These days in the great world of the internet, I’d like to think we’re a lot more open about the struggles motherhood brings – the lack of sleep, the sibling fights, the mess, the fact we haven’t had time to shave for over a month and our sex lives – what sex lives?! I’ve found myself firmly nestled in an instagram community where declaring you need a large G&T by 11am (drink responsibly folks) or sharing a picture of your hell-risen lounge after it’s gone ten rounds with a toddler clutching a strawberry, receives high-fives and comments of humourous empathy. This is the era of no bull motherhood.
It’s not about wanting praise for looking like a zombie, needing to caffeinate your way through to lunch time or being up at 3am with a teething toddler. It’s just about finding those parents going through the same things, saying “I feel your pain” and normalizing the low points, the crap days and the struggles parents face everyday. Even the slickest school run mum with her pristine sprogs, matching shoes and Cherrio free hair (life goals!) – has rubbish days.
So why then are there some peddling the early 2000’s mantra that motherhood is a blissful stroll down Oblivious Lane? I was recently interviewed for Mother & Baby magazine on the topic of having multiple children of the same gender. Halfway through the interview, after what I considered a funny little tale about Hugo hunting down his brother, like a jaguar stalking an unsuspecting tapir, over a mishap involving felt-tip pens, the editor felt the need to remind me that “this is supposed to be a positive piece”. Needless to say, once I’d tracked down a copy of the publication, my interview was nowhere to be found. I’d been replaced by a number of mothers with shit loads of kids too who were apparently willing to saccharine drench the lives of living with multiple kids.
I know Mother & Baby is generally there for those at the beginning of their parenting journey (in other words, before the loaded nappy really hits the fan and you can still pee without an audience) who need to be told that there’s hope after your fanny’s been ripped in two and your stomach muscles have done a runner, and I’m all up for a bit of hope – but I’m not up for dishing out bull. Hope is a birthing pool, a longer than expected nap or a 5 minute shower by yourself; bull is pretending it won’t hurt, that everything goes to plan and you’re life will look like a Next sponsored day at a sunny nature reserve.
I’d much rather report on the crap moments – the really tough, yet incredibly common parental dross. Those are the junctures that’ll leave the uninitiated in a crying mess at the bottom of the shower, week 3 of postpartum with a screaming baby and boobs like hot-rocks; those are the days that will make even the dab hands feel like they’re the shittest parent on the planet and everyone else is doing a better job when your toddler refuses to eat a vegetable, you’re late to pick up the kids from school and you haven’t washed your hair in a week.
Currently living in a building site with no end in sight as far as functioning kitchens and bathrooms go; with Mr Only Girl missing in action (apparently away on work) and having to put the dog down; a teething, snotty toddler who at 18 months old still wakes in the night; and feeling like I continually bark orders at the older boys about homework, teeth brushing or getting in the frickin’ car – it might, at times seem a bit bleak – but it’s alright! In between those bigger things lie the little nuggets of happiness, little glitter soaked fortune cookies filled with smiles, giggles and bedtime cuddles.
The good moments will come, they’ll fill you with love, joy and euphoria on a level you could never be prepared for. Even the best blogger/editor/writer would struggle to describe the wonder that will take over your life when those moments hit – but you don’t need to be prepared for those. Find your G&T (other beverages are apparently available) drinking tribe and just enjoy!