Dear Mrs. T,
I am a stay at home mum to 3 children; 5 and under. I constantly feel guilty and overwhelmed when my children want to play with me but I have to do “jobs” cook; organise diary etc…I know I can’t do everything but I feel so sad that I prioritise the mundane over the precious moments…I know won’t last forever. 😢
Esther Leicestershire, UK.
Mrs. T’s response
I LOVE this letter. It addresses an age, old STIGMA mothers have been forced to bear the burden of since Victorian times. So forgive me if I have a rant.
Historically, women have been under pressure to be perfect in all that we do. However, the weight of such a nigh on impossible task is often overwhelming.
Society, as a whole, has perpetuated a myth for generations that perfection must be a woman’s lifelong crusade. WHAT UTTER GARBAGE!
It’s a cycle of idiocy which has been high highjacked from religious institutions by big Corporations; enabling them to push their products, by the use of fear. Promising it will solve all of your personal and domestic hygiene problems, making you a happy and successful wife/mum. If it was that simple there would be 100’s of millions of mothers and wives living totally blissful lives.
These are 4 words used to enslave us if we don’t achieve this unobtainable perfection. Powerful words that drive a parent to exhaustion leaving them with feelings of guilt, anxiety, and failure on a daily basis. This can lead to depression, and sometimes substance abuse. Mothers also self-abuse by calling themselves… DIRTY…LAZY…USELESS…FAILURE. It’s a vicious cycle.
THE GOOD NEWS IS…IT’S NOT TRUE!
You are tired, overwhelmed, sleep deprived, exhausted, trying to hold it together, and feel scrutinised. Trying to keep the home in ‘before children’ order. To keep the children equally clean and tidy at all times, run the household budget, a so much more, because, ‘what will people think?’ It’s a big ask.
Women also feel pressured (by advertising), not only to be super mums, but also, to look a million dollars, be calm and serene, and be a diva in the bedroom…IMPOSSIBLE.
The best houses I have visited in my lifetime, we’re those that were untidy and, at times, chaotic. These houses were HOMES, full of welcome, warmth, love, and laughter. Those mums had made these qualities their priority. To visit with my children was relaxing; knowing if my children inevitably made a mess it was just fine. It could always be tidied later, and if not, oh well. These mums created an atmosphere were their partner and children could relax and leave the craziness and pressures of the world at the doorstep. A haven they looked forward to coming home to.
NOW, THAT’S WHAT I CALL SUCCESS.
So, for you, it’s finding what works for you and your family; one size doesn’t fit all. It’s they who you’ll grow old with. Everyone else usually drifts away as time goes by, so why pay them any heed? You need to talk it through with your partner, in the effort to get him/her on the same page if possible. It will mean having to make some tough and courageous decisions. One of which will be to distance yourself, both in person and/or on social media, from anyone who makes you feel those four negative words.
Live your family life to please you all; not to please others. I have said for years; ‘unless they put a roof over your head and food in your stomach; stuff the opinions of others. They have their own demons to deal with.
Mums work 365 days a year, and don’t get to retire at 65; always working until too frail to do so.
Mums are AWESOME, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, STRONG, RESOURCEFUL, and all come in size sexy.
So, TAKE A BOW, believe in yourself in whatever path you choose. Take a deep breath, exhale, and chill. You’re doing just fine.
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