Motherhood is one of the most rewarding roles in world but there are times when some of us have dark times or have dark thoughts that we often feel ashamed of sharing with others as it doesn’t always match the “pretty put together mother” we often see in social media.
**This post may have triggers for some**
Whilst it’s inspiring (sometimes) to see images of parents that spend their days being creative with their children with smiles and joy, rainbows and gum drops, it’s not always the case for some us that have or do experience motherhood’s dark moments.
In this post, I keep it 100% on many of the, sometimes daily, awkward, frustrating and sometimes dark moments I face or have faced since becoming a mother. These are some of the things the parenting books and classes don’t always tell you; that’s not to say that all mothers will or have experienced some or any of the list to follow.
Please also bear in mind that just because a mother has experienced or does go through any of the below mentioned, it doesn’t mean we love our children any less or neglect them.
There are times when my children push my buttons so much that I feel myself going into Hulk mode. I see red and need to leave the room or send them to theirs just, so I can calm down. I need them out of my face as quickly as possible ASAP! I’m not always the mother that tells my children to count to ten and breathe or get down on their level and “talk” to them; NO, sometimes I just need them out of my face.
- RESENTMENT & REGRET
Yes, there have been times when I would resent my children or myself for becoming a mother at the time I did. The fantasies of what life would look like if I had spent my 20’s child-free, travelling when I wanted to, still dancing, blah blah blah. Does this make me a horrible mother? I used to believe that I was horrible for thinking in this way, now I realise it makes me an honest one. The visualisation of what if’s and could haves used to occur a lot more in the first few years of motherhood which meant I envied my child-free friends who were able to spend their money on themselves, travel often, have alone time with their partners etc; to be honest, I still do at times.
- JUGGLING MY EMOTIONS AND THEIRS
Trying to balance their emotional meltdowns and needs with my breakdowns and mental exhaustion. It’s like trying to pour from an empty cup; you get nothing. In my case, they usually get the bare minimum i.e. attending to their basic needs and then some or boiling over that I breakdown into a crumble of nothingness. It’s super hard and a tough skill to master (if you even can) when you’re having a really hard time staying emotionally balanced whilst dealing with a child who decides to:
- have a massive meltdown over a crisp that has dropped on the floor on the high road and now refuses to move unless dragged.
- refuses to leave the park and screams at the top of their lungs, throw themselves on the floor and have floppy limbs when you try to pick them up.
- moan all the way home because they didn’t get a snack after school
The list goes on…
Trying to remain in control of your feelings whilst managing theirs is near impossible at times. On top of that, you get to the point where you lose any ounce of care in trying to look like the role model mum of the year who has gentle parenting down to a tee. You now resort to empty threats such as giving away all their toys when you get home or dragging them home kicking and screaming and giving anyone who even glances your way the dirtiest look you can conjure then breaking down into uncontrollable fits of tears at the intense level of anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, shame and exhaustion once you get home. I have even spoken to mothers who usually are warming and loving that have resorted to such anger they have ended up shouting out words they would normally never say to their child such as “shut up” or “go away/get out of my face” etc. I too have experienced this. The joke is, it bothers us so much that we have used such phrases towards our children and end up feeling even worse!
- POSSIBLE BODY TRANSFORMATION
*sigh* Now let me tell you this, in no shape or form was I prepared for the ways in which my body changed after birth and has never been the same. After the birth of my 1st child, I was left with diastasis recti which is abdominal/muscle separation. It is NOT pretty. I’ll be the first to admit that I admire and secretly envy women whose stomachs have snapped back into shape or near enough. I basically have a gap in the centre of my abdominal wall which means my core muscles were pretty much non-existent in for a good few years after birth. I remember going from being able to do 100+ sit ups (during my dance training) to not being able to do 2! THE HORROR! No doctor, midwife or medical professional gave me a heads up about the possibility of having muscle separation post pregnancy and even after it had occurred, most of them had no clue what I was experiencing and how to treat it. So basically, my once flat and toned stomach now looks like a creased flannel; this was a huge blow to my confidence.
Having your body change in ways you aren’t prepared for such as, but not limited to:
- weight gain
- stretch marks
- drooping breasts
- muscular/nerve pain (Sciatica etc)
…can have an effect on one’s mental health in various ways; each individual to the person experiencing it.
To the mothers that “snap back” to the body they had before children I SALUTE YOU! To the mothers whose bodies have undergone changes whether minor or extreme and love their bodies regardless TEACH ME! Lastly, to the mothers who are struggling to come to terms with it all, HANG IN THERE, YOU’RE NOT ALONE AND YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS!
- POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
Imagine giving birth and instead of feeling euphoria and overwhelming love for your new-born you feel overwhelmed, have low mood, anxious, lose appetite, struggle to cope with the demands of your new-born, struggle to get excited with much and feel guilty because you feel all these things you can’t explain or control.
- NO LONGER IN-SYNC WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Yeah, you’re pretty much either having to cancel pre-arranged lunch dates and nights out with friends because:
- you can’t find a babysitter
- your child or children are unwell (strangely on the day you’re supposed to be getting all glammed up to go)
- you simply can’t face being in a social setting due to psychological obstacles saying NO!
Or, you’re too exhausted by the time the meet-up comes around that you cancel anyway because you just want to sleep.
Shout out to the friends that haven’t given up on us despite being told at the last-minute we can’t make it. WE APPRECIATE YOU!
Yes, sometimes parents have their favourites (if they have more than 1 child). That’s not to say that they treat the other/s with any less love, care and attention. Whilst I love my children to death, I don’t always like them. There are times when one will display certain behaviours that I absolutely cannot stand then there are times when that same child will be the most loving and adorable being I’ve ever had the honour of being a mother to! It’s just the way it goes unfortunately.
There are mothers who have expressed in secret liking one child more than the other/s because the circumstances at the time of their birth, for example, weren’t the greatest so they always associate those memories with that child. There are mothers who have also said that they can’t help but feel irritated towards one child more than another and feel horrible for it.
These things are real and mothers experience this! It’s just very hard when we’re always supposed to be the happy, motivated caregivers when in fact, some of us struggle.
- TRYING YOUR HARDEST NOT TO RAISE YOUR CHILDREN THE WAY YOU WERE RAISED BUT FAILING.
I didn’t have a bad upbringing. My parents, to this day, try their level best to be the best they can be and raise daughters who are strong, resilient and can stand on their own two feet. Growing up, I resented my parents for a long time because I wasn’t mature enough to understand that they can’t do more than they know, and they only know what they went through growing up and in turn, raising us. I grew up with a disciplined father who tried his best to mould me into a “strong” woman that never allowed anyone to take the piss out of me. This meant his methods of raising me were often by being aloof. On the other hand, my mother was extremely affectionate, over-protective which sometimes became suffocating and over-bearing. Unfortunately, this meant I often feared my dad and never questioned him and argues with my mum a lot for invading my personal space not allowing me to be my own person in my own time.
When I became a mother, I told myself I would have a good balance of allowing my sons to breathe and praise them often for doing well or trying their best. However, I often fall into my default upbringing and can either become overbearing, over-protective and smothering or I can be the opposite of that and become the strict parent my dad was.
Sometimes, our parents’ methods of raising us become questionable and we become a little resentful towards them because we have now adopted their ways of doing things even though we promised ourselves we would raise our children in OUR OWN ways.
To anyone reading this post and can relate, please make sure you have at least one person you’re close to and can TRUST to share some of these thoughts because it’s not easy feeling like your actions or thoughts as a mother doesn’t match what we’ve been conditioned to believe we should be as parents. You aren’t alone and if your feelings become too much to cope with please do seek confidential help.
Feel free to comment or reach out here or via my Instagram. I love hearing from you all.
Love and light to you all x x x