I'm a Mummy... Get Me Out of Here!


I don't know when or even if I'm going to press that little orange publish button above this post. It seems like a big thing if I do. I don't know if I really want you guys to actually be able to read what I'm going to write. I don't even think I want to read it back once I've finished. I don't think anyone will be able to read this with a smile of relief on their face thinking 'oh wow she's truly captured how I'm feeling, I'm not alone' (which is how I hope you normally feel reading my blog). But this one is different and I really hope you can't relate because I truly wish that no one else experiences this feeling in their lifetime. However, in saying that, I hope you can understand where I'm coming from when writing this because otherwise you'll think I'm the worst person in the entire universe.

I always remember the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Lily stands on the roof and says to Ted, in a really dramatic way, 'sometimes I wish I wasn't a mom. Sometimes I wanna pack a bag and leave in the middle of the night and not come back', like it's some huge revelation that no one has ever heard or said before. That part has always made me sob. Uncontrollably. But now I'm a mum myself, when I see that episode, or even remember it, I'm a completely different type of inconsolable blubbering mess. Because who hasn't felt like that? Who honestly can say there hasn't been, even a fleeting, feeling of just needing to run away. Up and leave. Get out of there. Go. Separate room. Separate house. Separate town, country, planet. Of course I'm exaggerating. I would never actually leave my baby (not to another planet) but the feeling is still there. The feeling of just not being enough. The feeling of having no fight left and flight being the only option.

When Aria was first born and we were in a different hospital 20 miles away from my home with no one allowed to stay with me, I was terrified. Not terrified of the recovery or of the trauma I'd been through, or of being alone in a strange place that I didn't know; I was terrified of seeing her. Terrified that when I walked (or shuffled) across the corridor, through those doors, into that intensive care room, it was real. There was no escaping it and I couldn't look at her knowing there was nothing I could do to help her. I couldn't hold her, could barely touch her, couldn't change her nappy or kiss her like any other mum in that room could. I couldn't have skin to skin or smell her smell or see her hair or eyes or face. I could just look at her transparent skin through her thick plastic incubator connected to countless infusions and monitors and machines and know that she was the sickest baby there. And I felt like running. I bet if I could've run I probably would have. I wasn't mentally prepared to be a mum then, I should've had 3 more months to get ready for all that. I didn't know what to do or how to feel or what to say or ask or think. I used to make up excuses as to why I couldn't go over until Connor came up to see me. I used to phone him at home and ask him to phone the ward and see how she was for me because I just couldn't do it myself. Without a doubt they must've thought I was a crap mum at that time. I felt like such a failure. I failed at carrying her, I failed at giving birth and then I was failing at being there for her and being the mum she needed.

I still feel like a failure. Not only a failure of a mum but a failure of a woman, of a person. How do people keep their houses tidy and dishes clean and cupboards stocked and clothes washed and put away with a baby to look after who needs feeding every 3 hours? There's just no time. I feel like it should all have come naturally to me, like a free gift you receive with your baby, a book called 'how to's and the secrets of motherhood'. There's not a minute of the day where I'm not with Aria, and honestly, it's hard. She cries when I put her down and yes, I fully understand the theory behind 'self soothing', but it doesn't work with a baby who will happily cry and scream for 8 hours straight if she's not picked up. I spend my day trying (and failing) to soothe her between feeds, staring at the mess that is my house and wishing she would chill out for 20 minutes so I could neaten up at least one room or wash a few dishes. Then when Connor comes home, tired from working all day, Aria has cried herself out and left me exhausted so it looks like I've done nothing for no reason all day. Then he falls asleep with her and I end up sleeping too because I'm just so run down from a day of fighting a strong willed baby. And it begins again the next morning. Looking at the little bits of clutter accumulating slowly, willing my girl to sleep so I can do something or even just get dressed for the day (a girl can dream can't she?).

I can completely relate to Lily's confession of sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, wishing I wasn't a mum. I feel the need to apologize for thinking these thoughts and feeling these feelings. Forgive me if I'm not still smiling after the 87th dummy replacement or the 14th shitty nappy change. Do excuse me if I just want her to shut up for 30 seconds so I could hear a different sound other than shrieking. Pardon my french if bad words slip out because I'm so tired of bouncing her on my knee while trying to work out when her next feed is or what to cook for tea (if she will let me) - by the way as I'm writing this I'm rocking her with one arm while I should be cooking but there's no way of that happening. I apologize that some days I just sit and cry because I feel totally and utterly inadequate as a parent. And I am so very sorry that I deceive everyone by smiling and making sure I'm looking my absolute best when I see people, so that I can say, convincingly, that 'I'm fine' because I just can't have people thinking otherwise.

Imagine people thinking I was inadequate even though that's how I see myself. Why do we force ourselves to appear to be coping and to be 'fine' (what is fine anyway?). Why can't we just say, this is hard and I need help. Why can't we just admit when we are struggling and ask for the support we desperately need? Simple answer to all those questions. Because we all do it. Because every one of us has felt those feelings, even slightly, but we wont admit it, sometimes even to ourselves. Society makes us feel so guilty for even entertaining the idea that we aren't coping every day. So we brush it under the carpet and push it down so we don't face it when really, we should stand on that rooftop with Lily and agree. Sometimes we just want to scream out, I'm a Mummy... Get Me Out of Here! But we never let on that we're going through this, we sugarcoat it and make it look all fun and games and smiles and giggles and then when other new mums experience the exact same thing they feel alone, isolated and wrong. Which wouldn't happen if it was normal for us to just speak about it.

But the worst thing about it all is not even feeling it. It's not the thoughts or the bad words that slip out when you're sick to death of it all. It's not even the secret research you've done to see how much it costs to go and live on the moon ($36,000,000,000 for 4 people, take your friends). It's that when we've calmed down from the tears and the tantrums. When the stress cloud has lifted. When the despair and utter heartbreak of it all eases and you feel like you've cried it out and you're now okay. You see their little faces with big bright eyes staring at you and you feel so overwhelmingly guilty that you've just had all those thoughts and feelings about your own flesh and blood, about the one thing you love more than life itself. That's the worst part. Because no matter how hard motherhood gets, no matter how much we wish we weren't going through this tough time and wish we could just leave for even a second, we wouldn't really go. We wouldn't ever not want them. We love being their mummy's. Even if it is the struggle of a lifetime.

CONVERSATION

2 comments:

  1. This post is so spot on. I keep meaning to write it myself and think I'm alone. Every day is a constant battle. It's a race against time when I get my daughter to nap for 20 minutes to get something done. A blog post, so I don't feel like a failure or the dishes or do some washing. The house might as well be a junk yard. Her nursey still hasn't been done and is an actual jungle of crap. It's hard. It's hard when they scream all day and you want to pull your hair out and slam a door in frustration but then they look up at you and make the cutest noises and it's so hard to be so angry. I feel guilty for being angry because I know in a few years I would've forgotten all about it. You're seriously not alone. You're brave for posting this and I'm going to do it to. PArenting is hard. It's not sunshine and flowers and cotton candy clouds. It's exhaustion physically and mentally. You're doing amazing though. Seriously. You're doing the best you can and well, if I say it mind my french, fuck the dishes.

    Lisa | www.lisacowan.co.uk

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