Note to my fellow mamas
At daycare drop off yesterday, one of the other mums and I were joking about how you need a holiday after the holidays and I said, ‘But only for mums – only mums get to go on this holiday.’
Because the truth is, YOU NEVER GET A HOLIDAY. While your kids are with you, you are on duty, making sure they don’t choke/drown/break anything (including themselves). You’re trying to shoehorn vegetables into them when their preferred diet is Cheeseburgers and icy poles. You’re trying to interest them in David Attenborough when they would rather be watching some yell-y American teenager talk about his Nerf Gun collection on YouTube.
If it was a job, I would not be qualified.
Why? Because I am not Mother f*cking Teresa.
Because mums don’t get paid – or even thanked – for the huge amount of sh*t we have to do, put up with, pay for, remember and wipe off tiny little butts.
I am completely besotted by my kid but I still think that being a mum is one of the hardest jobs on the planet.
If you’re anything like me, you probably think you’re an average parent on a good day.
But here’s what I would like to say: average is fine.
Because no-one can be a solid A+ every day, every minute, every hour.
And that’s what motherhood is. It’s ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (if you’re lucky).
Kids can be really challenging. They can also be the most hilarious, adorable, magical little creatures.
And it’s easy to enjoy that when you’ve had a decent night’s sleep. But here’s the thing: you probably haven’t had a good night’s sleep in quite some time if your kid is under five.
So you spend your life in a fog of caffeine, anxiety, guilt and wine after 5pm because you need to survive this epic parenthood marathon somehow.
The media is full of happy families standing in sun-dappled paddocks wearing linen and floppy straw hats.
But this is NOTHING like real life. Real parenthood is chasing a toddler up the hallway trying to get them to put on pants. Getting kicked repeatedly in the head while you’re clinging to the side of your now King-sized bed that still doesn’t have room for you. It’s wearing K-Mart t-shirts and shorts for days because someone is going to put mud, yoghurt or Texta on you (and the leather couch, that used to be nice but now looks like it belongs under a bridge, under a homeless person).
So when the guilt sets in and you think you’re a crappy mother because you just took your kid to Maccas/let them watch eight straight hours of TV/your kid just said f*ck, let me say one thing: you’re doing fine.
As my friend who works in child protection said, the main things are this: Are your child’s needs being met? Do they have shelter, food, clean water, access to healthcare, safety in the home and community, and access to educational opportunities? Do you love them and comfort them? Do you protect them and show them patience and kindness (when inside you might be ready to run out of the house screaming, never to return)?
If you can honestly say that you are meeting your child’s needs and doing your best most of the time, I applaud you.
You are the glue that holds society together. You deserve an Order of Australia and a holiday where no-one says ‘Mum’ ‘Muuuuum’ ‘MUUUUUUUUUUUUUM’ for at least one whole day.