I’m starting to realise just how important it is speaking out about how I personally felt when my boys were just 6 months old and 22 months old.
My ‘knife’ incident (as seen in the Herald Sun and soon to be written about in next Wednesday’s That’s life magazine, issue 38) is really getting some attention and I’m told from a journalist, that it’s because there is no one that is usually willing to talk about the real feelings that are going on within mums.
This was confirmed for me the other day when I went to the markets to sell my books and did not get one sale. I was at a Babes, toddlers and maternity market, so my target audience was definately there, however I watched mother after mother look at my book and then quickly look away, as if to say – I don’t need a book like that. (Problems? What problems. I don’t have any problems with motherhood – sarcasm intended)
Then, as a mum came up and looked at the back of one of the books, I watched her friend laugh and say ‘what do you need a book like that for’. She laughed back and said, ‘to learn how to be a happy mum’, then quickly put the book down and took a business card instead.
From that point on, I simply started handing out cards with my website on it, hoping that mums wanting this kind of help would purchase it online instead, because it is becoming more and more obvious that the anonymousness of being able to buy something like this online without anyone knowing, is the appeal.
But my question is, why is this such a taboo subject to talk about? Why is it so bad to get help when feeling challenged by motherhood. If we wanted help with our tax, we would see an accountant. If we wanted help with a legal matter, we would get help from a lawyer or a solicitor. If we wanted to cook something different, we would seek a book with recipes in it, so why do we feel so embarrassed and stupid for seeking help about motherhood stress.
Even the mum beside me who had a 10month old and a 3 year old told me of a friend of hers who told her that she liked talking to her because she was real and felt comfortable to talk about her real feelings, where the others at her mothers group would just talk about how wonderful their children were for reaching their milestones, like they were competing against each other.
I bet there isn’t a mother alive that hasn’t wanted to throttle their child at one point or another, or has felt like it’s all too hard and wanted to just fall into a ball and cry (if she hasn’t done so already). but apparently this is not okay. Apparently this somehow makes us weak, failures, possibly even ‘bad mothers’.
WTF? Excuse my french (even if it is abbreviated), but at what point did having emotions make us less of a person.
We cannot continue to allow mums to sit inside their homes and go through the biggest transition of her life feeling worth-less because she is struggling to cope with the challenges of being a mum.
This is a time where we need to rally together and help one another to get an accurate sense of what’s going on, and let’s face it, we all feel better when we know that we are not going through a tough experience alone.
So next time you go to your mother’s group or catch up with a friend, why not reach out to them and strike up a conversation about an experience where you have lost the plot, felt sad or incompetent and how you then changed your thinking to feel differently.
I’m not asking you all to sit around and complain about how hard it is, because that wouldn’t get anyone anywhere, but what I am asking you to do is connect with other mums and be honest about how you really feel, so that you can source answers to your problems together.
If I have to tell everyone in the world how I loved motherhood one minute and hated it the next, broke down in tears, then lathered my child with cuddles and kisses because of guilt everytime I fell apart, then so be it. If it makes another mother feel normal and learn that there is a way to change these feelings, and that these feelings don’t mean anything about her abilities as a mum, then I have been successful in my mission.
It’s time that we started to support one another and really help mums to realise that this is a tough job, but we can get through it by understanding emotions, learning how to change our thinking, supporting one another so that it’s okay to feel challenged and emotional at times, and to approach these challenges with a solution focussed attitude, not one that feels stupid, worth-less and weak.
C’mon mums, let’s pull together and be honest with each other about what we are really feeling. We all know that things aren’t always rosey, so let’s start to pull down the facade.