I used to always visualise myself as the perfect Stepford wife and mother. I would imagine my life to be filled with baking, perfectly behaved children, play dates and walks around the park. The reality has been a bit different and even though I wouldn’t change my children for the world I wish I could have changed my expectations earlier on to save myself from so much guilt.
Since I was a child myself all I’ve ever wanted is to be married and a mummy, I used to play getting married to my cat (lol) and used to always be playing with my dolls. My baby doll was called Hannah and I took her everywhere with me, but sometimes my cat Dinkey would get dressed in one of my old baby grows and get pushed around the house. I remember actually counting down the years as a child until I would be able to have a child, which I always figured would be 29 like my mother. I fell in love at 20 and went on to be married at 23 and pregnant with my child a few weeks later, so I didn’t manage to stick to plan like my intentions.
My own mother has always made it look so effortless and I just assumed my expectations of life would be the same. My mum even told me her labour pains had been like period pains and being constipated, didn’t last long and she didn’t need the gas and air. My mum was either lying or has an amazing pain threshold, as my labour couldn’t have been more different. We grew up in a big house down a private road in Biddenham,Bedfordshire, my dad worked from home and my mum worked for my dad, our house was like a showhome and we had every toy we could have imagined. My childhood at home with my mum and sister was perfect in my eyes, but I’m sure I don’t remember the struggles my mum had gone through to keep a house that size clean, the financial side of my parents having to sell the home which they had built together to downsize. My parents hid everything for us and we were blissfully unaware.
For the first two years of parenting I kept it all in check and lived out my dream as I had planned, we did long walks in the park, we baked, we did play dates and we even got out the bastard play doh. The thing is one child is a lot easier than two and is 100% twice the work and Miss J was an exceptional easier baby and toddler than her brother. Once I was pregnant I started to find it tough, I didn’t have the energy to keep up with my daughter as much especially with SPD, but I told myself once the baby was here it would be nice and lovely and easy again. I can’t believe how naive and stupid I was. Mr T had reflux, didn’t sleep and was generally a hard baby and I had a toddler who resented him for taking so much of her mummy’s time away.
It’s been a long 18 months, but eventually my daughter bonded with her baby brother and I’m learning to let go of the guilt. I know I’m far from perfect and I know I never will be, but at the end of my day my children our mostly happy, they are clean, they have full tummies, too many bloody toys and a rather messy house to live in. My expectations have had to be lowered so the mummy guilt doesn’t consume me and add to my postnatal depression. My house will not be tidy for years to come and no one gives a rats ass if my windows are covered in finger prints. I am doing my best even if we are just surviving from day-to-day at times. This stage will not last forever and these children won’t always be small, but the house can wait and I will appreciate them whilst they are still young enough to need me so much. Play doh may come out on the odd occasion, we will bake together if its someones birthday and we will go for walks in the park when we have the energy and patience. I won’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve everything I have had planned I will praise myself for what we did manage.
I am not the perfect mum and I never will be and I will not punish myself anymore for this.
Read embracing the rubbish parent