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?