parent opinion

"I can't remember the last time I was happy." I'm a mum, and I don't know who I am anymore.

I don’t know who I am anymore. 

My life consists of putting everyone else first. Their needs, their happiness. But who is putting my needs first or my happiness?

My days are just a routine of school runs and cleaning up around everyone. No one offers to help, I have to nag to get anything done, and in turn I become the dragon woman.

I don’t really talk to anyone. I never realised how lonely I was until recently. I never realised how much I wasn’t myself anymore until I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. 

And yet this is all too common as women. As mothers. We give every bit of who we are and what makes us happy in order to please others. We take the back seat until eventually we become unrecognisable, and then we get told we have changed.

We stare at our reflection trying to find just a small part of the person we once were. That’s the beauty of marriage and children: you unintentionally become selfless, sometimes so much so that you as a person become non-existent. 

I can’t remember the last time I was happy. I mean really happy. I love my family more than anything, but I’m not happy. Gosh, I can’t remember the last time I felt some sort of emotion other than sadness and stress. 

Maybe it’s because my needs are no longer met, and yet I feel bad for even just saying that - as if that’s just how it is meant to be. As if I’m not even a person - an individual or someone that matters. 

My kids love me, I know this for sure, but to them I am also the person who will bend over backwards for them until I’m so exhausted I collapse in the shower and cry.

I get blamed for everything - the missing shoe, cooking the wrong meal or forgetting to pack their readers. 

I’m constantly covered in acne from stress, on the verge of a meltdown and living on carbohydrates to fulfil an empty feeling I can’t seem to shake.

Our job never ends. We may not get paid for our job, but it’s 24/7. The emotional exhaustion is overwhelming, the repetitive, groundhog days are mentally draining. Arguing with tiny people who think they know better. Cooking meals that aren’t up to their satisfaction. Feeding plates of food to the dog because no one liked your cooking.

As mothers, we all read this and think it's just a part of motherhood. You choose to be one, you choose to lose yourself.

WRONG. Motherhood doesn’t mean we aren't individuals or that we need to give every ounce of ourselves to prove our love or capabilities. Sometimes we need to be selfish. Sometimes we need to throw in the towel and let someone else fold the laundry.

This post originally appeared on Instagram and has been expanded and republished with full permission. For more from Jessica, follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Instagram/Jessica Hood.


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