By GINGER GORMAN
I am a radio producer and presenter. I am a cook and textiles lover. I’m a talker, a reader and a writer. I am also a wife and a mother of two small children.
And the truth is, I struggle with mothering every single day.
In this last year or so I’ve read numerous articles about being childless. Some have been irreverent, others more serious. Even actress Jennifer Aniston weighed into the discussion, saying it’s “not fair” to put the pressure of childbearing on women.
The most gobsmacking part is what other women say to her:
”It’s a tragedy you never got around to having children. It’s the most wonderful thing a woman can do.”
“You don’t know love until you have a child.”
And my personal favourite. The lady who told Wendy she “didn’t feel like a real woman” until she became a mother.
I myself am not sure how one would identify if they are a “real” woman or not.
It also dismays me, and seems nonsensical, that anyone feels able to claim that their love is superior to the love another person may feel. How would they know?
And lastly, is having children really “the most wonderful thing a woman can do”?
Perhaps, on a good day, it is. But on a bad day it definitely isn’t.
No matter how madly I love my girls, it’s hard. I hate the piles of endless washing. The wee-soaked sheets. Scraping rock-hard cereal off the floor. Stacking and unstacking the dishwasher more than I thought possible. Constantly pondering whether my hard won career is stalling. Struggling to be patient against a deluge of nagging and tantrums. Never, ever getting to sleep through the night or finish a conversation with my husband. Never getting a moment alone.
Some women like Clare Danes and Gwyneth Paltrow do occasionally talk publicly about their personal mothering struggles. Mostly though, other women don’t tell you how much fun they aren’t having mothering their kids. In my experience, they won’t volunteer that information unless you do it first. Why don’t women talk about it? Is it because there are so many options, we are defensive about our choices? Is it because smart, capable women don’t want to admit we’re struggling? Or maybe because it’s frightening to confess that large swathes of the job that is oft-touted as the meaning of life, are actually boring and thankless and repetitive? And the big question: was this irreversible choice of mine actually the right one?