When strangers and family see my child, they are absolutely besotted with him.
He is as cute as a button, his laughs are heaven sent. He is a happy baby who smells great (when his nappy isn’t full). His emotions are so pure.
One minute he’s squealing with delight, the next you would think someone was sawing his leg off. Baby’s emotions change within seconds. He’s my world and if anything happened to him I would be beside myself.
When I made the decision to be a mother I didn’t really understand the weight of that decision. How much of an impact it would have on me, physically, emotionally and mentally. How much you worry about them and how that never stops, how sleep deprived you are, how it takes a long time to feel like yourself again.
The trouble with motherhood is that there are two expectations placed on women, which are both unfair and inaccurate. The first is that we should be so grateful and that anything less than that is met with criticism, that babies are a blessing. While that is true, they are certainly a blessing, on the other side, they are also a lot of work. A lot of ongoing, relentless work that has no pay cheque. When you are ill you can ring into your job and tell your boss that you are sick. With a baby? No such luck.
When it comes to motherhood, not all stories end in happiness. Some women regret it altogether. We discuss, on Mamamia Out Loud.
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Motherhood is a job that’s ongoing and does not have a definite end date.
The second expectation that is placed on mothers, is that once you become a mother that is it. You are done. There is no YOU anymore. All your aspirations, all the things that made you a person before you had this bundle of joy cease to exist, and if you are ambitious that’s frowned upon because you’re not pulling your weight as a mother.
Another problem with being a mother is the ‘perfectionism’ expectation. You will always feel like you are never doing enough for your child. Have I read to him enough? Am I boring him? Am I emotionally damaging him? The reality is there is no such thing as a perfect parent, yet the pressures on being a mother (not a father) are endless. Fathers can do their job/neglect the child 90 per cent of the day but when a mother does the same thing, they are viewed in a more harsh light. I’m not saying there aren’t fathers out there who do more than their share and stay at home. I think that’s brilliant to hear. But the expectations on the mother are much harsher.
The freedom that I once had to pursue goals, leave the house is no longer there. Being a mother can be quite isolating. While the rest of the world appears to be able to move on and go and seek higher things, as a mother you are on ‘pause’. The song that comes to mind is ‘Folsom Prison’ by Johnny Cash.
‘I’m stuck in Folsom Prison… and time keeps dragging on… those people keep moving… and that’s what tortures me.’
Friends get promoted. Family members get promoted. If you’re a mum, there’s no promotion. Only a cranky boss (with very cute moments).
In a nutshell, my career got disrupted, my body destroyed, my mental health is diminishing, and I’m sleep deprived, but these things are rarely discussed. We are supposed to be blessed as mothers. And we are. But it came with a price.
I believe that anything worth doing in life, comes with a price. But I’m not going to lie, I do have moments where I question why I wanted to be a mother in the first place.