadow of your former self.
You are not fucking finished yet!
Your old life may be behind you, but your new life is just beginning. Have some self respect and show your kids that your life STARTED with them. That you CAN and you WILL be a happy, confident, beautiful, organised woman who also happens to have kids.
Just take it one step at a time… starting with getting out of your damn PJs!