What we do not say about motherhood

This post might not be very Christmassy, but it’s something I’ve been musing over. I’d like to start a conversation about the trade-off of motherhood… what we do not say about motherhood.

On Saturday, my husband John and my daughters travelled to the Midlands to visit some relatives. I did not go which meant… no kids, no husband – and I absolutely loved it. After doing some work, the rest of the time was used watching movies, falling asleep, more movies on Netflix and more sleep. I haven’t had this kind of time to myself in years and God knows I needed and deserved it. We all need such time to ourselves to recover don’t we?

Saying I needed time to myself and saying I loved the time spent away from my daughters and husband makes me feel guilty. I feel it is something a mother should never admit to… somewhat a taboo. A mothers is expected to always love the company of her child, but is this reality? I love my daughters and my husband; they are great company… but truthfully? Sometimes, I need some time to myself. Taking this time out for me means I can recover and be the happy mum and wife they deserve.

I recently attended a Mumsnet Blogging event, where to the horror of over 1,000 mums I admitted that a few years into my stint as a stay-at-home-mum I hated it. Staying at home is something that society expects me to be grateful for. For some women this is their calling, but for me it wasn’t. Is it not better for a mum to go back to work with good childcare in place instead of fucking her kids up because she hates being a stay-at-home-mum? Let’s remember,it’s not all of us that have this calling.

There are so many taboos out there surrounding parenthood. We are expected to fall in love with our baby as soon as she is born. This is not true for all women… it wasn’t the case for me.  First, my pregnancy did not go well so instead of me enjoying the baby kicking, I was worrying that the baby was not kicking. Also, the birth of my first daughter was bad and I ended up having a C-section. Plus, I came down with a bad infection after the C-section which meant it took me a little bit of time to fall in love with my baby. And honestly, when she was first placed in my arms, I was high on morphine. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I fell in love with my daughters, but I did. And it is not when I fell in love that matters, but that I’m in love.

Having children means my average happiness has gone down… another thing we are not supposed to talk about. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the fact remains that taking on the emotional, physical and mental responsibilities of another human being results in more stress, which has a direct impact of our happiness. What it means in my case is there is always something that needs doing or worrying about. If it’s not school work, then it’s that patch on her skin that needs seeing to by the doctor or the swimming lessons that need paying for, etc. etc.

Finally, motherhood kills our sex lives. We are told that if we are not having sex a few times a week with our other half, our marriage is in trouble. This may be the fact but my take on this is, it is very hard for one person to take on so many roles. It’s hard being a mum, a wife, a lover, a friend, and a soul mate. For most mums like me, some titles had to be relinquished, and the easiest is the lover part. This role is the easiest to give up since most mums are too tired to feel sexy. Especially those mums who have come to resent their husbands or partners for not helping enough around the house or with childcare. Why would you want to have sex with someone you resent?

Motherhood is marvellous, I love it and most women do. My daughters have brought so much joy to John and me. But, we must also talk about the trade-offs of motherhood.

What do you think? Or should I be asking what your compromises are?

Yvonne xxx

Mami 2 Five
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Comments (5) Write a comment

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you Yvonne. You have completely hit the nail on the head and you are just being a wife and a mother and I can relate to every single point you have made. I love my son and daughter to bits and sometimes can’t think of going on without them but I need my me time from all their numerous activities. My husband is wonderful and i love him like crazy as well but still need time off from cooking and picking up after the three of them. For the first time since I got marred and had my kids I am spending Christmas without them this year not because i dont love them or will not miss them badly but it will be a time to put my feet up and relax a bit. The three of them are going to America and I can’t wait to have the house to myself. I must sound like a mad woman but I just want my sanity for a while.
    All the best Dupe (she smiles) and take care.

    Reply

    • Dearest Bose,

      How are you? Are you well? Thanks for your comment. All I can say is, “You go girl!”
      We all need me time and hope you get to put your feet up at Xmas and enjoy yourself with no guilt. I wish all mothers can talk honestly about these things. We all need me time and that does not mean we love our kids or husbands less… we are just human beings. Merry Xmas and have a great time. Love, Yvonne xxx

      Reply

  2. Yvonne, it is high time for honesty. I like your post very much, i think you said what i have been feeling/thinking for a long time. After having my two children, I felt betrayed by the women in my life – why hadn’t my mum, my aunts, female friends with children, etc etc told me how hard it was going to be? Why were the men in my life – my father, uncles, etc – you get the gist – so ‘blind’ to the this? I endured years of depression, trying to cope with my lost identity, with my new identity, the weight of the responsibility to raise my children, keeping a relationship going, beside mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. I do love my children more than i can ever comprehend, and my life would not be as rich without them – but it has not been an easy ride. Don’t start me on resenting the unbalanced male/female role in parenthood/relationships! Thanks for your post. xx

    Reply

    • Dearest Telma, Thank you so much for your comment. Nobody told me too. I was expected to just fall in love with my baby.But I was too ill to fall in love, I was in a survival mode. I understand exactly what you mean when you say nobody honestly told us what to expect after having kids. Nobody told us that it was a very lonely time, nobody told us that we’ll not want to have sex due to exhaustion, etc, etc. Now that we know, we can tell new mums what to expect. xxx

      Reply

  3. I think it’s madness that we expect everyone to love the experience. In no other role would you be expected to be automatically comfortable. No one would consider you odd if you suddenly found yourself as a pig farmer and didn’t immediately take to it. The beautiful thing about parenthood is not how wonderful it is but that you get on with it anyway, for me the commitment and not contentment brings the joy.

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