There are two words to describe motherhood... really hard, and most of that is due to the pure fact that many of us tough it out because we don't know how to ask for help. How many times have you turned down help or an offer to watch the kids while you take a break? How many times have you said yes? We started as young teenagers being insecure or trying to fit in and find our place in the world. Nothing really changes when you become a mother, we just graduate into the more mature version of those kinds of insecurities.
I'm fine. I have it under control. I'm managing well. I'm doing good. These are common responses given by mums who under the surface are actually bursting with something completely different. No I'm not. I'm about to lose it. I can't do it anymore. I'm not coping, I'm such a failure. I don't deserve my life. I'm so exhausted. I hate my body. I wish I was better. I just want some 'me' time. I could probably fill this entire article up with responses like this and just the ones that I have felt since becoming a mum.
Being a mum is truly the most rewarding opportunity in the world but it comes with some heavy burdens. Worry, sleep deprivation, stress, hips, exhaustion, grief, stretch marks, loneliness, anxiety, and even boredom. A load like this makes it difficult for anyone to really express how their feeling. Why? Seems hard to understand that when a person can carry these feelings they wouldn't want to seek help to let go of the weight of it. But the answer is the fact that they think no one wants to hear about it. Everyone else is so busy with their own journey. Every mum is going through this so why sound like a whiner? This is my job so I am supposed to do this on my own. Everyone will think I'm a failure and not fit to be a mum. Everyone will think I am weak. They will go and tell others who will judge me the same.
So let me reassure you if you feel this way and store it under a beautiful made up smile. Every mum does feel like this whether at times or all the time so that's exactly why we should be telling each other when we aren't ok. I spent years holding on to the grief of my dad. I pushed it down with busy days and lots of smiles. No one I knew had been through that until a few years later when I met another mum just before she lost her dad. No only could I help her carry her sadness and be there for her but she did the same for me and it changed a huge part of me. Just to have someone say I know exactly what you mean, and I am talking about the REAL people that say that and mean it. Friends trying to relate with stories of their grandparents or pets passing away made me withdraw even more. I am sure their sympathy was genuine but their support and love was what was needed. When meeting someone who cried when you cried and talked about their feelings that you had as well, started to make me, ok!
This week has been one of those where I have been counting down to the end, desperate for a re start. Father's Day was taken over by a vomiting bug, which then for Jack my oldest turned into a severe case of croup that had us needing to take him to the hospital. With Cam an hour bus ride away and two kids with no family to leave them with, I rang a friend. Me, the mum who never asks for help because I am the helper to my friends became desperate and my son was more important than my pride. With the sound of her voice I burst into tears and she said, I will be there in 5 minutes. I arrive back home to fed and bathed kids, dishes washed and a hug. See sometimes who don't have to say anything because a tear, the shakiness in your voice, the tangles in your hair, the mascara smudged up the side of your face is enough to tell a friend I'm not ok. Even a perfectly put together outfit and a face covered in makeup can sometimes not hide the anxiety in your eyes.
So if you look like that and no one notices don't take it for them not caring. Chances are they could look like that too or too afraid to ask you incase you withdraw from them. Speak up and tell your friend or family member. Tell one person or tell them all, just take the burden off your shoulders and let your friends help you bear it.
If you have mums in your world that look like that, then ask them. Don't be afraid of offending them or worry they will push you away. If they do, then keep loving and supporting them they will open up eventually. We don't give up being a mum to our kids so don't give up being a friend.
A friend posted a quote on her Instagram site not long ago. It said Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Just reading that on that day brought tears running down my face because one simple sentence couldn't speak more truth. Don't assume that just because someone isn't posting their hardships on social media, they don't have anything going on in their own life. People express their struggles in all different ways and some not at all. So days like today are to show everyone that we can ask and we can tell. Ask the quiet ones that you see as the perfect type of mother that never complains and always look so organised and together with their life. Ask the ones that post daily about how they feel because maybe they are searching for help and asking behind pictures and quotes.
And when someone says they aren't ok.... start listening xx
You are never alone in this motherhood journey and if you feel like you can't talk to your friends or family members then please seek help through the R U OK? website www.ruok.org.au
Alternatively email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below, on my Instagram Post or Facebook page to seek help from others. We are all in this mum thing together so lets be each other's biggest and best fans!
©The Realistic Mum
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If you love children’s books then I have written a lovely little rhyming book on clouds changing into different shapes that you can find on Amazon and iTunes. Look for the title Look At The Clouds, What Can You See? It's only $2.99 aud!