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Motherhood – New Life, New Frustrations

by Katie Hall

 Being a parent is, to put it mildly, a challenge.

It changes us integrally. It creates new ‘triggers‘ that take us by surprise. Things that once upon a time, we didn’t even notice, are now red rag to a bull.

I’m not an angry person; I’m actually very positive, easy-going and giddy most of the time! I love life, I RELISH every single second that I experience.

So, please reader, don’t read this and think ‘jesus christ, I wouldn’t want to pass this nutter in a dark alley, what a rage machine!’ – try to think for a moment about the new things that wind YOU up that didn’t before you became a parent.

How we deal with these things is SO IMPORTANT though. It’s vital that we channel this frustration properly and don’t let it bubble over into our precious, newly developing mama-child relationships.

That’s why I love blogging so much! I find it cathartic to let loose with my frustration, to vent my feelings by putting them into coherent sentences, to discuss these things with other people who can relate to me, a new mummy, on the edge!

This is how I deal with my frustration. I can then close my laptop and play with my gorgeous son, with the weight of the world off my shoulders. How do you deal with your feelings?

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*BAD LANGUAGE WARNING*

11 New Things that Make Me See Red

1. Tell me to ‘make more time’ when I’m busy

Physicists haven’t figured out how to physically create more time yet; what makes you think that a doolally, 24 year old new mama can pull an extra few hours out of her arse?

Time is scarce. Time management is a battle when you have a reasonably large house to maintain, a boisterous 6 month old son, a group of 50k+ that you’re an admin for, and in between all that you need to piss, shit, eat, shower and help your son do the same!

Flippin’ Nora. Give me a break with this ‘make more time’ malarkey.

If I ever moan about not having enough time, flippantly telling me to ‘make more time’ is a surefire way to make me incandescent!

2. Judge me for my parenting choices

I’m all about the guidelines, I’m all about the facts, I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE and you cannot trump the science behind these evidence-based guidelines.

However, guidelines aren’t one sized fits all. I do what suits my son. I follow my paediatricians advice; we weaned before 6 months, but for medical reasons, yet I’ve been told by some Sanctimums that I shouldn’t listen to her! A seasoned, qualified medical professional paediatrician and dietitian – true story, not even joking.

“Blinkers on! Ears glued shut! Guidelines, guidelines, guidelines! Listen to me instead, a random stranger on the internet! Screw what your paediatrician says!’

*Growl!*

(Note: guidelines are important, and I would always advise people to follow them. However, medical reasons can supersede these guidelines).

Another one is not forcing my son into a routine.

‘You’re making a rod for your own back!’

My son has actually settled himself into his OWN routine. It suits him. It suits us, his mama and papa. We are all happy!

No rod here!

3. Make me feel like utter shite for formula feeding

You! Yes, YOU! I see that stank eye. I see you muttering to your mate snidely, whilst maintaining sharp eye contact with me, the disgraceful mother feeding her child a bottle (which for all you know, could be filled with expressed breastmilk).

How dare you judge? You don’t know me. You don’t know that my supply was awful due to my birth experience and severe PCOS (which can sometimes affect lactation), and that my son is lactose intolerant, meaning that he cannot drink any mammal milk – my own included, as lactose occurs in all mammalian milk.

Even if he WASN’T lactose intolerant, even if he WASN’T nearly put in hospital  with dehydration and weight loss due to my stubborn determination to EBF with a piss-poor supply, it wouldn’t be anything to do with you. Pretty sure that if I tried hard enough, I’d find something about you to judge just as harshly.

Booby milk is best. Absolutely irrefutable. However, science has brought formula a LONG way from the days of old. So, stop glaring at me like I’m poisoning my lad, and get a grip.

IN TURN: if I ever see or hear anyone giving grief to a breastfeeding mother, I will say something  and jump to their defence. Both sides of the ‘feeding fence’ get aggro, shamefully.

P.S. Thank you to my lovely EBF friends and family who don’t judge, and love us unconditionally. Thank you to all the EBF strangers I’ve met in passing who have been sweet and caring. The judgement is, thankfully, a rarity. I love you all.

4. Shaming other mothers within earshot of me

I am a gobshite, good and proper. I am defensive. I am a defender. My partner refers to me as a ‘social justice warrior‘; I call it having principles!

So, if I’m casually pushing my trolley along in the supermarket, and I hear you drop a shitty comment about someone else’s little ‘angel’ kicking up a shitstorm for sweets on aisle 7, I WILL say something.

Once upon a time, that was you. I GUARANTEE that you threw tantrums.

And don’t give me any of that ‘no I didn’t, I’d have been given the slipper’ nonsense.

All. Kids. Throw. Tantrums. At. Some. Point

It’s a natural part of child development and boundary building.

So, carry on about your business and let the inevitably stressed and embarrassed woman calm her kiddy down without your unhelpful snide remarks.

Your judgement is not welcome.

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5. Back-handed compliments

Oh LAWD. Hell no. If you have something bitchy to say to me, just say it.

Don’t butter me up just to knock me down.

You’re carrying your baby weight really well!

TRANSLATION: “CORR BLIMEY! You’ve piled on the pounds, you still look 9 months preggo!’

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6. Brand Superiority

Some of the comments I’ve seen about Aldi, Lidl, Tesco – any supermarket branded in fact – branded nappies and wipes have been so unfair!

Soz, I don’t have money to blow on water wipes and Huggies.

Aldi Mamia actually fits Max better than any other brand, and the wipes are sooooooo moist yet gentle on his little butt. Cheap, cheerful, but not shit and NOT inferior to the expensive stuff. Water itself is a chemical, so I refuse to buy water wipes for their misleading use of the term ‘chemical-free’ because I’m a self-confessed pedantic cow.

At the end of the day… these products are safety tested, and if they were’t popular there would be no demand for them, thus in turn they’d stop selling them. My boy is clean as a whistle, and even with his severely sensitive skin and terrible eczema, his bum remains blemish free because Mamia wipes are fab!

Obviously I appreciate that water wipes work for lots of mummies & their little ones; just don’t try to make me feel inferior with my cheapo Aldi wipes!

7. ‘Back in my day…’

Weaning: ‘Back in my day we weaned at 6 weeks! Here, let me give him a custard cream!’

Car seats: ‘Don’t bother following correct car seat safety, we didn’t have any of that and I was fine!’

Allergies: ‘We didn’t have any of these namby-pamby allergies when I was a young’un!’

Etc. I could go on forever.

Back in the day, doctors advised smoking as it was ‘healthy’. They prescribed medicine containing thalidomide because it was ‘healthy’. Prime examples but again, I could ramble on FOREVER.

We now know better thanks to science.

Please, don’t pull out the ‘back in my day’ argument with me.

‘We were fine!’

Lucky you. You want a medal for that? Think of all the people who ‘weren’t fine’…

8. “Sleep When Baby Sleeps!”

If I did this…

NOTHING would ever get done.

It’s a frigging tenuous balance between walking around in a zombified state, covered in baby food with a clean & tidy house, or being well rested and living in a shithole.

I’ll achieve that balance… knowing me, that’ll be when Max is 18 and has left home…

9. ‘HEY BBS!!!!!!! Have you ever thought about doing (insert shake company name here)? It’s a GR8 way to lose weight! PM me if ur interested xoxox’

If I could reach my arm through my laptop screen and out into yours and slap you silly, I would, random stranger.

Not only is it against the rules of most MLM (multi-level marketing) companies to approach people online for sales (verified with HQ of the main ones so this is fact), it is OUTRAGEOUS and wholly unethical to join mummy groups to scavenge for sales, knowing that new mums are self-conscious with their new figures. Vultures!

Take your shakes/capsules/whatever, and get out of my inbox. Expect a call from HQ as I will have sent screenshots with my official complaint.

I’ve just had a fucking baby. Stop trying to capitalise on my insecurities!

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10. ‘You’re just a young mum… what the fuck do you know?!’

Hold my coat for me whilst I sort this nob out. Jeez…

Motherhood is one of the most intensive, rapid learning processes known to mankind.

I’ve gone from absolutely bloody CLUELESS, a fish out of water, in over my head, to *fairly* competent, knowledgeable and comfortable in my parenting style in the space of 6 short months.

Yeah, I ain’t perfect and I never will be, but I LOVE my new mama role, I OWN it, I LIVE for it.

Never undermine me as a parent, especially if my age and being a first time mother are factors in your judging.

Maternal instinct does not discriminate by age.

Ok, so maybe a 40 year old mama of 4 will be more experienced, but that doesn’t make her a better mum, a more instinctive mum, a more competent mum, than a young FTM (the jury is out as to the true defintion of ‘young‘).

Having been there, seen that, and got the t-shirt doesn’t make you superior, it doesn’t overrule a young mama’s maternal instinct or capacity to learn.

11. “You should be grateful…”

Let me tell you straight.

When I’m stressed to the point of tears, tearing my fucking hair out, running around like a headless chicken on some illegal drugs trying to pull a miracle out of my arse to get my house straight, my kid fed, myself fed, plus a plethora of other menial tasks… telling me that I should be grateful isn’t helpful.

Yeah, I am SOOOOO grateful for my gorgeous son, amazing fiance, beautiful home, and every other awesome thing in the periphery.

Venting does not make anyone ungrateful. Cut mummies some bleedin’ slack!

We get stressed. We get overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean that we ever lose sight of the most precious aspects of our lives.

Sometimes, I respond politely.

Sometimes, I just shake my head and walk away.

Every now and then, I do snap back.

But I always, without fail, sit down to talk to my partner about it. I sit down to write about it. Verbalising my aggravation and stress really helps me to calm down, mellow out, and become a much more relaxed mama.

Take a second for yourself.

Discuss what’s on your mind – be it a Facebook group, your mates, family, partner…

Have a cuppa/glass of wine/G&T/whatever floats your boat.

Get it off your chest. You’ll be surprised as to how many of us are in the same boat!

At the end of the day, arseholes will always be arseholes, it’s an innate personality complex that even the harshest words and honesty about our feelings cannot and will not ever be able to change.

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However, what goes around comes around. Take heart in that, my dear readers!

Carry on with what you are doing; you’re doing an OUTSTANDING job!

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