Do you sometimes feel like the pressure to be the perfect Mum is too much?
There are so many emotions you feel when becoming a parent for the first time. Joy, happiness, sense of achievement, overwhelm, fear… Fear of hurting them, fear of making the wrong choices, fear of judgement. A lot of the time, you can feel all of these things all at once.
I loved becoming a Mum for the first time. When Jack was born I had never experienced LOVE like this before. I did not know you could love something you barely knew SOOO MUCH! And because I loved him so much, the overwhelm and fear soon stepped in, because I didn’t want to screw this up. I wanted to make sure that I did everything I possibly could to keep my little man safe, and this, I had no idea how to do. For the first time I was out of my comfort zone. Really out of my comfort zone. Because nothing I had mattered to me as much as this before. The stakes were so high, and the pressure I put myself under to be the perfect Mum was enormous!
I look back now and my expectations on what motherhood was going to be for me was unrealistic. From the fulfilment I thought motherhood alone was going to give me, to what I thought my day to day life was going to look like, both of these things did not match the vision I had in my head.
I have generally felt overwhelmed by being a stay at home mum, and never felt as fulfilled as I thought I would be. And until recently, I have always felt ashamed of both of these things. I guess I imagined it to be… more.
Now this does not mean that I don’t love my kids more than life itself, but it has just been so much harder than I ever expected it to be. Harder than anything I have ever done before.
The demand is relentless. Never Ending. Exhausting. You are NEVER off the clock. And you never ever know if you are doing a good job. There are no 360 reviews or appraisals. I mean I know when I am doing a bad job. Often the relentless tantrums, nagging, refusal to eat dinner has got the better of me and I know I could have dealt with it all better. But there are not many days where I come away feeling like I aced it! Because most days I don’t get my never ending list of jobs done. Or I don’t spend as much quality time with the kids as I would have liked. The house is always a mess despite the constant cleaning and tidying. And most days I see all of these things as failings.
Not long ago things came to a head because I just couldn’t cope anymore. Because I felt like it was all too much. Feeling like a bad Mum as I wasn’t spending as much time with the kids as I’d like. Feeling like a failure of a house keeper because I could never keep on top of the housework. And feeling like a non existing wife because most nights I’d collapse in a heap and pass out because I had nothing left in the tank. Nothing left to give. I was tired and exhausted and I felt like I needed to escape the 4 walls of my house because they were closing in on me. I felt like I needed to SCREAM!!
This moment was a big AHA moment for me. I hated the person I had become. She made me sad. She was grumpy all of the time. Tolerance gone! Self esteem MIA. Identity LOST!
While trying to become everything to everyone else I had become NOTHING to myself. And I was miserable.
So my gorgeous husband pulled my tearful sorry ass out of bed, poured me a big glass of wine and said “Let’s make a plan to change what’s not working for you”.
Immediately I felt the weight life from my shoulders. I had options? For some reason I had put all of this pressure on myself to do EVERYTHING, and all of it perfectly. Trying to be the perfect Mum, wife, housekeeper. And it felt like once I made my decision to do all of these things, I had to keep going until I succeeded.
The perfectionist in me sabotaged what I thought was a good job and a bad job. I was never going to be good all ALL of those things ALL at once. It’s hard enough to be good at those things individually!!!
So I had to make a deal with myself. STOP being a perfectionist. If I am doing something, do it well. Be ALL IN for that moment. If I am with the kids, be with the kids. Don’t worry about the house work, put my phone away, and enjoy the moment! And when I am being a house wife, be a kick ass house wife. But to stop trying to be the best at all ALL things ALL of the time. That’s impossible to do!
And if I am going to be there for everyone else. I need to put time aside for myself. No one can be great when their cup is almost empty. Being a Mum you will generally still ALWAYS still put everyone else’s needs before your own, but if your not in a great space, you’ll resent them for it, even if it is your choice to do so. So making sure I put time aside for ME makes sure that I not only have the energy to give everything to my family, but that I don’t begrudge them for it.
I’ve still got a long way to go before I find the new ME though. Having kids demands change. Change in your priorities, change in your time, change in your freedom. But I don’t want being a Mum to to be ALL I am. Or at least all I FEEL I am. I need to find who I am outside my family. Cause let’s face it they are not going to need me like this forever. And I am sure, if they see I am proud of who I am, that I am happy with who I am, and what I do in my life, then I am sure I can’t be a better Mum or role model than that. Because after all, that is what we would want for our kids isn’t it? For them to be the best they can be, and happy in doing it? Our kids don’t want a perfect Mum, they just want a happy Mum xo