This is a term I’ve frequently found myself saying since having children.
However, having a wobble now and then, does not mean you cannot cope!
Parents, please feel supported and embraced when I say this.
I pen these words as a reminder that you are not alone in this ‘parenting world.’ A whole world may seem exaggerated or inappropriate, but is it just me, or does being a parent sometimes feel like we’re living and breathing a totally different world?
I say that, because when my husband arrives home after a busy day at work, his and my day at ‘work’ seem at opposite ends of the spectrum.
My argument often starts with, I know you’re tired, but …I bet you’ve at least had time to sit down today, to eat your lunch at the temperature it was intended- and have it all to yourself. I’m confident you’ve at least been able to visit the loo without intruders, or worry if the kids are ok while you’ve rushed to pee because your pelivic floor just couldn’t hold it in any longer! I’m sure you’ve had time, for some headspace- no tears or or tantrums. No reasoning with a one-year-old!
We end up being caught within a comparison trap.
My aim of these rather outspoken statements, is not to diminish or disrespect our respective other half, working so they can contribute to providing for your family. Or as in my case, so that I can be a ‘stay at home mum.’
I am beyond grateful that I have a husband who has respected my wishes to be a ‘stay at home mum’ before we even had children, and followed through with our decision for me to be just that.
But the very statement that they work, and we raise the children, sometimes makes me feel like I don’t have the right to say that I’m tired, or, it’s been a hard day, or that I’ve not stopped…
Because, all too often, being a mum is not classed as work!
Therefore, we are not entitled to a moan, a wobble or even a good old rant- because we asked for this role.
Yes, we don’t have deadlines on our back, or a manager to report to. Rather, we have ourselves as our up close and personal manager- our own worse critic!
We beat ourselves up and report back to us when our children show signs of misbehaving, or acting in a way that doesn’t line up with our morals.
We may not have targets to attain, but we try to measure up to not only our own, but the expectations of others on a daily and hourly basis.
Have I taught them enough today? Have they watched too much tv today? Did I feed them a healthy diet? Have I given them enough fresh air? Have I given them enough of my time today? And so on…
We may not have a work building to report to, but we report to the cleaner and home maintanence guys on a regular basis- us.
We constantly make sure the toilet is clean enough, just in case a visitor unexpectedly turns up and of course needs to use your loo! We wonder how the home will look when hard working other-half walks in. Will it look like you’ve done nothing all day…because of course, you are at home all day…when would other-half have the time to clean the house, do the washing etc?
So, we become our own personal office. We clean, we cook, and we beat ourselves up on the days we just don’t have the energy. We are always trying to make it look cosy and idyllic, thus comparing with others personal homes and wondering how they’ve designed it so well, how much more spacious theirs is, or just how ridiculously tidy it is compared to your home!
And so with all this, not to mention the hormones, the tiredness and sheer exhaustion mentally, physically, emotionally. The worrying about our ever aging body and the haggered face we quickly gaze at as we rush past the mirror we wish didn’t exist. Then consciously thinking about if we’ve messaged a family member or friend today, have we given the people in our world enough time this week, have we given our partners enough attention (if you know what I mean?) and that’s before we even remember the last time we washed our hair or shaved our legs!
With all that, it’s no surprise we have a wobble now and then.
It’s no wonder we have days crying out in despair ‘I just can’t cope any more. I love my kids! But it’s just too hard!’ Or, we lose our temper or come across a little stern at times.
It’s no revelation that, when offered the luxury of having time to go and do something you enjoy, by that point, you actually have no energy or motivation to do anything other than stay seated where you already are.
So a wobble, a good old cry, and a cry for help- does not mean you cannot cope.
It means you are human.
It also means you have every right to a moan and a wobble, and a cry for help.
It is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.
Of selflessness, putting aside your own pride and admitting that you are struggling. And while it will not be forever, right now, you need some additional help. Or even just the opportunity to express how you’re feeling!
It is not a sign you weren’t cut out for this, or that you made the wrong decision to have children.
Nor is it confirmation of why you stay at home with the kids while your partner goes to work. That confirmation being, that you are not cut out for the working world or that you couldn’t bring in a supportive salary. Rather it is being honest and transparent as oppose to fake and opaque!
You admit that this, however you parent, whether you’re a stay at home mum, part time worker or full time, whatever your family stature and makeup- you admit that this is much harder than it appeared when all your friends had children. Harder than you first thought. Harder now because, how you first planned things, hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
And that’s ok.
There will be days you feel rubbish, and days you need immediate assistance to prevent a miniature breakdown – we’ve all had them! There will be days you feel you’re barely managing, and days you feel confident. Days you exude energy and enthusiasm- the days you’d always dreamed of. There will be days you just have to stick on the TV and allow the characters on Cbeebies to educate your kids.
There will be days you feel like a parent who can do it all; bags packed, beach day, smooth transitions, cooperating children… and on those days, that’s where onlookers wonder how you do it!
There will be days you adore being a Mum!
There will be days you miss being you.
Days you feel like you miss out, and days you’re happy to sacrifice the things you used to do before.
There will be days you feel like your wobble will never end
There will be so many different days, sometimes all rolled into one.
And that’s ok too.
A wobble, please here me- a wobble, not every day 365 days a year, is just that, a wobble. It’s a wave of tiredness, of exhaustion, a wave of irritability, a wave of no motivation, a wave of wondering how you’ll get through the day.
And just as waves do. They pass, and the waters become calm.
So don’t permit anyone to tell you that your wobble, means you’re not coping.
Not coping, would be more than a wobble.
So wobble away girls, it’s ok. You’re not alone in this. You are doing an outstanding job, one which is a privilege, though it might not feel it at times. A job which has no instructions or rule book, yet also rewards far beyond any salary could supply. So keep going. Be encouraged. You can do this!