The Deep and Random Struggles of Motherhood
Coming from a background of working in music and always being around it or being immersed in it, just the other day – in a rare 30 minutes I got to myself with my earphones in with music on whilst beginning a new mandala drawing – I was reminded just how much I bloody miss it!
Being the mother of a 4 and a 1-year-old, I don’t ever really get the time to sit and just be with music anymore. For me, the deep love I have for music goes back to when I was a small child, and growing up I always found inspiration for my creative writing and art in music. I guess I even found a friend in music that lifted me up when I needed it or allowed me to just be with no judgement – and I suddenly just realised, how much I really miss that friend.
Anyway, thinking about music and other random things about my life pre-motherhood that I really miss and those aspects of motherhood that I struggle with now, I decided to take to social media to ask my friends, followers and an online blogging community that I am a part of to share any random struggles that they have or have had in their own journeys. I was overwhelmed by the response – especially because with some of the ladies that got in touch, I could feel the pain through their words as they shared experiences that were not just random, but actually really deep.
Sharing our individual struggles, I believe, would help to make this journey so much easier and definitely less lonely. And no, talking about your struggles does not mean that you’re not grateful for the blessings that are your children – it just means, like anything else, the journey comes with its own set of challenges and there is no shame to be felt in admitting them and speaking honestly and openly about them.
So today I share with you some of the responses I had from other mummies out there that highlight just how much we do struggle in one way or another, whether that is just being able to wash your hair without rushing, right through to dealing with the effects of post-natal depression. To all the mums reading this, I hope this helps you to realise that you are not alone and that we are all struggling in one way or another… and don’t forget: you got this.
Christy Bruckner – “I love playing video games, but playing video games with kids around is pretty tough. If they catch you playing a game, they always want the controller!”
Jennie, USA – “I think that what I struggle most with is being a mom to a child with a disability. When Evan was diagnosed with autism, I went through a whole spectrum of emotions. Every day brings new challenges. I had to accept that he may never have a “normal” life. I am always wondering about his future; what it will bring. I question, often, if I’m doing the best that I can for him and I do have days where I will break down and cry and feel like a failure, that someone else could have given him more. If I were approached and told there were a cure for autism and that he could be “cured”, a part of me would selfishly want to decline. My son is my son and I love every little thing about him. I would be afraid he wouldn’t be HIM anymore. Challenges and all. Mom-shaming is also a thing. I have been judged by strangers out in public if he gets over stimulated and has a meltdown. We have to prepare him for change. He’s very schedule orientated. Then feeling like I’m not giving my other children enough attention because he requires so much, is hard. Mom guilt is HUGE there.”
Victoria Sully – “Having a shower in privacy! I love showers to be a moment of self-care as well as a necessity, but now my young kids are in and out, arguing, using the loo and leaving the door wide open on me! I’m dying to get a second toilet in our home so I can have some privacy in the shower at least!”
Tahera, UK – “Struggling with loss of friends and lack of social life. I’ve come into my 10th year of being a mother this month and I’ve seen my closest friends from school and college distance themselves. Yes it’s partly on my part as I have bigger responsibilities, however I never realised I would become such a loner without them.”
Lisa Cole – “I think I went about 5 years without being able to poo in private.”
Ayesha, UK – “What I find hard about being a full-time mum is the loneliness even though I’m never alone. It’s craving wanting attention and adult conversation. Instead you have this little human that follows you around, moaning! The other thing is not feeling important anymore. Almost like, as soon as you become a mother, that’s it, you’re not a priority anymore. You’re no longer yourself. If you visit people, they are only interested in your child. Only one person that visited me after the birth of my baby, who wasn’t family, asked how I was. I was a fucking mess with severe birth trauma – and only that one person asked how I was.”
Cheryl Dodd – “I miss being able to sit and watch a TV programme without having to pause it several times to answer questions, wipe noses, help with homework. I actually can’t remember the last time I fully watched a programme start to finish without interruptions.”
Vicky Hall-Newman – “I would love to sit with a bottle of wine and just relax but every time my 8 year old spots me and wine she tells me off for drinking. I am going to start drinking from a mug I think and locking myself in the bathroom with the bottle. I call her the wine police.”
Sarah, UK – “All I remember before having my baby was that all I knew was, there was a baby inside and it was going to somehow make its way out. How, why, where or when, I had no idea, but from working with the O&G department I knew how bad it could get. I tried to keep myself cool, but what overwhelmed me more was I do not know how I got so pregnant so quickly, and how I was going to manage ahead. I genuinely thought it would be an easy ride, you just push the baby out, have a shower, throw them on your chest, and its done… right? My labour was a dream compared to those of others, my stay in hospital was minor. I thank God daily that there were no problems with my son or me. But I wanted to breastfeed, there was nothing around it. My nipples were cracked sore, and I just wanted to go home for some home comfort. It was the Easter bank holiday weekend, so all the sister in laws and their families were over. I was hoping the vast array of experienced mothers would guide me. But they saw me taking my top off to breastfeed, and suggested I should have a more modest way of feeding. I cried during a feed, and they wanted me to switch to formula. Not sure if it was my emotions here, but everyone could settle my baby apart from me. What the hell did I do to myself? Why did I bother having my baby? Why couldn’t I manage this. I felt like I was failing after failing… I looked awful, I felt awful, and I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to manage this like the 1000 mums I follow on Instagram. Was I doing something so bad? No. I just had built in me stupidly unrealistic expectations of motherhood – the first month is a unique sort of struggle, clouded by (particularly as a first time mum) with no self confidence, a deep swimming pool with everyone pushing you to the centre despite telling them you can’t swim. All I needed was someone to tell me, I was doing a good job. My baby was healthy, putting on weight, developing and growing normally. And I was helping him do that. It took for my husband at around 6 weeks during a huge nervous breakdown telling me this that resurrected my self-confidence in my ability to be a mum. I wish people were kinder and less judgemental, I wish everyone had the patience I now have for fellow mums. I wish everyone could show their mothers the respect they deserve, purely from what I’ve learnt by being one. How my mum managed to raise 3 kids in succession alone without family support, I don’t know, but if she can do it so can we. I now love being a mother, it is full of drama and sacrifices, but I now happily accept that I have traded the cuddles and new adventures for my previous self sufficient and self-directed life as an independent professional. One day I am sure I will continue that in full fledge, but I won’t get this time again.”
Katie Skelton – “I’d say mine is not being able to take my time and “faff” like I used to in the morning when getting ready. I’ve got the shower, makeup, dressed, dry hair routine down to a 26 minute naptime now which I’m obviously pretty proud of but sometimes it would be really nice to just go slowly.”
Sian – Manchester,UK – “Being lonely but never being alone. Only having a baby to talk to for 80% of the day, and then when your partner comes home the only thing you actually have to tell them is how many poos baby has had or how many ounces of a bottle they have drank. And you realise there’s very little to actually contribute to the conversation.”
Nadia Martine Eian Koch – “I’m quite a sociable person but have always needed time alone to recharge my batteries, since having my son 3 years ago that hasn’t happened much and it’s been a big adjustment.”
Tilly Button – “I haven’t been able to wash my hair properly since having my son. 12 weeks ago.”
Beth Law – “Never being able to eat my own meal/snack without the kids swarming and asking for some … MOMMY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD! ”
Kerri Whitehouse – “I used to bake or crochet to calm my self on normal stressful days now I have so many stressful days and a 9 month old that I can’t de-stress doing those things – it’s impossible.”
Nusrat – Bolton, UK – “The constant guilt! Guilt of being too disciplined, guilt of over indulging them, guilt of going to work, guilt of wrapping them in cotton wool, guilt of over burdening with education, guilt of not educating enough…. It never..bloody..stops!”
Arpita – India – “I just assumed they’d eat all the healthy foods I eat but it doesn’t always work that way!”
Vanessa Holburn – “I miss trying new recipes – I’m so caught up in trying to prepare a healthy meal the kids will want to eat within a set time frame (my girls both have swim squad in the evenings so there’s a window to get food down them post-school!) – that I can’t really dedicate loads of time to trying new ingredients and new dishes. Even if I do try something newish – I have to make sure that I’m cooking something that will be definitely eaten alongside it.”
Hayley Jones – “Being upstairs or downstairs by myself. Even if I think I’ll just pop up and sort something whilst he’s happily playing in the lounge, a minute passes and I’m met with shouts from the bottom stair gate. Anyone would think I’d abandoned him for life judging by the bar rattling, hands reaching through and shouting! And for that matter, I miss not having stair gates – I spend my life undoing and redoing them!!”
Jess, UK – “To me it was down to the fact that we had 4 years of fertility treatment to have B so we wanted it to be “perfect” so I wanted to breastfeed etc. There was no other option for me until it started – I couldn’t keep my supply up because I was tired and couldn’t eat, so she went on to bottles. That there was my first “ failure” as a new mummy. But what was worse was that we couldn’t feed her as such as all the formula she threw back up so was always hungry, so hardly slept or played and clung to me! Finally at 4 months, she got prescribed milk and it helped loads and she improved a lot. I think we wanted to be parents so much and it’s not what we expected. I guess we felt like we failed her in so many ways in her first year! I have since learnt differently after having our second.”
Hannah Randall – “It sounds silly but I used to love having a bath, with no time constraints, watching my favourite vlogs on YouTube with a hair mask in. I’ve had precisely three baths in the past 11 months (I do shower though!) all of which have ended quite abruptly.”
Clare Hopkins – “I miss being able to pop to the shops. It sounds like such a simple thing, I totally took it for granted. Now it’s all checklists and head-counts before I can leave the house.”
Gemma Hall – “I’m too sleep deprived to go to gigs anymore! I used to be able to stay awake until 2am when we’d get back on the train (and get up for work the next day), now I’m falling asleep by 9pm!”
Anon, UK – “Having an internal meltdown when toddlers have the impossible tantrum where literally nothing pleases them, no matter what you try – and you just have meltdown inside and try to ignore it. Terrible two’s are called that for a reason! Nothing could ever prepare you!”
Lauren Schaefer – I can’t tell you the amount of times my cup of tea has gone cold, so I pop it in the microwave, forget about it and come back a few mins later to a tea explosion!
Aliyah, UK – “Too many to state… that heavy chested feeling of losing every battle with my four year old son… he never listens and eventually gets his way and then I have people telling me that he has me wrapped around his finger. It’s so frustrating, I literally want to cry every single day…”
Amy Fell – “Colouring in! My kids always want to colour my sheet or use my special pencils. I’m like nooooo. So I end up just not colouring.”
Nina Spencer – “Having twins. Mine is not being able to take them swimming alone. I have two sets of twins and this is one of the things that I struggled with the first time and when I found out it was two again I was so upset that again I wouldn’t be able to take them.”
Nadia, Pakistan – “My son is super active, always ready to play. Even sometimes he sleeps only 10-15 minutes and again starts playing. Sometimes he wakes up at 3am just to play and I can’t sleep because he needs my company too. I miss my sleep time but when he put a cute smile on his lips, I forget all the pain from which I suffer because of no proper sleeping time.”
Saskia Cameron – “I miss just being able to do the small things, without worrying about how it will affect my baby. Like, going to the toilet without worrying about waking her up, going into a shop without worrying whether or not the pram will fit through the doors, or choosing what to wear without worrying about how easy it will be to breastfeed in that. You don’t realise how every little aspect of your life is impacted, even in a relatively minor way, until you have a child. It takes some getting used to!”
Kate Mai-Lyn – “Being able to wear my hair down! Unfortunately I don’t pull off a mum bun very well – I look like a potato with ears – but wearing my hair down is just not an option as both my babies love nothing more than pulling it out of my scalp or putting it in their mouths. So potato face it is.”
Natalie Gardner – “I struggle with that constant ‘need a break’ train of thought…then I go for a dinner with friends and all I do is talk about them as I miss them so much!”
Clare Robinson – “When my children were babies it was not being able to wear a necklace or earrings. Because they got grabbed and yanked! My oldest will be 19 in April and I still wear studs and rarely wear a necklace!”
Bhawna Saini – “It might sound a bit silly, but since motherhood I miss my impromptu love life with my husband. Before my daughter was born, my husband and I got intimate whenever we were in the mood wherever we were in the mood. And now, most of the times we are planning the ‘event.’ We are waiting for our daughter to fall asleep, then making sure she is sound asleep, then locking our bedroom door and even then getting startled every time there is a noise thinking if our daughter is standing right outside the room. It has really taken the fun out.”
Nicole Daniella Addy – “Feeling sexy – having time to wash my hair, moisturise, shave and put on make up is a luxury now! Whilst I still feel beautiful with the way I am after carrying my child, I miss feeling feminine and “dolled up” from time to time!”
Nikki Dempster – “Going to the loo in public, I have a 2 year old and 9 month old and unless it’s babychange with a toilet it’s hard to find a toilet to fit the pushchair in. When I do find a toilet we can fit in my 2 year old encourages me in her shouting voice to “squash a poopoo out mama” even when I’m weeing!”
Kathryn Redmond – “Wearing white jeans!”
Becky Dickerson – “Being able to walk at a normal pace (and power walking too). I am always accompanied by children that walk sooooo slllllooooowwwwllllyyyy or want to stop every 30 seconds to look at something.”
Stephie Simpson – “I just want to spend time reading but with two under 5 even when at nursery I don’t feel like I have any free time to do it as I get really absorbed!”
Hannah Meadows – “Having a clean and tidy house! Just can’t maintain the same standards as I did pre-children, and I was (am) a bit of a neat freak, so it still stresses me out a bit.”
And somehow, despite all of that, we still keep going. We are BLOODY INCREDIBLE and honestly, I am so proud of each and every one of you.
I hope this post helps whoever reads it. If you relate to any of the comments shared or would like to add anything of your own, please don’t forget to comment below!