Friday, 9 September 2016

I'll let you in on a little secret.... Parenting sucks a lot of the time!

Wine is in hand, kids have been gifted with an early bed time and I feel it is time to time speak some truth. No instagram filters, no photo shop, no gloss.
A LOT of the time parenting sucks. It is seriously time we were open about this.

Parenting can be brutal. There are real moments where you could be forgiven for mistaking parenting with a really shit job because the features are quite similar. Overworked, no overtime or on call fee, no lunch break, no sick leave, persistent annoying colleagues, minimal recognition, professional development or opportunities for self care. Essentially rotating shift work that never ends.
Rest assured, I adore my children and feel very blessed to have them in my world, I have a loving and supportive husband and have a relatively optimistic view of the world. But I feel that as mother's we feel the need to give our reality a social media makeover with extra filters and gloss in order to fit in, to bypass judgement from others, mother's guilt or feeling like a failure. Often due to the negative not being spoken about you can feel like a shit parent, think that everyone else is 'doing' parenting better and begin to doubt your own ability.
Why is this? Why is it that in a world where more of my friends  are parents than not, are we all pretending to each other that it’s high fives, cuddles and sweet dreams 24/7? Why do we only share pictures and stories of the glory and none of the hell?
It’s not all tears in my wine glass; parenting is also awesome and no parent I know would give back their child, but being in charge of a baby is the hardest thing on the face of the planet.
It is not the actual tasks involved in parenting that make it so hard; it’s the absolutely exhausting sleep deprivation that sends you totally insane, and the monotony, and the seemingly unending, repetitious feeding/changing/getting baby to sleep, whinging, toddler tantrums and the realisation that your own needs are so far down the list, and the sadness and futility and depression that this is your life now.

It would be nice if a truer experience of parenting were spoken about publicly. How come none of the books  I read or classes I attended told me to prepare for insanity, emotional rollercoaster or feelings of despair?   And how come they didn’t say that this was normal?

It can be so incredibly isolating when you have kids. People think you are too busy to hang out, but really you are just a slave to these little dictators and their sleeping routines! Personally I no longer know what it is like to relax, or sit in silence as my recently developed  supersonic hearing prevents me from missing a beat.

There’s a loss of identity that comes with parenting: if you are a person who has/had a career that you are interested in continuing, how do you manage that? How do you ‘stay in the game’ without compromising your children/marriage? If you consider going back to work you can be seen as 'too career focussed' and neglectful however if at home you can often feel past it or reached an expiry date professionally.

How do you manage childcare/work/life balance? These are genuine questions that I have grappled with and I know many other mums and dads have too.

By no means am I trying to say that my lot is better or worse than anyone else’s life; I’m trying to say that everyone does it tough with young kids, but never in a million years would I trade my children (however sometimes an auction on ebay is tempting).

So to all of you who are feeling alone and imagining that everyone else is having the time of their lives, think again! We’re all in this together! It is ok to fantasize about running away with the circus, locking yourself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine or aimlessly walk around the supermarket purchasing utter crap to make yourself feel better. Do whatever you need to do to feel reassured, encouraged and not lose your mind.

In light of R U OK day, Here’s an idea: let’s talk openly about the highs AND the lows. Feel free to share something, anything. Go on. It might make you, me, or someone else feel better.

X Grace


Anonymous said...

So well said Grace and really exactly how i am feeling this week. I had a career before kids but at the moment am wondering do i change careers to fit in more with the family or go back to what I know or hold off a bit until my littlest 2 year old is a tad bigger.
Being a Mum is so bloody tough, but something that i so longed for too... i think somehow the challenges of the early years will be overtaken by ones of the bigger years... teenage years with 3 girls.... save me! But gosh i love my girls with all my heart.... parenting/ mothering is such a tug of war between good and not so good. Thanks again Grace xx

Anonymous said...

Its Jo Romeike.

Rachel Bennett said...

Well said Grace, yep, parenting definately sucks sometimes, you've articulated it well. Lots of love xxx