What I really want for Mother’s Day

6 May

It’s Mothers Day on Sunday – and do you know what I would kill for as a gift? Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. That’s all. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But with a 4 month old breastfed baby that doesn’t take the bottle, it’s an impossibility. And that’s probably what makes me crave it even more. Like any job, there are moments (even days) when being a Mum really sucks. They are the days when life seems like an endless round of changing poo-ey bottoms, drying tears, and enforcing discipline. Fortunately, the ‘good’ moments far outweigh the bad.
Every day, my little baby smiles at me like I’m the best thing she’s ever seen, and every day, my toddler says something funny that makes me laugh – her latest is ‘Don’t worry Mummy’. She’s 2. She doesn’t know what worrying is. Still, there are the occasional rough days when I’d like to put myself into ‘time-out’ – just shut the door and pretend like I never had children. But quitting is not an option. There’s no respite from being a mum (or Dad, of course – but that’s for another post). You can’t just ‘clock off’ at 5pm. In fact, 5pm is usually when the real fun begins. Once the doctor or midwife places that newborn baby into your arms you are annointed as a Mum for life. For life. Until your last dying breath. Usually, I find that fact very reassuring. But there are moments when it makes me feel a little claustrophobic. I’ve hesitated a lot about writing these thoughts on a blog. Owning up to having moments of struggling with motherhood can feel tantamount to failure. What inspired me to be truthful was hearing journalist, Jessica Rowe, speak with brutal frankness on radio this week about her battles with Post Natal Depression. In the interview I heard, Jessica admitted to having frighteningly obsessive thoughts about her baby being harmed – she often visualised a silver clock falling on her baby’s head and imagined sharp knives piercing her baby’s skin. It got so bad that she actually wrapped her sharp knives in paper and put them in the bin. It didn’t make the thoughts go away. What did help her was medication, professional help and talking about her experience in a very honest (and public) way. For a woman in the media to be so honest about her mental illness is quite breathtaking. As a former TV journo, I know that women in the media are expected to be ballsy, tough and pretty unemotional. Mental fragility does not fit the mould. Owning up to post natal depression in the cut-throat world of TV journalism is very brave – and I take my hat off to her. I wish all women could be so honest. But you only have to read the ‘Mummy’ blog by Olympic Swimmer, Elka Graham, to realise that (sadly) not everyone has caught the honesty bug. She’s an ambassador for a brand of nappies called ‘Little Takas’ and writes a blog as part of her duties. Her baby’s name is Nevada. Here’s a sample of Elka’s musings on motherhood.
Nevada Sleeps Through The Night.
Nevada is well and truly in a brilliant routine at night 7pm sleep, 7am rise. Little Takas nappies are so great she wakes in the morning with a full nappy but no leakage its wonderful. She is coming up to her 6month immunisation shots, SIX MONTHS at christmas time its gone so fast where has my newborn baby gone? Ha. I’m back at the gym now 3 times a week and love getting toned again always making sure I do no more 45min so I have enough milk supply for when I feed her after.
I truly love being a mum!
Elka x

Now, I think it’s great that Elka loves being a mum (I think we pretty much all do) and wonderful that her baby sleeps so well etc etc. Terrific! But – where’s the balance? I really find it hard to believe that Elka doesn’t have challenging days or moments. And yet – she never mentions them on the blog. I understand that it’s basically a paid advertisement for nappies and therefore all negatives are avoided. But you know what? I would be more likely to buy those nappies if Elka could be a little more truthful about her parenting experiences. I’ve read the entire thing – not once is there a mention of a tricky night, her baby being sick, or crying  – as all babies do. I find these types of representations of motherhood to be really unhelpful. All it does is make other Mums feel inadequate. It’s unrealistic to think that motherhood is wonderful all of the time. For me, it’s definitely been the best experience of my life and I love it – but it’s definitely challenging. And I’m lucky – I get a lot of support from my husband and family. I can’t imagine what it’s like for single parents or Mums who get no help from extended family. My mothers group friends are also a fantastic source of support. I always get a sympathetic hearing from them after a particularly bad week – they have all been there, and done that. So, now I have a second Mother’s Day wish. In addition to my 8 hours sleep, I would also like all women to feel they can speak honestly about what it’s like to be a Mum. If you need help, then speak up! There’s no shame in admitting to being challenged by motherhood. After all, the best achievements in life are usually the ones you have to work the hardest at.

 

   

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One Response to “What I really want for Mother’s Day”

  1. Anonymous May 10, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    have you seen Elka's husband???no wonder she walks around in a total state of numb bliss…

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