The truth about being a mother

The truth about being a mother

The truth is . . .  the truth is . . .  well, the truth is it sucks being a mother much of the time.
You spend a lot of time bemoaning the drudge, the hardships, the lack of SLEEP.
So yeah, the truth about being a mother is it kinda sucks.
Would you change it? Well maybe little bits. Maybe the bit where you lose so much sleep you fear your eye bags will never ever reduce. Or the bit where you keep getting calls from school with the opening ‘we need to discuss some behaviour issues’. Or the bit where you sat on the loo and sobbed because your beautiful baby keeps hitting you and now they’ve moved onto the biting stage.

OK, so it doesn’t SUCK as such, it’s just tough and quite frankly we all want a bit of recognition and, you know, maybe a medal or two . . . Because we’re all just doing the best we can. And sometimes it feels like an endless, backbreaking uphill trudge.
I take heart in what novelist Jill Churchill said: “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

Still. Those home truths for anyone who needs them:

The Shower
I no longer have a shower to relax and unwind.
Gone are the days of fancy body washes and intensive hair conditioners that need to be left in for 10 minutes.
These days a shower now serves a basic clean. Hair and body. Shave under the arms if I’ve got time. Both arms if I’m lucky. AND on top of that, I double up with cleaning the actual shower. Because it saves time and you may as well kill two birds with one stone.
I sometimes use a nice body scrub to zing myself awake but to be honest, the cleaning it requires to get the stuff off the shower doors is arduous so I have to REALLY need zinging awake.

The Toilet
Speaking of the bathroom you can kiss goodbye to ever going to the toilet on your own again. That private time is no longer yours to own. You will not pee alone again for a Very Long Time.
Somewhere in their DNA kids believe that it’s OK to have a conversation with you while you’re on the loo. If you shut the door, they will simply stroll in. “Err, hello? I’m on the loo” doesn’t work. If you lock it they will whine at you from the other side of the door.
The trick is to go to the loo with the door slightly ajar and not turn the light on. That one worked for me for months. My kids have sussed me out now, but I’m gifting this one to you.

The Supermarket
Ever since having children, a trip to the supermarket is a treat. It’s my ‘me’ time.
The bloody supermarket!
Sometimes the husband offers to come along or, heaven forbid, do the shopping for me! NO, that’s the only bit of sanity I get. My headspace. Where I can make decisions by myself and not by committee.

Clothes Shopping
I can spend hours in town and not come home with a single solitary stitch for me. Because when we’re in a shop all I get is sighs and arm folding and exaggerated eye rolling. Before that it was a toddler vomiting in the underwear aisle or grabbing at clothes and pulling them off the hangers for sport. Strips all the joy out of it.
If I go out shopping for me, on my own, with actually cash to spend, I still come back with bagfuls of stuff for them. Because, you know, mothers.

Being Shouted At
Not in a mean way but get used to everyone yelling ‘MUM!’ from some room in the house – usually the furthest one from where you currently are.

All The Guilt
I feel guilty about working and not being around to invite their friends back for tea after school.
I feel guilty about spending too much time with one of them.
I feel guilty about not spending enough time with each of them.
I feel guilty for not feeding them the right food, for not teaching them the right manners, for not being able to afford everything, for not being around, for being around too much and not giving them their independence, for nagging, for not nagging enough.
You get the picture?

They will invade your home. You will spend literally hours of your life combing through hair. Theirs, your own, your husband’s. Get used to it.

It’s Bloody Tough
It’s much much harder than you ever think it’s going to be. Times 100.
The baby years are tough; all that teething and crying and nappy changing and chronic lack of sleep and fretting over reaching their milestones.
The toddler years are basically a fug of coping with tantrums, a mobile child who wants to touch/lick/eat everything and the hell that is potty training.
The school years are a nightmare of homework, friendship issues, more tantrums and burgeoning independence.
But let me tell you, those were the easy years. The teenage years you are not prepared for.
Basically you need to know that you will feel dizzy for years and years with the sheer chaos of your life.

One Day You Will Have To Let Go
That child you have spent all that time worrying about, loving, nagging, hugging, nurturing, protecting will say these words “can I go on the train to town with my mate? On our own?”
You know it’s the right thing to do and that they will love you all the more for it and it will help with their independence, their self esteem and their self confidence.
But TOWN. On their OWN.
You will sit at home and fret the whole time. Just suck it up.

You Will Never Ever Be The Same Again
Total, all-encompassing, heart swelling, unconditional love does that to you.

truth about being a mother

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14 Responses to The truth about being a mother

  1. Expat Mum says:

    And then they leave. Wah! I was actually grieving, and now run a tongue-in-cheek Facebook group started by Chris Mosler, called something like Uni Parents Support Group – check it out. And then the problems get really big! We’re currently dealing with a flat that we seem to find ourselves the sole leaseholders for, and no one else in it but my college kid? How the eff did that happen? (Husband taking blame as – didn’t read the small print.)
    Or there was that time when other child, studying in Brussels, left wallet and everything in a cab. No access to money at all. Had to wire money at 30% charge! Thank god passport wasn’t included. And so many missed flights it kinda gets boring to list them!
    Oh yes, – bigger kids, bigger problems.
    You’re welcome!

  2. Lovely post, Tara.
    So true about the loo,shower, supermarket and clothes shopping (I find myself visiting the kids’ section of H&M more and more) – haven’t quite reached teen years yet although we’re on the cusp, hoping it’s not going to be too rocky! Love to you and yours.

  3. Susan Mann says:

    Love love love this post. That is so true. And now I’m using the light off in the toilet thing, genius. I am not too far off the teen stage. xx

  4. All so very true! Parenting doesn’t get easier, it just changes. A few months ago, my 13yo son caught a bus to another town (not even the next town) to meet a friend. It went fine, but my nerves were totally frazzled. I actually told him he couldn’t do it again this half-term as I can’t take the stress!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John BoyneMy Profile

  5. Lulu says:

    I’m right at the beginning of all this, as I only have a three month old, but already I clean the bathroom when I go in for a shower, bath or to the loo. It’s good to know I’m not the only one! It’s funny how the men don’t do that though, isn’t it?


  6. At least these days you kids have mobile phones. Do you worry more than you should? In my day we went off for 6 or 8 hrs at a time and had no way of contacting home. Time my kids got to the stage of wandering I supplied them with a BT chargecard that only let them phone home and they had to ring the phone twice when they got to where they were going. And another 2 rings to let me know they were n their way home. And only connect the then relatively expensive call if they had an issue.
    Sadly they do grow up and leave home and you miss the days you are fretting about.
    Elaine Livingstone recently posted…Project 365 week 8My Profile

  7. I find that having 4 ageing from 11-6 months is crossing over various different challenges- school aged homework, club taxi service,toddler tantrums and baby sleep deprivation! All caused by my own mini army that we decided to produce! Wouldn’t have it aby other way though. Related to this article a lot 😊

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