So it occurred to me that it might be nice to use a Friday to blog about some thoughts that have crossed my mind over the past week. I have decided to make this a standard Friday contribution and it will be titled the same each week and dated for easy reference. The content will differ greatly, sometimes I will have much to say, other times it will only be something small. I will mull over these with a steamy cup of hot chocolate and share them with you. Today I have a lot to say.
So with the remnants of Mother’s Day starting off the week that was, I thought about our role as Mother’s and why it is that we often find ourselves so overwhelmed with the task. It’s natural after all or is it? Some of us are Mother’s that leave the home daily to work full time in offices putting our faith in other’s to care for our children during the day (That not an easy thing to do if you you are a new parent but even if you are seasoned it remains hard, some Mother’s have no choice in this while other’s do and to each his own), some of us are Mother’s that work from home offices to supplement the family income with their own businesses but have a full-time carer to assist in the daily childcare and household tasks and have to find a balance between home and office which I know is not as easy as it sounds(I have done it), and some take care of their children and home alone, without or with very little help and earn no salary and have to rely on only one income in the home which can only be a juggle. Some say this is a privilege to be a SAHM, some even school their own children and it sounds rough to me but works for those that chose this way. There are aspects of it I long for like being able to be more involved in school activities and extra murals for instance. I have heard it referred to on forums and groups as a “Full Time Mother or FTM” Well I will leave that one there because I still not exactly sure what that makes me at the end of the day but I get the sentiment.
Anyway so if we are all so vastly different in our daily roles as Mother’s how come is it that we all have this uncanny ability to always feel exactly the same? Completely overwhelmed. I mean all of our situations are so vastly different?
For me, my day will typically consist of waking up at 5:30 after a very interrupted night and I proceed to pack lunches and school bags for two kids, the third thankfully stays at home. I organise a cooked breakfast of Rolled Oats, Maize meal or Eggs for my kids to be ready when they wake. I set out their uniforms on their beds and wake them up, often more than once. I then make coffee for my husband and I and start getting ready for work (I need to attempt a reasonably well-kept look for the office so it involves some hair and makeup that takes a bit of time) Between that I am tending to various kid woes and arguments, kissing boo-boos, wiping up spills and wiping bums as well as changing bed sheets when there have been accidents during the night and making sure said kid has a quick wash or shower. I then spot clean clothes from porridge spills or the odd brekkie face wipe with a sleeve I usually have a sore neck and back when I wake up due to really bad sleep positions as a result of bed sharing with my toddler and so I try to fit in some Yoga stretches to ease that pain as well because if I don’t I can guarantee myself a Voltaren injection before the week is out.
Between looking for matching school socks and hair elastics for my eldest daughter and reminding them all to take their vitamins, I check school sport schedules and remind my eldest to find her sport equipment and sport clothes and say the words “Did you brush your teeth and hair and wash your face?”about fifty times to them before getting in the car, only to discover just before arriving at school that one or more of the aforesaid was not done. I have started to keep wet-wipes and a tube of toothpaste in the car (Finger teeth brushing is often necessary). Repetitively I find myself saying “Why don’t you listen to me? Over and over again, I feel like a stuck record most days. Oops, I forgot to say goodbye to my husband, I turn around and find him looking frazzled in the kitchen and give him a quick kiss. Sometimes we are irritable and argue about trivial things during this time as tensions grow and time becomes of the essence. We leave with minutes to spare before the bell rings at school. I have to be at work at 8am, I am always late.
Ahhh I Breath, I drive to work in silence, it is bliss i’ll admit. I have a fairly passive job and so my day is not too hectic but still very active and busy. Up until very recently I was also running another business online which was by no means part-time but this in the end had to go after 5 years of trying to keep it all together, I couldn’t anymore. By 16:30 I leave to find my way home to my husband and children. Thankful that the Homework has at least been done by this time.
My amazing helper leaves at 16:00( She has been alone with all three kids since 2:30 pm and by that stage I am sure she is over the day big time) so my husband is always home before me to relieve her and let her out of the madness. But by the time I walk in the door, the three kids have declared war on each other and my home, and it looks like Maggie has not been there at all. My husband is slowly turning more grey by the minute. There is whining and screaming and sometimes blood, dependent on who bit who or who dived off the couch and knocked what, and I walk in and put my bag down with my toddler halfway up my hip already and try to be great-full for my healthy, happy family but it’s tough when all you really want to do is turn around and go back to your passive quiet office or car, I don’t, I go on because I am a Mother, I AM all that, I AM a Champion and I know I can ROAR…. ha ha, bet Katy didn’t mean her song to be used in that reference but I did, sorry Katy.
Supper must be made, this added task was proving to become way too complicated for me time-wise and so we resorted to a fairly basic weekly menu which is working well, but the food still needs to be made, and I need a glass of wine or a G&T. I do that all usually in between listening to the last bit of reader homework that my nine year old has and trying to find out about the kind of day’s they have had or how a sport match was. I prepare food somewhere between the Kinetic sand castles on my counter that I am too exhausted to ask a third time to packed away, as well as plates of half eaten Peanut Butter or Bovril toasts that my kids couldn’t possibly go without, just two minutes after I entered the house. I make them knowing that not a half hour earlier my husband had kitted them out with various snacks to tide them over before dinner….. Oh yes, my kids eat way too much bread.
I make dinner, they eat little or none of it, they are enthralled in Sofia The First, I eat mine cold, later, usually only after 10 pm some nights. The bath gets run, I hope the geyser is on. The begging begins, please get in the bath? Will you go bath now? Have you bathed yet? Do I need to put the TV Off? Some nights I just leave it, I have no energy, some nights they surprise me and go bath themselves without me asking. When there is Load-shedding I scream silently inside, I don’t even want to talk about that aspect of it.
Where is my husband in this you say? I am fortunate, he is right there beside me doing pretty much all the things I have been talking about, along with me, he is not afraid to get his hands dirty but for some reason I still feel so overwhelmed! For him and to a degree for me there is still the added concern of the household and finances, things that need tending to, work that needs to be done for the next day’s meeting (He works from a home office mostly) that’s no easy feat. He is also under pressure to get our kids home each day during working hours too without it infringing on his own job and that in itself is an overwhelming task. We are both exhausted.
Bedtime routine is not a nightmare as we are fairly strict with our elder two school going kids and they adhere to the 8 pm bedtime but getting the toddler to sleep can sometimes take a few hours…. have I mentioned that I hate Barney? If toddler accidentally fell asleep after lunch and slept even just for 1 hour then there will be no sleeping for her before 10:30 if I am lucky. I am tired, I just want to go to bed. I want to read a magazine, i would like to watch a TV series or perhaps a movie, I don’t. As my kids are getting older though, things like Me time or hobbies are becoming a reality again but only in drips and drabs and never on week nights. Can I go sleep yet? No, not yet, there is still much to be done and I worry all day about if I am getting it right or not, am I doing it well?
Just this morning I sent my husband a message that read “I miss you, I love you. We need to find some time for each other” I had to whats app it to him because between it all I didn’t get a chance to say it to him in person. That’s not cool, that’s Overwhelming because somewhere in all this I am also a wife! I am overwhelmed but I am a Mother first, these children need my care I must carry on, we must carry on because it’s what we signed up for except nobody told us it would be this way, nobody was ever honest with me in any case.
So even if you do much more than me, feel the same as me or do far less than me, even if you feel I sound like I have no control over my children or I don’t manage my time correctly I understand that it is still overwhelming for you too. No matter what situation you find yourself in, this Mother role is not a Cakewalk no matter how you do it, chosen or otherwise alone or with support.
We are a horribly overwhelmed generation of Mother’s today faced with an information overload and a created expectancy of what a good Mother is or should be. We have many questions and thoughts like “Are we feeding our kids correctly? Are we giving them the right care/schooling/guidance? Are we keeping them safe from harmful things? Are we providing enough stability, security, love? But at the end of the day we are here to be the nurturer and WE ARE ALL THAT!
We are far too hard on ourselves. We need to stop that and if we do, we might just stop feeling so overwhelmed.