My Mother's Day confession
Mothers Day
OK, I have a confession to make. Leading up to Mother's Day I get this antsy, passive aggressive thing going on as the day looms closer. I'm supposed to think about what I want to do to make the day special for me. I think it's all supposed to be about Hallmark card poems, black and white photo moments of mothers and kids in blissful joy, big smiles, handwritten cards and bunches of picked wild flowers. But to be honest, I find this mothering job really hard at times and the thought of a 'big deal' about Mother's Day gets me a bit upset. And then on the day, even if something special has been planned, I sometimes get in a funk and ruin it for myself. Seriously what is all that about?
The closer the 'day' looms the more and more I feel undervalued, misunderstood and hugely underappreciated.

Loving my kids is easy and sharing in their joy is a no brainer, but generally I feel like the general dogsbody, maid, cleaner, encyclopaedia, teacher, corrector, robot on repeat, picker-upper of mess, and cook. The closer the 'day' looms the more and more I feel undervalued, misunderstood and hugely underappreciated. Which, in leading up to Mother's Day is really not a good thing! (remember I get antsy!) So I think ... Mother's Day!! Yeah right, why is there so much focus on just one day? (grumble grumble).

I want to feel genuine value and respect from my kids all the time (which to be honest, I do have those moments and I know my kids love me) but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm feeling something entirely different and it's not about the above.

I'm not the 1950s martyr housewife/model-mother who feels these sacrifices are my calling. Ya know, I'm a woman too! I need a break from this 24/7 gig, or at least my tank filled up from time to time! Being a mum in 2016 is so different to being a mum in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. So many more demands - so much more to do. I've often had older mum friends who are now in their 50s or even grandparents say in loud unison that they don't envy motherhood now, that they couldn't do what we do now. So really we should pat one another on the back and say 'you've got this!'

I have to work hard to be a mum, as I really want my kids to grow up as decent human beings that contribute to society ... not drain it! I've only been a mum for 11.5 years. I work part-time and also have my own business (on hold right now). I've got three kids (5.5, 9.5 and 11.5) and  at times it's just utterly exhausting. I don't have that village or family around me to help. We don't have a regular babysitter so don't get the chance to recharge much. I do have a husband that does heaps and I am thankful I'm not a single mum (big praise ... how DO you do it?) but at times feel like I'm doing it alone.

And let's talk about chores ... almost every single time: ask, repeat, ask, repeat, get frustrated! Deep breath, explain calmly but firmly, "... Just do the chore!" I must clearly be doing it all wrong as it's such a struggle, this mighty battle, that I feel like giving up. But I don't give up (cue exhaustion). I keep going, teaching, explaining and not letting my kids skive off. I mean hello ... I could do with some help! And how come I've got friends with amazing kids who clean out the chicken coop with a smile on their face, offer to do the dishes and gleefully clean up their room (ok I made that last bit up). Seriously ... what am I doing wrong, when for the last (let's say) seven years I've been asking my child to do certain jobs - ones he's familiar with - and it's a battle still! Ugh! Anyway ... and then all kids are different. What works for one doesn't work for the others.
"Would I be this glowing mother, with a clean and tidy house, a picture of smiles, knowing looks and laughter as I gleefully mothered my kids, baked cookies, played board games ..."

A funny thing happened a few weeks ago. We were booked in to have a family lifestyle photography session at home, but my nine year old shaved his EYEBROWS off. Yes, yes he did. So we had to cancel. But I was already getting antsy about that - the pressure of how we'd be portrayed as a family. Would I be this glowing mother, with a clean and tidy house, a picture of smiles, knowing looks and laughter as I gleefully mothered my kids, baked cookies, played board games ... or would I just be so completely boring that the photographer would lose her mojo and politely use battery failure as an excuse to leave? I mean no one's going to photograph us folding the washing, telling the kids off, scrubbing the loo or cleaning the kitchen. Who or what is the real Me anymore (still working on some self esteem/worth I think!).

So am I really antsy about Mother's Day? Or is it that I'm getting in deep with (somewhere in my mixed up, sleep-deprived thoughts) pressure. Pressure to be a mother in 'this day and age'. Pressure to have it all sorted with chores, guidelines, discipline all laid out. Pressure to have kids that are super polite and respectful, that don't interrupt. Pressure to have perfectly behaved kids at school. Pressure to be a better parent than how we were brought up/treated etc. Pressure to have the house in order all the time and tins filled with baking. Oh the pressure! {cue loud explosion} 

And do we not put that pressure UPON our very selves? Yeah, I kind of think we do!
For those that had, or have, amazing mums who had it all together and led by shining example, you are blessed! For those that had it rough and didn't have much to follow, it's tough but you can do it. That moment we all become a mother it's a brand new, freshly wiped slate. Whether we had calm, laughing, gentle mums, or shouty, crazy, rough mums, we are all given the chance to make our own mark. We're in charge of our decisions, lives, thoughts and actions. We can choose how we mother our kids.

We can chose to be 'that mum' under pressure, making it so blimmi'n hard for ourselves that we're constantly overwhelmed with the 24/7 job of being a mum. We don't want to cry at the drop of a hat, let frustration build up or just plain tune out. We can choose to stop and gather our thoughts, re-evaluate, relax, go to bed earlier and smile a bit more. Ask for help, take breaks, take care of ourselves. Talk with friends, make tasks for our kids more manageable, embrace the mess, look for the good, praise more, growl less .... and if you figure out how to do ALL that, let me know!

So let's get back to Mother's Day. It can be an amazing, great, average or just awful day for some of us. Many mums get completely ignored, and some I'd imagine get the whole treatment. And then there are some of us who'd be happy with a cuppa in bed, cuddles from the kids and an enjoyable 'frazzle-free' day. 

The advice I'd give myself is to sort out expectations and priorities, and take all the pressure and confusion out of what it's really all about. Choose to be happy with the great children we've been given to care for and pat ourselves on the back. 

Happy Mother's Day every day! You're all doing a great job!

This blog was written by Kidspot Mum, Gill.

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