During the last two weeks I have read numerous articles on mums who have testified on how they have worked out mental and other methods of taking care of themselves, before working their bodies into oblivion, taking care of their children, husbands and households.
It got me thinking about, well myself as well as a few conversations I have had in the last two months with other mums but also single friends and single mums.
Growing up, my mums favorite thing to say when we where naughty was “you will only appreciate me when I’m gone!” This usually injected enough fear into the situation to stop us doing whatever we where doing (greatest fear being losing a parent).
However, as we got older, it sounded more like an idle threat, because obviously she wasn’t going anywhere except up insanity hill with three girls bickering over headbands.
I remember clearly the one day she absolutely lost it with us, and whilst preparing a chicken for supper, she dropped everything and tried to separate the physical fight happening between the three of us with her chicken fat hands, we kept slipping out of her hands and in the end she fell in the commotion ( …she may have been pushed).
Later that night she complained to my father of how “these children are one day going to kill her.”
Despite my promises of never being like my mother, I have ended up a modern day version of her, and now having daughters, I see how they are becoming like me. A lot, of my friends relate to this and perhaps you can to.
My mother was always the last one to eat. I never have seen my mother eat first.
She dishes out food for everyone even the grandchildren and then only sits down to eat. Subconsciously and very very miserably this is now my bad habit… I have taken it to the level where I will make sure that the kids have even eaten a second helping before I eat.
This has had a huge negative impact on me, especially with having a fourth breast feeding baby. It means I get to literally wait on the kids and hubby whilst my baby “waits” for mum to eat so that she can drink afterwards.
The situation came to a boil when at one of our family get together’s (which we where hosting). I had skipped lunch and was watching the entire extended family eating a second helping at supper whilst Rosie bounced on my hip and pulled at my clothes, when I realized how miserable I became when I am hungry.
My husband who always bears that “what do women really want “ at meal times was anxiously watching my face and realized the impending public meltdown, pulled the baby away from me and forced me to eat.
Later that evening he staged an intervention. I obviously love myself so there’s no issues with self loathing…so why am I punishing myself with always eating last?
I cant answer it except to say that food symbolizes love. So, I love seeing my family eat but the argument holds no logic if I martyr myself in the process and jeopardize poor Rosie who is eagerly awaiting a nip (breastfeeding talk for nipple). Things have got to change.
Guilt ridden soul.
I live in guilt no matter what I do. If I am spending time with the kids, I am guilty about not working hard enough.
If I am working I am guilty of not spending enough time with the kids.
If we order take out during the week, I am guilty of not providing a nutritious meal ( God forbid another judgmental mum catching me in the drive through line at Mcdonalds…if so, avoid eye contact…you both know what you doing here…no reason to point fingers or even explain).
If I do my nails, I am always annoyed with the nail tech for taking too long. If I don’t do my nails, I am guilty of letting myself go…
The list goes on and on.
Last week, after two years of never being away over night, we celebrated my husband’s birthday with the only treat that he really wanted which was time away to ourselves.
We laughed at how I always walk fast, eat fast and power nap whilst he drives, losing the opportunity to live in the moment and have real conversations.
Things have got to change.
The kids always get better clothes, and gifts than me:
Its not a matter of money, it’s a matter of priority. My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said a pressure cooker! He choked laughing.
What happened to the diamond obsessed girl? Diamonds don’t cook the food I guess… This has GOT to change.
Why so much change? Well, look at the little eyes watching us.
Just as we watched our mums sacrifice, complain and sacrifice some more, one day our daughters will grow up vowing never to be the same but ending up being carbon copies, just in a different era.
Our sons (scarily) will end up expecting the same from their wives. The cycle has to stop. I have had the stark realization that I am the happiness catalyst in my home. I am the parent spending most of the time with the kids and if I am happy so are they.
Mums lets stop martyring our happiness and lets start the change!
Guest Post by Lyndall Moses
I am a mum of four, aged 8,6,4 and 1. I am also wife to one and catmother to one. We have a busy household which is both fun and exhausting. I have two businesses. One which has two labels. Hannah Grace breast feeding basics and Kids emporium maternity. All my clothing has and is worn by me, as I am a firm advocate of breast feeding and cost effective maternity clothing. Read about my breast feeding journey as well as the craziness of being a mom of four on my blog.
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