Sorry for the clickbait-ish title, but it got your attention hey? And whilst I am certainly not one to direct anyone on physical health or fitness (Mrs. I-polished-off-7-blocks-of-Marble-chocolate-to-myself-and-no-regrets), this is still about shifting weight. But rather emotional heaviness. Of the bad kind.
I’ve mentioned before how it seems to take years for maternal instincts to seem to kick in for many of us, and yet the guilt of motherhood seems to arrive before even our placenta makes its debut. And that G word seems to stick with us, forever. We carry it around and it weighs on every single decisions we make. And even the choices we don’t make, it pops up and reminds us of those too and what MAY have happened had we gone down another path. Ohh the joys of motherhood.. #mumguiltsucks
And there’s also our expectations that we haul around too. These lock in well before the baby arrives, and if we’re being perfectly honest, they often are concerted within us before we are even pregnant – because the very best parents are the ones without kids yet, am I right?? We have it all figured out then, we know our timelines and how we will go about things, what the nursery will look like and where the baby will sleep (ha ha ha), all the little outfits they will wear multiple times a day for their little styled photo shoots, the bottles we won’t buy because we won’t need because breastfeeding is mega easy, the cute matching pram and nappy bag we will need for the thousands of outings we will venture to each and every day, the milestone cards lined up and ready to smash out at the exact same time as all your friends’ kids, the organic fruits and vegetables we will hand wash, peel, chop, steam and puree ourselves because that store bought processed crap is never going near my child, and so on..
And then you actually have a baby. And. Shit. Gets. HARD.
The postpartum perfection perception is gone when you realise just how much goes into keeping a completely dependent human being alive and well. Whilst recovering from a huge ordeal physically – whether that’s recovering from major surgery for weeks or healing after being ripped open like a Christmas present. Oh, and you haven’t slept in weeks. Like, at all. You soon realise that the expectations we either naturally or subconsciously have placed on to ourselves are not only unattainable but they’re weighing us down. Because then any spare emotional thought is caught up in a question of ‘why isn’t it like I imagined? Why isn’t it easy? Why can’t I do this?’ rather than spent soaking up that divine newborn deliciousness. Quickly followed by the guilt that you feel that way because as a mother surely all you should be feeling right now is love and bliss and a tenderness so strong it helps you glide through the exhaustion like it’s no trouble at all, right?
And then! You throw in a pandemic to the bloody mix. Yep, a business is shut, cafes are closed, playgroups are over, daycares are done, no visiting the grandparents, global lock down kinda pandemic.
WELL. There goes everyone’s ideas of any type of perfect home life.
The house is a mess. Work is a mess. Fridge is a mess. Routine is a mess. You’re in a constant battle of I would do anything to leave this house and how many times can I walk this dog before the neighbours call the RSPCA, vs I am now only showering on Thursdays because seriously what is the point otherwise and who will even notice? Oh, and home schooling is some horrendous prank the education department decided to throw at us after all those years we ever made the comment ‘yeah but good holidays right!’ to any teaching friends or acquaintances we came across. (we are all very sorry now)
Motivation is officially non existent. And yet, faithful old mum guilt is right there on your neck still, pushing down harder than ever. Because who doesn’t want to be stuck at home with no one else to interact with other than their own kids? What kind of sick psycho would knowingly birth children if they weren’t prepared to joyfully spent every single second of their day (and night) with their offspring without any interruption or break? Shocking isn’t it. But rest assured, you are NOT a bad mum for needing/wanting a break. You are NOT a bad mum just because homeschooling doesn’t fit you like a glove. You are NOT a bad mum because the TV stayed on all day today. You are NOT a bad mum for praying the government re-opens schools again soon. You are NOT a bad mum for joking around that caring for your parent’s grandkids is a tough gig you’re getting pretty tired of.
So I feel like now especially is as good a time as ever to remind all of you beautiful, hard working, insanely kick ass rockstar mums just how incredible you are. Even at the best of times it is an all consuming job, but especially at the hardest of times, we are the ones everyone turns to for support, encouragement and reassurance. But who supports, encourages and reassures us? Like, really does, from a place of understanding. So mum to mum – YOU ARE AMAZING. Legit. Not kidding. No lies. Zero exaggeration.
So, join me and lose the weight for good. Ditch the weight of guilt and worry and shed all that baggage of ‘what if.’ Trust that you know enough, are doing enough and are enough for your family.
Drop the weight off your shoulders so you can hold on to these moments because before too long they will be only that – memories. Let go of this perfect concept and let yourself simply accept the flaws of right now.
Stop watching the treadmill speed or minutes pass, it achieves nothing but steal joy from the present. And if high school taught us anything it is that your speed and time in the beep test literally counts for nothing as an adult.
Forget everyone else flexing around the place on social media or playgroup, and just be present with the blessings you have and how you are able to enjoy them.
Let’s grow through the changes and lessons of parenthood at our own pace, rather than crucifying ourselves through comparison.
Kick those bad habits of stressing over the little tiny things that no one notices or will cause much harm at all. Because honestly, sometimes we are the ones who get toothpaste on the bathroom mirror too. It’s ok. Wipe it off another day/month.
Lose the weight of negative thoughts and habits within motherhood, and learn to run with what you’ve got!
Give yourself the gift of grace to love the mum that you are. She deserves it.