I think before having kids everyone has an idea in their mind to the mum they want to be. The thing is we actually have no idea what we are in for. You can read every parenting book ever published, listen to all the advice from friends and family and follow every mum blogger or Insta influencer and still feel like you don’t have a clue once the baby comes. I had a really strong idea of the mum I wanted to be and it definitely didn’t go to plan.
The Mum I Wanted To Be
Now I know what you probably think of course you wanted to be the super mum but in reality that not what I wanted. I knew I was never going to be the type with the Montessori setup and doing educational activities from 6 months old. Definitely not the mum with the Insta worthy lunch boxes. I wanted to be the chill mum, the down to earth mum, the mum all the kids loved and wanted to be around. The mum with her sh*t together but most of all the happy mum.
Where It All Started To Go Wrong
I thought I would be a natural, that that mother instinct would kick in and I would take to things like a duck in water. In the beginning, I’d like to think I did. The labor was exactly that, it was like my body knew what it was doing and just did it. To be honest it was all so quick and such a blur I don’t remember much of it now. Maybe that was my body’s way of making sure I had another. The moment I started to realise I had no idea what I was doing was when we got to the ward. My son had issues feeding, screamed all night. I was beyond exhausted and the sound of his cry stressed me more than I could imagine. We stayed for 4 days in the hospital because I just wasn’t ready to leave. I still had no idea what I was doing.
The Guilt Was Not Something I Was Prepared For
As the weeks and months passed I started to realise I was never going to be the mum I wanted to be. Every time he cried it felt like listening to a fire alarm. All I wanted to do was make him happy but I had no idea how to do that. He wasn’t a sleeper and I found myself starting to resent him. Why wouldn’t he just sleep? He was exhausted, I was exhausted it seemed like the only logical thing for both do us to do! If anyone asked how I was I if course told them things were great. I didn’t want anyone seeing me for the terrible mother I felt I was. I carried around this immense amount of guilt that my child deserved better. Why couldn’t I be the mother I wanted to be. What was wrong with? Having a baby was all I had ever wanted and now I was failing miserably at it.
Thank Goodness For A Friend
Two kids in and you know what I still wasn’t handling stress any better. When I struggled I felt like the kids were doing things to me. That they were purposely making things hard for me. I would get angry, yell, scream. Lose my cool. I would fly off the handle and then sit on the floor and cry because I was so ashamed of how I had treated them. Sometimes they would come to console me which would just make me feel even worse. They were the perfect little people in the world and yet I would get so angry at them, have so little patience. I finally confided in a friend with how much I was struggling and she told me how I was feeling wasn’t normal and I needed to see my doctor.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
After speaking with my GP I found out I had postnatal depression and anxiety. It explained a lot. I was constantly in a state of fight or flight and my emotions were always running a mile a minute. Unfortunately, when I found out it only made me feel worse. Again the guilt flooded in. Why me, why can’t I handle motherhood like millions of other mums? Why did I need help? Why didn’t I get help sooner instead of letting this drag on for years? I got the help I needed by seeing a counselor and going on some medication. Things started to improve greatly.
The Road To Becoming The Mum I Wanted To Be
Now came the hardest part. I had to work on retraining myself and my behaviors. I had spent so long giving in and allowing these emotions to control my behaviors. Doing things out of habit. The yelling as soon as someone didn’t listen to me or getting stressed out and aggravated by kids being kids. I had spent years telling myself I’m just not a patient mum. I’m the hot mess mum, It’s just who I am. That wasn’t the case. Now more than ever in my life, I needed to work on me. My children deserved that. Nothing was their fault and only I could change how we were going to be moving forward.
I’m not the mum I wanted to be but I’m a hell of a lot closer. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I actually got there. The biggest thing I’m focusing on low is being a happy mum. That doesn’t mean being happy 24/7 but instead being able to see the happiness in my life. I still struggle with my depression and anxiety but I am also constantly working on bettering myself. I don’t think that will ever stop. I have been blessed with two beautiful children and for them, I will become the best mum that I can be. Not a perfect mum, the best one I can be.
Something I had to let go of first was mourning the mum I wanted to be. The feeling like I had failed like I wasn’t good enough. I created the image of that mum in my mind before I knew anything about being a mum. Moving forward I will be the mum who has good days and bad days but who can start each new morning with new possibilities with a positive perspective because more than anything my kids don’t need a perfect mum, they just need a happy one.
Molly Lancashire is a Mum to two beautiful children, Connor & Elsie. After experiencing postnatal depression and anxiety Molly created Motherhood Unplugged. Molly wanted to create a safe space for other mums to seek support and to not feel alone in their struggles.
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