The Other Side of Motherhood

Today I feel like a bad Mum. A snotty, teary-eyed bad Mum. Deep down I know it’s a lie I’m telling myself. In reality I’m a Mum that like most other Mums adores her kids and tries her very best for her children, gets it wrong sometimes but tries and that’s what matters. But today is, like a few day of recent, kicking my butt. 

Home-schooling sounds wonderful on paper. Especially for someone like me who loves learning new things and teaching my kids all about our world. But the reality is that when your child doesn’t want to do the work set by school for them, refuse to write or doesn’t want to learn at home, you simply can’t force them to put that pencil on the paper. Sometimes they’d rather sit there all day than write one word. And the reality of that is that no matter how hard I remind myself it’s not my fault, I get eaten up by guilt. Like it’s somehow my fault and it’s on me if I don’t have much to send over at the end of the week. 

I’ve felt this guilt before. My boys are fussy eaters. And the amount of times I’ve heard people flippantly say ‘It’s lazy dinner day today - we’re having beige food’ and my heart has sunk a little because getting my boys to even eat beige food is a struggle. Or when people suggest ‘don’t give them anything else to eat until they eat their dinner’ and you know from experience that they’d rather not eat the entire day than eat what’s on their plate. People don’t seem to understand that you can’t force a forkful of food into a child’s mouth. 

But still, that guilt, that expectation, it’s ever present and it’s often crushing. Most of the time I let it go. I’ve learnt over the years that it doesn’t matter if my boys don’t eat as colourful as I’d like, they’re still happy and healthy. I’ve learnt that I need to pick my battles with homework and home learning and remember I’m providing as much support as I can. 

But today during home schooling, when my boys really were not in the mood, I failed to stay calm on the 100th time of asking. I even fell out with Adam in my frustration. And of course I’m sitting here now full of ALL of the regret, beating myself up for not being able to stay as calm as I should have. Wishing I could just sit and snuggle with the boys on the sofa watching a film, not trying to be a teacher that I wasn’t trained to be. 

I’ve been here before many times in Motherhood. I suspect most parents have? But you don’t always see these moments on social media. It’s not dishonesty, it’s just not wanting to capture and freeze these moments in time. Who really wants to hold on to the hard moments?! The thing with being a parent is that the happy ordinary moments are so magical that they make all the overwhelming, difficult moments so worthwhile. THEY are the moments that count, that matter, that you want to freeze in time. 

But it’s not always helpful to people to share our favourite moments - sometimes you want to log on to social media and feel that you’re not the only one struggling today even if you’re aware that tomorrow will be better and that more of those magical moments are on their way. 

And so I’m sharing this raw and vulnerable post today, because motherhood is more than a collection of happy memories and moments. Motherhood will also sometimes bring you to your knees, it’ll teach you things and ultimately make you stronger. 

“A good mum has bad days & great days & normal days & overwhelming days & perfect days & trying days & supermum days & just being a mum days & a whole lot of love & real & crazy motherhood days.”

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo

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