Today I want to share my thoughts about the hardest part of parenting that nobody talks about.
We live in a world now with so many pressures to be seen as the ‘perfect parent’. All parents know that parenting is hard but not enough of us really want to admit it. The daily realities of parenting mount up. They make us stressed (even if you have your own routine) when we don’t realize it and all of us become so very clever at disguising it.
Whether on social media or with friends and family, it’s far easier to say you are #blessed and enjoying every minute than be brutally honest and say you’re absolutely exhausted mentally and physically. As much as you adore your children, you would like just a little bit of breathing space and respite from the absolute carnage and chaos. There I said it! Who is with me?
The Responsibilities Start Much Sooner Than You Think
The minute you fall pregnant is when these responsibilities really begin. The subconscious decisions you make through your pregnancy. For example, names, locations, schools, parenting styles are all discussed, but are put on a back burner until the baby arrives. Almost scared to have real conversations in case something may go wrong.
Then that new little bundle of joy arrives and you have concentrated so much energy on the pregnancy and having the perfect birth (for you). You have attended all your birthing classes and read all the books you can get your hands on. But none of them prepare you for those first hours, days, weeks with a newborn when you have no idea what to do.
And that is the part NOBODY prepares you for, but it’s essential.
There are no classes in what to do after the baby is born. You get home. You put the car seat down in the middle of the living room and look at the baby. Look at each other and think ‘OK so what do we do now?’.
My Own First Experience of Parenting
I remember our first night at home with our first born: I felt anxious, sore, confused, exhausted and delirious, I had absolutely no idea what his cries meant. I didn’t think I had any of the natural ‘Mother’s instinct’. There was a feeling that I even scared to hold him. I thought I was the worst Mother ever and didn’t deserve this beautiful baby boy.
We had no help locally so when my husband went back to work after 4 days. It was just the baby and I, with no instructions and a throbbing cesarean scar.
Nobody told me it would take time to bond with my baby. Not everyone is lucky enough to experience that immediate rush of familiarity and overwhelming love. In some cases, and in many cases for a first time Mother, that bond will take time. Especially after difficult experiences with pregnancy or birth (or both).
What I did learn in those first few days on my own for very long hours was that my baby was actually the one reading me his instructions. He was my guide. I started to learn his cries, his needs and his cute little ways very quickly. I truly think that being alone with him with no visitors and distractions was the best thing for me.
Who Else Is Saying Parenting Is Hard? Is It Really Not Just Me?
There is a lot of chat on social media now about ‘Pulling Up the Drawbridge’ when you’ve had a new baby. Whether it’s your first or fifth child. Peace and quiet is needed to encourage your confidence in yourself and your baby. To allow yourself time to heal and not think you have to be a Super Mom with everything worked out and serving visitors tea. Allow yourself to get into your own flow or routine in your own time with what suits you with no judgement.
I’m pleased to say that this is exactly what I did with my second baby. It was a completely different experience. I didn’t feel any guilt and my confidence in my own motherhood skills was a really lovely confirmation that I could be a good Mom.
There is an insane number of ‘Mummy Bloggers’ now who actually share the nitty gritty reality of parenting. And it’s such a breath of fresh air. Knowing that you are not actually going crazy and feeling like you don’t deserve this so called privilege. BUT that you are also NOT ALONE in your thinking is so important.
Parenting is hard. We need to not only share the highs, but also the lows.
Some of my favorite blogs and accounts to follow are:
- The Unmumsy Mum - Blogger and Author of ‘The Unmumsy Mum Diary’
Sarah Turner is one of the first Mum bloggers to speak the truth about her parenting struggles. She has a huge social media following because of her hilarious honesty. It has lead to 2 best selling books and her third being released this summer. The Unmumsy Mum has made me feel normal in many a time of parenting panic!
- Happy Mum Happy Baby - The Podcast - Giovanna Fletcher
This is my weekly saviour. Every Tuesday when Gi’s podcast is released I take myself off for a walk down the beach. I listen her chat to a brilliant variety of celebs, influencers, authors and CEO Mums&Dads about their own parenting journeys. Her calm and relaxing voice always make me feel better and I love her interviews, honesty and wit.
- Mother Pukka - Blogger and Author of ‘Parenting The Shit Out of Life’
Anna Whitehouse AKA Mother Pukka is just hilarious yet inspiring in her campaigning work for Flexible work in the UK. She makes you feel that she has your back in any parenting issue. She is also incredibly funny and witty. If you need a good LOL she is your girl!
It’s important for maternal mental health, your relationships, your friendships, and for quality of life. Feeling that you know it’s ok to say you had a tough day of parenting today can be life changing!
You’re NOT Alone.