I see you anxiously looking about the shopping center as your child throws himself on the ground in yet another screaming fit of rage.
It’s hard not to notice the scowl on your brow and the color rising to your cheeks.
Although I can’t physically hear your heartbeat, I’m willing to bet it’s beating hard and fast enough for you to feel the frantic thud in your eardrums like a hammer to your head.
You’re feeling hot and flustered and your hands are clammy. You’re avoiding making eye contact with any passers-by because you just know they are looking at you and you can’t stand to feel their eyes on you – judging you, accusing you… or worse still, trying to sympathise with you.
I feel you.
Congratulations. You’ve finally got your baby girl. She’s everything you’d ever hoped for. She’s beautiful and angelic, a miraculous gift for you to love and call your own.
Everyone tells you so.
Then it’s no wonder you feel too ashamed to admit that sometimes, you don’t agree.
In your mind, this perfect little miracle is a demon who purposefully deprives you of your sleep, demanding too much of your time and stripping you down to a mere shadow of the woman you once were. You have no independence anymore. When you look in the mirror all you see is an ugly ghost staring back at you. The light in your eyes, gone.
How can you possibly explain this to anyone though? For how selfish of you! How could you ever think such horrid thoughts! Those voices echo through your head, “Be grateful you have her!”, “It’ll get easier, I promise!”, “Oh come on! You’re just fibbing! She’s amaaaaazing! Look, she’s sleeping now!”
I hear you.
I know it must be hard doing this on your own, raising three school-aged children the best you know how. You refuse to allow the stigma of being a single mother determine how you will parent. I see you trying to balance school life with extracurricular activities. I notice you looking frantically at your watch during school pick up, stressing the traffic will delay you getting to your son’s soccer training on time.
I know you do your best to be organised, by making school lunches and pre-preparing dinner. I understand how it must hurt when your children barely touch their food, neglect to say thank you for all the running about and proceed to scream, “I hate you!” when it’s time for bed.
You’ll cry yourself to sleep tonight after downing a bottle of wine to try and take “the edge off” because you lost it. You lost your shit and you screamed so loud that all the neighbours probably heard you.
I get you.
Yes, you the working mother who constantly struggles to find a balance between being a mother and a full time/part time worker.
I see you holding back the tears when you have to drop your four year old boy off during his first week of school only to rush off because you need to get to the office in time.
I know you work a job where you most likely feel undervalued and overworked to make ends meet and that just adds to your guilt, doesn’t it? It leaves you questioning your worth. “Why am I even here?”, “Why can’t I just quit and be just a Mum?”, “It’s not fair!”
When you get home late, you’ll still have chores to do. You’ll also need to break it to your daughter that once again, you’ll be missing her school swimming carnival.
I see you.
I wish I had the solution to make this parenting journey more comfortable for you and you’d believe me when I whispered, “It’ll get easier” but that would be like pointing to the light at the end of a dark tunnel that you still can not see.
I can however, offer my hand to walk this path with you.
Even with plenty of practice and ample support, these overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and frustration don’t discriminate. After all, we have decided to embark on life’s most complex challenge and that is, raising a human! And because there is already so much evil in the world, we want to succeed in raising a strong, compassionate and good human to not only survive in a dog eat dog world, but to contribute in making it a better one.
We put ourselves under enormous pressure to do this, which in turn leaves us neglecting our own needs and desires. We forget that we too, need caring for. Lean on your partner, your family, your friends, write down your feelings or get some outside help. You are never alone on this journey even if you think you are! You are most certainly, never a failure. Consuming ourselves with feelings of inadequacy are an unfortunate flaw in our genetic makeup.
With no professional guidance and armed only with the experience of motherhood myself, the best I can preach to you is that if you are trying your best, then that is enough. You’ll have good days and then, you’ll have bad ones. When the sun goes down in the evening, it’s another day passed and when it rises again (which it will!) it signals the beginning of a new day and ultimately, the chance for a brand new start.
Keep at it. You’re tougher than you know.
You’ve got this.