I do believe, fellow mamma's near and far, that we have been sold a lie.
We've been told that it's perfectly normal and expected that we parent, often solo, from the comfort of our home and neighbourhood day in and day out.
That the responsibility of caring for the many and varied needs of our young children day after day after day is purely ours to carry, and we should be able to do it with a clean house, washed hair and a smile.
That outings are fine, coffee dates with other mamma's are good, but then we must return to our nuclear homes, our four walls, and bare the mundane chores of dishes and dirty floors. The real, coalface, gritty work of motherhood is to be done within the comforts of your own home amidst the crying babies and endless cooking which we are to tackle on our own.
If someone had told me when I was expecting my first child that this is what motherhood entails, I would have probably packed my bags and headed to an African village. You know, the ones where the Great Grandmother lives next door to the Mother and the Grandmother and the Sister lives down the road and they're all in it together. The raising, caring and nurturing of a child is shared amongst the hearts and arms that live nearby and no-one is really ever alone.
I had a really rough time this week. Being 28 weeks pregnant, I'm not coping too well with this insane heat. The kids and I have been bunkered down inside the house, in the only room that is air-conditioned, slowly going crazy. I've been emotional (damn hormones), hot, tired, cranky, sore and surrounded by my (cherished) four monster children who are (rightfully) bored out of their brains being stuck inside. I'm trying to enjoy these holidays but truthfully I'm finding it hard being hot and pregnant with four kids to keep entertained. I know. Woe is me. And of course I'm feeling guilty because I'm not enjoying this time with my children.
What this has meant though, and I'm not sure about you, but there are so many days that I sit on my couch and feel like I'm the only one failing at this motherhood gig. I cry from exhaustion, worry, fear and the sheer weight that love for a child places on your heart and I feel like I am the only one struggling. Every other mamma I know is great at Motherhood and rarely has a bad day. Every other mamma I know can parent solo from their home and succeed at it. Why do I find it so hard?
At the end of this hard week I met up with one of my besties for a long-overdue coffee. The kids were climbing all over me, there were drinks getting spilt left, right and centre but amidst it all we both shared that we are struggling. Each in our own way and with our own burdens, but both struggling.
I see the pain in her eyes and I'm sure she hears the fustration and weariness in my voice and it's in this moment that I suddenly don't feel so alone or inept at motherhood anymore.
In that moment I realise that we all struggle with this singular mode of parenting. Each to there own. Do your own thing. I'll wash my dishes and you wash your's.
Like me, my friend had days of not being able to get off the couch. Of not really giving a toss if the bins got emptied or the beds got made. Of barely being able to summon the strength to cook dinner and kiss tired, relentless children into their beds and off to sleep.
We spoke briefly about this lie we've been sold. For some reason the belief that we should be able to function as balanced, happy, healthy mothers as we alone carry the household, hug the children, wash the clothes, pay the bills, soak the stains and boil the potatoes is one that we believe all too quickly.
We both agreed it's a big crock.
I'm a big believer that mothers are mothered by other mothers. I know. Read that three times whilst tippy. But it goes like this; we mother our children. We pour out our love, care, time, energy and hugs into the hearts of our young'uns. So who do we go to to receive love, care, time, energy and hugs? Other mothers. I know we have husbands or partners or at least a fella that drops in now and then, but there is nothing like receiving love, companionship and care from another weary mother plodding her way through each day just like you. Only she can understand the fustration of a newly mopped floor now covered in poop. Or dirty dishes left on the bench that no-one will put in the blasted sink which is right there people.
So I've decided to say phooey to the pressure I put on myself to have it all together, all of the time.
I really don't believe that we were designed or destined to walk the path of motherhood alone. I really don't want to stay alone with my children inside my home. I want to be part of something bigger so that when the cordial gets spilt on the floor I don't cry because there are a different set of hands to help clean it up.
I've also decided that when I'm struggling, alone at home and beginning to feel like I'm the only one, I'm gonna pick up that phone real quick and call a friend. I'm gonna say 'Hi I'm having a shit day, how about you? Wanna talk?'
Because there is no lie more damaging than the one that tells us we are alone in this parenthood journey. We are not meant to be able to parent alone, day after day, so when it's hard? I'm gonna give myself a break and remember that fact. I'm going to be real with myself and my friends.
If it's bad I'm gonna say it's bad and not try and hide the fact that it's bad.
So this week I'm eternally, thoroughly, wholeheartedly, completely grateful for Being Real. For my friend who was brave and shared her pain and for her listening heart that heard my weariness. I'm grateful for the other mamma's in my life who love me, inspire me, hug me, lift me up and laugh with me over the million funny things our kids do. I'm grateful that I have friends that I can be real with.
Oh and what do ya' reckon mamma's? Shall we kick this lie in the pa-tootie? Let's shout at those freak'n ads on the TV that show the smiling, perfectly groomed mother standing in her clean home with her placid, well-mannered children in the background as she holds her new bottle of kitchen bench spray which has just totally changed her life.
Linking up with Maxabella over at Kidspot
for the 52 Weeks of Grateful Project.