As I sit here and look around I feel a sense of shame. Shame at the fact that I am clearly not the type of mother I wanted or hoped to be. I am tired, I am a mess and the never ending pile of things to do is overwhelming. My whole life I have been a perfectionist, not with those around me, but on myself. I have always wanted to do things right, to do things perfectly and as the years have passed the pressure at being perfect has gotten the best of me.
When I was pregnant with Gabriel I had our lives all set. I had a plan on how I wanted to raise my son. I would breastfeed until he was one years old, I would feed him all homemade, organic food. I would be attentive and loving, I would be organised, and on top of the washing and household chores, the house would be spotless. I would bake and all of our meals would be planned and home cooked from scratch. I would lose the baby weight after six months, be kept together and continue to nurture my relationship and my career. Life would be perfect, I would be Supermum.
However that idea quickly came crashing down, I sit here now in my yoga pants and oversized jumper looking at the piles of dishes that I need to clean and the piles of washing yet to be put on and I can’t help but feel like a failure. What went wrong? I was supposed to be super mum but right now there is nothing super about me. I look at my son and cannot help but feel sorry, sorry that I am not as perfect as I wanted to be. Sorry that you cannot wear your favourite jumper today because mummy hasn’t washed it yet, sorry that I have to give you a food pouch because we ran out of homemade meals and I don’t have time to cook some right now. Sorry that I can’t sit down and give you my undivided attention because I have to cook dinner and clean the house. Sorry that my hair is a mess and I can’t be bothered putting any make up on. Sorry that I am so tired all the time. Sorry that I have disappointed myself at not being the mum I thought I was going to be.
But why do I put so much pressure on myself? Why do I feel the need to be supermum? As I speak to other mums, I realise that we all feel this way. We all feel this overwhelming pressure to do everything. To raise the kids, keep the house clean, have dinner on the table AND be slim, attractive and fashionable at the same time. Society expects us to be real life Stepford wives. It is expected that since you are not ‘working’ you must make up for it. Raising and looking after your kid is not enough, you must show and prove that you are not just sitting on your ass all day ( as if that were actually possible), you must make an effort otherwise your husband will stray and you will be put in the bad mum pile to be judged at the school gate. Hell No!
Speaking to a close friend this weekend, who after the birth of their second child had to look after their oldest daughter during his paternity leave, confessed to having a new found respect for his wife. He said that he previously expected dinner to be on the table when he got home and expected everything to be spotless. He said now that he has had to look after their daughter by himself he realises how tiring and demanding it is and admitted that going to work was easier than staying home alone with the kids. THANK YOU!
Society needs to shut up and stop putting so much pressure on mums, and on women in general. Other mums need to stop judging each other and instead, support and help each other, it is not a competition. Partners need to step up and stop expecting everything to be done and perfect when they get home. But most of all, you mummies out there, you need to know you are amazing and all that really matters is that your baby knows that they are more important than you being societies perfect mum. If that means that you spend a little more time one on one with your baby and a little less time cleaning the dishes then so be it. Supermum can f***off!