Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mother guilt and Mother pressure

Our world today is so much harder on Mothers but also a lot easier. We have modern conveniences to help our days go smoother. Washing machines, dish washers, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, not to mention the myriad of foods we can purchase from the supermarket.

We know more about health and development of our children. We know more about the effect of treating children and others poorly.
Most of us do our best with what we have at the time.

And yet somehow along the way, this is not enough, for some of us. We feel guilty if the kids have McDonalds or Hungry Jacks and feel the need to quickly say how the day before they had home made organic yogurt with fresh made granola followed by apples and strawberries picked from the garden.

Why? Because the pressure is so bloody great amongst Mothers and society. Pressure to give our children the so called best of everything. Happy Mummy, who has the house clean in case visitors pop in, washing all done, children all happy, playing nicely in their organic hand made clothes, snacking on organic food and sipping water that came from the tank outside beside the veggie patch, cause that's best too you know. Let's not get started on the must have 'educational' toys that children just can't live without.

Mothers of my Nana's generation lead quite different lives. In their day if the child ate 3 meals a day, had clothes on their back, shoes on their feet and a roof over their heads that was the best. That was enough.
Of course there would still have been pressures no doubt. But from what I can tell from Mothers of this generation talking to me, it is much greater now. They tell me how Mothers today worry too much, about little things that don't matter.

What happens when Mothers feel the guilt and pressure of being the best mother they can? We crack, we get depressed, feel angry, upset that we are not doing as good as we could. This is magnified too for many mothers who feel isolated.
Never before have we been so close in contact with the world, and yet still alone. The Internet and telephone have others at our finger tips. I love modern technology. How I can blog, email and be in contact with so many others. It can be a farce though. Others giving of themselves only what they want them to know. We can be anyone we want. Any kind of mother we want.

We do this because we want to be seen in good light. That we are doing all these wonderful, honourable things for our families, and have it all together.
I understand this. I myself do it in some ways. Wanting too for others to see the great parts of my life only.
And then I see toys all over the floor, half eaten bread rolls under the table, apple cores behind the couch, wee everywhere but IN the bowl, finger prints all over the windows, milk spilled through the fridge,and a huge pile of washing whispering to me to fold it.
Ah the flipside of reality. Hiding in the shadows, not always seen but there, and we know it.

I think in some ways mothers are scared. I know I am time to time. Scared of being judged. Scared that I am not doing everything I should, or could be doing for my children, and myself too. Scared that my children will be pissed off at me when they are older and angry at all the things I did or didn't do.

A person can make themselves sick with the pressure, worry and guilt. this is not healthy and it needs to stop.
Let go of the guilt, it does not serve you.
Let's get back to basics and focus on what our children and families really need, and not what others tell us we must have, want or be. (I don't believe children will be smarter if they listen to Mozart in utero)

Lets be there for each other, without judgement. A chat on the phone, a catchup at the park, babysitting children, passing on clothes, being honest, and most importantly in my opinion, validating each other and the perils we go though as mothers.
That is the crux of it. Feeling validated and listened to by our fellow Mother friends.
Being a Mum today is hard enough. Let's cut ourselves some slack and be there for the highs and the lows.

My name is Clare and some days my children eat cereal for tea, have food stains on their clothes, stay up til midnight and are lucky to have a bath twice a week. My home is lived in and it shows. I am who I am and that is good enough.


Megs said...

Wonderful post Clare!

My children had cakes/muffins for breakfast yesterday, sandwiches for lunch and dinner, slept in the clothes they wore all day. They got lots of love and cuddles too. I'm Megan and I'm NOT a perfect mother but I do my best.

shae said...

love it <3

Anonymous said...

wow. we are so n'sync!
i had this very subject on my mind last night and plan to blog about it as well.

you rock ;)

Nat said...

Thank you Clare.

My name is Nat and right now I am in the lowest pit of PND I have had since the birth of my child at the end of last year. I am not coping and I feel bloody guilty for not coping even though I know I shouldn't feel guilty, so I actually feel guilty for feeling bloody guilty. I'm over this. I want to go home. Except dammit, I am already home.

Clare said...

lol Megs, muffins for breakfast sounds swell! You know what they say about wearing the same clothes all day and then sleeping in them? Less washing!

apwool, too funny about being n'sync. You rock too, hardcore.

Huge hugs Nat. I know it can feel it when we are so very low, but you are not alone. Let go of that guilt, it does not serve you. Easier said than done, aye, I know. We will chat more when I see you hun.