Last week I had dinner with my good friend at The Hoxton Hotel, Shoreditch – we met 10 years ago in NYC and ended up living in the same apartment block in Manhattan. We felt like the new age cast of ‘Friends’ and relished in the idea of popping into each others apartments to borrow makeup, wine, clothes, etc.
Ten years, 2 weddings and 4 kids later…
…we quickly realised our Saturday night dinner conversation was a far cry from the banter we used to have over a poached egg brunch on a luxury hangover. Luxury meaning without kids.
My friend has a little girl who has just turned 5 months – she also has a 2.5yr old toddler. I asked her how it was all going…
We talked openly and frankly about motherhood – about our husbands – about work issues – about financial issues. We laughed and we moaned but mainly it was so nice to know we are all in the same boat..
Being a mother is hard. This is no joke.
A good friendship is being able to open up and speak the truth about all sorts of things. Sometimes the best release we can have is to be able to sit and rant to your friend. My best friend and I even have a name for it. We would say ‘fancy a BWC drink?’ This stands for ‘Better Wives Club’. Ranting to each other over wine made our worries and stresses lift which inevitably made us not ‘nag’ so much to your partners. Everyone wins!
Trouble is – I find there are lots of women who sugar coat everything and in retrospect make you question yourself and feel like you’re failing when you’re not.
My NCT group was a perfect example. We all met up when our babies were 5 weeks old. Four of the mothers were gushing about how amazingly well their babies were sleeping, how much they loved their partners, and how everything was marvellous. I was so envious that they were all doing so well in this new life we had to adjust to so magnificently. I could have lied and said how well I was doing too, but instead I decided to lay all my (exhausted) cards on the table.
My baby doesn’t sleep and my husband is driving me insane!
There I said it!
And it felt good.
It was a release, but as much as I tried to fight it, I could feel my eyes starting to fill with tears as the tiredness and ‘failure’ label started to seep out from my soul.
The new mothers stopped in their tracks, peered at me over the rim of their coffee cup with a furrowed brow…
Had I said the wrong thing? Then one by one, all the coffee mugs were planted onto the saucer with a thud, coffee spilling on to the table with a exasperating sigh of relief. Then these wonderful new mothers said in unison ‘ yeah me too’.
It was an amazing feeling to know I wasn’t alone. This openness sparked a brand new lease of friendship – and has continued throughout all the years of motherhood.
Motherhood is a journey and every step encounters new tasks and challenges.
My children sleep through the night now (an issue I was haunted with for a long time) but now I have new issues such as eating habits and finishing homework. I know these too shall pass and I’ll learn and grow from it with the help and support from other mothers – because we’re all in this together and it’s important to look out for each other along the way.
When times are tough – I like to remind myself of these small but effective truths to get some clarity and calm; I hope they work for you too.
- Everything is going to be ok. It really is… especially after a coffee, or a good cry, or wine!
- It’s ok to say NO to things I found myself always saying YES to things to keep myself busy when most of the time I was exhausted. If you don’t want to go a play group that is mainly a room filled with mothers singing irritating songs to their uninterested babies then don’t go. Simple.
- No one has their shit together Even those women who look like they have it all sorted – they don’t. Nobody has all their shit together all the time.
- Be honest and kind to yourself – It’s exhausting trying to pretend that everything is ok when sometimes it’s not. So be honest and open with yourself and see how many women can relate to this. Talk about it with other mothers to lift the stress.
- Accept help when it’s offered – If someone wants to help you – let them. Don’t be too proud to say you need a little help
- There is no such thing as failure – What we think we get wrong, just means we can grow and learn from it.
- Look forward – My mother smiles at me when I talk to her about how tired I am or how I feel I am spinning plates. She always tells me to enjoy every second. When they leave home and go to university we’ll want all these days back again.
- Lean on your partner more often – Because we’re able to grow a human inside us (wow) doesn’t mean we know all the answers when they are outside of us. My husband asked me the other day ‘why is the baby crying?’.. your guess is as good as mine babes. Let’s figure it out together because I don’t always have the answers.
- Sit still We’re supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps. How many of you actually do this? Instead of forcing yourself to nap, I like to sit down in silence and read. The laundry/dishes can wait 30 mins longer.
- Ignore Instagram – Anyone can make anything look wonderful on Instagram – and unfortunately it can make us compare. Please remind yourself that nobody puts up the bad things in life – and everyone has their own shit going on behind these little squares.
- It does get easier – True. Words spoken from every mother who has grown up children.
- Everybody rows – I heard on the radio that the average couple (before kids) bickers once a month. After kids this goes up to 6 times per month. It’s normal.
To add to this – of course our partners are there of us too – but as you may have already figured out,
men and women are very different kind of species…
They don’t like to talk as much as we do – they like to fix an issue rather than listen, agree with you or offer advice whilst telling you how nice you look. Ha!
I’ll end this post with saying this – you are wonderful – and mama, you still got it. You never lost it!