“I don’t even like my mommy again” was what my four year old son told his older brother and sisters, and every one of them nodded and said something to affirm it, and I just looked at all of them and walked out to go and make their dinner.
“These people don’t know anything” was what I thought, but I was also hurt. You see, the young man who said those words is the one who is so into me. He’s the first to notice changes in me, he comments about it, he’s not stingy with compliments either. Every time I make my hair, he’s the first to tell me, “Mommy, you look beautiful” and he would go on to tell me the reasons he likes the hair, and not at the same time, but over time, which means I get to hear him say something nice about me almost daily.
So, when he said, “I don’t even like my mommy again”, I knew he had seen something and was just voicing his feelings.
True, he was seeing something and it was just a case of me saying no a lot to him and his siblings these days, and being selfish as I needed to get in touch with me. This didn’t pan out well with my kids, and they made it known I haven’t been the happy, calm, and collected mommy in a while.
Even though it makes me sound like a spoilt brat, who cries for more, even when her cup is full to overflowing, I really don’t care. What I felt was a need to refuel and if pretending to be happy for the sake of others was what was expected, then I certainly couldn’t be bothered.
I definitely won’t be bothered to fake my happiness with my kids. If I’m not as natural as possible with my kids, then with whom will I be? I don’t know oh. Even though it hurts, a part of me was happy that my children get to see this I-don’t-care mommy.
Given society’s expectations of women; to get married and have kids, women who have achieved these feats are expected to be deliriously happy and fulfilled in their lives. They are supposed to be serenity personified, never fazed by any task or momma duties.
And if you have waited before getting that baby, the expectations are even higher. The reality I have found, and even heard, some mommies saying is, you are expected to exude your happiness at finally becoming a momma, no matter the situation or what your baby is doing…or not doing.
So, it’s basically going from one arena of expectations of a TTC momma to being a happy mom by force, by fire.
But you know what? It’s quite okay not to be the happy mom at times. Motherhood is tough, filled with turns and twists and, importantly, we are all being mothers for the first time and we are not all prepared for the journey equally. Some take to it like fish to water, and some struggle with it at times, but the truth is, we all do it.
However, there are some circumstances that you should tell it as it is, like I am now; no camouflages, just laying it bare, being yourself, whether it’s the happy mom that surfaces or the busy mom or the I-don’t-care momma. Just breathe and accept the momma on duty.
When a struggling mom approaches you for help, keep it real
I know faking it until you are it is a thing now, but faking being happy is not called for when a fellow sister approaches you for help.
I have had reasons to ask for help, and I cannot qualify the honesty of the moms whom I reached out to, and the advice they proffered.
For my sake and that of my children, some of these moms removed the façade and showed me the reality of their lives, their struggles and pain. And in some cases, that was all I needed to see, that they also had their issues and that I wasn’t doing badly at being a mom after all.
There is no more appropriate time to be real than when another mom friend needs you. When I first became a mom, I thought that everyone else was doing it right and there was something defective about me. Until my eyes opened, and I realised that we mommas are very good at underground moves.
When you are in your own house
This is a sacred, safe place and you should not have to fake anything, anytime you are home. This is your home, your sanctuary, and if you want to cry, feel free but please don’t do it often in front of the kids.
If and when it’s time for a meltdown, I shut myself in my room and have a go at it, without an audience, and we are all the better for it, when I feel great again.
When you are dealing with some issues in your life
It takes a lot of emotional energy to pretend to be happy, when you’re not. If you’re going through some heavy life stuff, you’re probably already using up a lot of your energy reserves as it is. Add to that the work of caring for children, and it’s a wonder you’re just not spontaneously combusting or going off on a bender.
When I’m going through the not-so-glamorous sides of life, I don’t even bother with trying to hide it. I just disappear. I sometimes do not step out of my house except for school runs for days, when those days happen.
But I find that my hibernating moves help me to clear the cobwebs and focus on what’s really important.
I must however point out that this article is not a licence to stay down in the dumps and become an official Debbie Downer, but the truth is, life is full of ups and downs, even more so for a momma.
Rather than behave as though every single moment of motherhood is bliss (and I see that a lot on social media, but then I guess that’s why it’s social media…not real), why not go with the flow and let the joy within be the anchor instead?
Go with the flow mamas.
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