Pressure to be the “perfect” mum, it’s there every single day. We can blame social media but ultimately we need to let go a bit and realise that we’re all just doing our best. External pressure come from all over the place, TV, magazines, even your friends seemingly perfectly clean and tidy home. We can take all this on board and drive ourselves bonkers with worry about not being the best OR we can say no, f%@$ it! You are so so much more than a tidy home, perfectly clothed children and a neat hair do!
Right, time for some truths!
Myth – Everyone else has such tidy homes, all the toys are neatly sorted and there’s no crumbs on the floor. Why can’t I make my home like that, where am I going wrong?
Truth – Ten minutes before you arrived, (perhaps for a play date), your friend was encouraging (shouting?!) at her kids to please put some toys away, please let’s at least see the carpet! She quickly went round with the hoover and bashed cushions to remove crumbs. She grabbed a load of washing, clothes, random “upstairs things” and chucked them on her bed out of the way. No doubt she’ll forget about them until bedtime so they’ll be pushed onto the floor and left there for a few days, a week, who knows.
Myth – Oh look at her, so calmly walking to school with all her children. Why don’t my children listen to me like that?
Truth – Hahaha! You really think her children have been listening to her all morning? Nooo. She’s dealing with exactly the same morning annoyances as you. Lost shoes, no socks, a sudden lack of school tops, a missing water bottle, lies about tooth brushing. Then there’s course number 572 of breakfast, I could go on! She’s racing up and down the stairs trying to get everyone out of the house on time and somehow the kids think it’s time to laze on the sofa half dressed. We really aren’t so different!
Myth – Oh her children eat such healthy well balanced meals every day!
Truth – Where did you see that, instagram? Come on, we all have our easy meal nights and struggle with fussy eaters. Most families have at least one child that isn’t happy with what’s been served up. My kids do love fruit and some veg but we all have preferences. For example none of them like cooked carrot but love it raw, ok have raw carrot with your roast. Sometimes they eat the raw veg as I’m preparing dinner, absolutely fine with me! The odd breakfast for dinner night goes down well too. I also have one child that will eat spag bol, one that prefers cheesy pasta and one that doesn’t like melted cheese so has grated cheese next to his plain pasta! If it’s close to being the same dinner (they all ate pasta right?!) then really I’m not going to stress over it.
Myth – How do all these other Mums manage to do all these amazing arts and craft activities with their children all day long?
Truth – Again, Insta/Facebook? Do you really suppose that your fellow Mums are interacting with their children every second of everyday? That somehow, unlike you, they have unlimited engaging activities up their sleeves. Reality check Mama! Truth is we are exhausted, truth is sometimes CBeebies is the answer or Netflix or whatever. Sometimes my children are amused for a short while by sending endless emojis to Daddy whilst I send some emails or make myself a cup of tea! It’s fine.
In reality nobody is perfect and would you actually want to be anyway? What are we teaching our children if everything always has to be just so – that they can’t make mistakes? That they can’t make a mess? They can’t switch off and be lazy sometimes?
And don’t feel guilty about all those shortcuts you make. We are programmed to take easy options, to conserve our energy. Dry shampoo days, cereal for dinner, wipes to clean. Whatever makes your days a little easier, especially on those harder days. Perhaps if we were all a little more truthful about our day to day lives then we’d stop feeling so pressured. Go ahead, moan to your friends, share a post online of your messy house, stop being afraid to just be… well… human! We’re all working this whole motherhood thing out as we go along, you could call it winging it or “learning on the job!”
I’m 9.5 years in and believe me I’m still learning. My baby days might be in the past but there are many new challenges to face!