I had one thing I wanted to do this weekend. One thing. I wanted to go shopping. On my own. For a whole day. I planned to drive to a shopping centre where I could relax, get coffee, take a leisurely stroll round the shops. Without screaming kids or having to stop to fed, clean or soothe a baby.
So when I looked out the window yesterday my heart sank. Snow. Lots and lots of snow.
I wasn’t going anywhere.
And all of a sudden my one single afternoon of freedom in months went out the window.
Now I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t seriously consider going to sit in my car for a few hours. Or curling up in a cupboard where my children couldn’t find me. Part of me wanted to shout, stamp and scream like my 5 year old does when things don’t go her way.
Because I needed a break. I wanted to escape my life, just for a while.
And that’s ok.
The brutal reality of motherhood is something that we don’t really talk about. A lot of that is because it’s not something that hits all of us, all of the time.
But for some of us, there have, are or will be times when the realisation hits us that being a mum is really fucking hard. And relentless. Boring. Exhausting. Borderline soul destroying.
I’ve been lucky with my kids, they’ve all been pretty good from day 1. Even so, there are days when I really just want to walk out the house and have a break.
Motherhood can become a blur of repetitive, mind numbing activities. Feed the baby. Change the baby. Do the school drop off. Put baby down for a nap (4 or 5 times a day because he only sleeps 20 mins in one go!). Do the school collection. Cook dinner. Eat food. Bath children. Put them to bed.
Again and again and again.
It’s enough to drive anyone insane.
Yes, sometimes the days are broken up with visits, baby groups or just running chores but it’s always with a baby or children in tow. It’s very rare that I get any time to myself and any time I do get is usually spent working, cleaning or getting ready to be ‘mum’ again.
That’s the same for most mums really. So it’s natural that at times, it will feel a little overwhelming. It’s OK if you’re sitting there thinking “I cannot do this any longer”. It’s understandable if you look around at your house or kids and think “is this it?”. Or if you wish that you could just get some time without any of it. To be alone. To run away. Or escape.
So if that’s you, this is what you need to know.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling this way. If any mum tells you she’s never felt like this she’s either lying or her children are perfectly programmed robots. What’s not OK is keeping it to yourself. It’s far better to talk about things if you’re reaching this point. Just ranting to a friend over a cup of coffee can get you feeling back on track and like you can totally nail this motherhood malarkey. And if it doesn’t then there is plenty of support out there for you. You just need to reach out and find it.
When you reach this point, try to find little ways you can get a break. Ask your partner or family members for help. Pay for a babysitter or a few sessions in nursery if you can. Make the most of the time without baby around too. Don’t waste it on household chores or errands. Prioritise yourself and indulge in some self care. Have a nap – tiredness is a killer and will definitely impact on how well you feel you can cope at times.
Most importantly keep reminding yourself that you won’t feel like this forever. It will pass. You will feel better. You will feel like you can be a great mum. And you will be able to enjoy motherhood and all of the amazing things it has to offer.
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