I love to highlight the many positives of motherhood, and celebrate the joy that a baby can bring to your life. However, I am 100% against the ‘white washing’ of parenthood that seems to exist on social media, parenting blogs, celebrity interviews in gossip magazines; the rose-tinted view peddled to the adoring public by means of glossy covers is not accurate or truly representative, and it casts false illusions.
Giving a frank perspective can attract criticism.
“Aaaah, don’t be so negative…”
“So many horror stories, only give me positive experiences please.”
“You’re scaring new parents!!!!!”
Parenting is hard, for many reasons, but for me, I’d say the most significant battle is the emotional exhaustion, more so than the physical tiredness, lack of time, stress etc. Hiding this fact doesn’t benefit anyone, so I want to share my experience to help other parents feel less alone.
Today, I am SO emotionally exhausted, I cannot even adequately describe it. I could happily eff off on a plane to literally anywhere.
Max is full of lurgy, and is coughing so much that he’s crying every half an hour throughout the night, sometimes vomiting from coughing so hard. Bear in mind, this is a child who usually sleeps 12 hours solid. I hate that he’s suffering. I hate that I’m barely sleeping. The entire situation isn’t helped by his discovery of ‘throw down’ tantruming (when they chuck themselves onto a floor in a temper), a refusal to eat anything remotely nourishing, and constipation due to aforementioned shit eating. My brain is fried, my house is upside down because he likes to make a mess as part of his rampaging tantrums, and flights to Bora Bora are looking increasingly attractive…
I’ve been chatting to my mummy friends, online and offline, and I definitely feel less abnormal for having these feelings, and for my emotional tolerance wavering so much. I’m not alone. There is absolutely no shame in admitting these feelings!
Illness. Developmental leaps. Sleep regressions. Clock changes. Tantrums. Food aversions. Honestly, for every heartwarming moment you experience as a mama or papa, you’re being bombarded with even more shit from all angles, and it takes all your emotional strength to fight through the fog and see the beautiful, blinding light of the sun cast by the centre of your universe – your wee baby. It is strength-sapping, knackering and a constant character assassination, because you’re constantly doubting yourself as a parent when you have a child screaming blue murder even after you’ve tended to their every whim.
Let me tell you – it is NORMAL, and you’re not alone at all.
Anxiety. Stress. Anger. Exasperation. Guilt. The emotions that come with it all are burdensome, it’s no wonder that so many mummies find themselves washed out and emotionally exhausted, carrying around these feelings. Anxious over every aspect of their baby, health, wealth. Stressed because let’s face it, KIDS ARE BLOODY STRESSFUL. Anger when they’re naughty. Exasperation when they draw on the walls for the 10th time this bloody week (true story). Guilt for being cross with them and feeling like a bloody shite parent because despite everything you do to make them happy, they never seem satisfied. It is SO MUCH to handle.
Children are a constant work in progress; not a ‘pet project’ by any means, but the carving of a masterpiece rivalling Michelangelo. Every moment, you are sweating over this insanely complex work of art, having emotional moments where you wonder why you even started it, wondering when you’ll begin to see it taking discernible shape, doubting your skill. When it all comes together though, you’ll see that it was all worth it.
The emotional exhaustion is worth every tear, tantrum and moment locked in the bathroom with a glass of wine and your Spotify playlist playing on full volume to drown out the latest tantrum. Keep that in mind during the truly shitty moments, cherish every single beautiful moment of cuddles, kisses, cuteness and pride and keep them as your guiding light on the knackering journey of parenthood, and you’ll be alright. <3
Love and hugs from Katie. Xx