I am a lucky mum – #blessed, many would probably say. But sometimes I worry that I come across as a bit of a moany mum. If you know me, then hopefully you’ll know that I’m not generally a moany sort of person. Yes, I’m often flustered. Sometimes overwhelmed. I am also, I hope, generally pretty cheerful. If I’m not crying (which I do, sometimes), I’m usually smiling.
But as mums I think we often feel like we need to justify ourselves when we have a good moan, just in case someone comes back to us with ‘well you chose to have children didn’t you?’ Even if no-one says it, we are aware that someone is probably thinking it. So it’s there constantly in your mind – the feeling that you must keep explaining yourself: ‘but I know I’m very lucky. I’m grateful for my children every day’.
And I do tell myself every day how fortunate I am to have my three little boys.
I am also thankful that we have a roof over our heads, that we’re all healthy and that we live in a democratic country.
But knowing that I’m fortunate doesn’t make it easy to deal with an over-tired child who is refusing to get ready for bed and lashing out at everyone and everything because he doesn’t want to put his pyjamas on.
It doesn’t make it easy to deal with a boy rolling around on the pavement because he’s just dropped a biscuit.
Nor does it make it easy to cook the tea while two boys are wrestling on the floor over a cuddly tiger and a third is attempting to reach the biscuit tin.
Knowing that you’re fortunate doesn’t mean you actually know what you’re doing.
But what does help me, sometimes, is writing it down; and hearing that other mums (and dads) can relate. Because I know all of these things are normal, but sometimes you just need to hear ‘me too’; and then somehow it’s easier to remember how lucky you are. Let’s remember that feedback is not particularly forthcoming when you’re working with small children – for some reason they’re not interested in hearing about what hard work they are.
Sometimes I worry (I do worry quite a lot) that I’m doing my boys an injustice by mainly concentrating on the craziness. But just because I write about how hard it is doesn’t mean that all my boys ever do is play up. It doesn’t mean that they’re always crying over broken crackers or who’s got the blue cup. Sometimes we have brilliant days, every so often we have an awful day; but most of the time we have fairly normal days with a mixture of good and bad bits. I mainly write about the bad or the funny bits – the other bits aren’t really that interesting to anyone but us and their grandparents.
To me, my boys are adorable; but they are children, there are three of them, and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in the madness.
I could stop focusing on all the hard bits, and change the tone of my blog:
“Just had such a magical day with my boys at the zoo. I’m such a lucky mummy.”
That sort of thing.
But for me, the bits that go well just aren’t as interesting to write about (and there are so many others who do it much better). If I’ve just been out for a lovely lunch with my boys, I don’t have the urge to fill everyone in on how amazing it was. It doesn’t mean we don’t have lovely lunches (honestly).
If you’re a parent who has just had a bad day, then what you normally want to read about is something you can relate to. Or if you’re having a difficult time with sleep or weaning or potty training or anything else, then sometimes it helps to hear about someone else who’s finding things equally rubbish. You want reassurance that your experience is normal.
So I write about the things that go wrong, the things that are difficult, and the little things that are ridiculous about parenthood. The things that none of us ever imagined we would spend our time doing or saying. I mainly write about these bits because I know that, however hard they are at the time, they’re actually quite funny.
So yes, of course we chose it. And of course we’re lucky. But it’s still ok to feel like we’re sometimes just a bit rubbish at it, and to talk about that as well.