The toughest part of being a mum no one ever told you about
"It’s this uncertainty that pushes us to do the best by our kids, and even better. It’s what makes each and every one of you an incredible mum, because you never give up..."
Whether you are a full-time or part-time working mum, a stay-at-home mum, a work-from-home mum or a I-just-want-to-sleep-for-eight-hours mum – it’s a universal truth: being a mum is tough. But you know what the toughest part of being a mum really is? It’s not the physical exhaustion felt at the end of a long day. It’s not dealing with the body that will never be the same after having kids. It's certainly not the lack of sleep.
It’s the worry and the uncertainty. The constant second-guessing about the choices we make on behalf of our kids, our parenting style, what we feed them – everything.
For many mums, it starts from the time they find out they are pregnant. Is my baby okay? Am I eating the right foods? Will that glass of champagne I drank before I knew I was pregnant affect my unborn child?
And the worrying continues. Is my baby’s umbilical stump supposed to look like that? Why is her skin peeling? Is she getting enough breastmilk? Is she getting enough formula?
Why is her poo so runny? Should I let her suck her thumb or give her a pacifier? Is that tiny hole in the mosquito netting big enough for a mosquito to creep through and give her dengue?
Am I neglecting her by going back to work? Am I turning into a helicopter parent? Does she get enough social interaction? Is this tantrumming a phase or is it because I am too firm? Too lax? Just a crappy mother?
Seriously, the worrying us mums do is enough to drive anyone insane. And it doesn’t help us when everyone else seems to have an opinion on our parenting methods, our children’s behaviour – from mum-in-law and the next door neighbour, to Dr. Google.
Why do we fret like this, even when our children are teenagers or older? The answer is simple. LOVE.
The anxiety mums feel in relation to their children’s wellbeing is driven by the super-strong human emotion that is love.
Love and anxiety intertwine, resulting in a powerful force that makes mums the best detectives on earth, that keeps us smiling through pain for our kids’ sake, that turns us into fierce tigresses ready to take out anyone who lays a finger on our little ones.
We would die for our children without hesitation.
Sometimes we worry about our kids so much it hurts. We love them so much that we constantly second-guess our own parenting methods.
Telling a mum to stop her love-driven worrying is like telling a mighty river to stop flowing. There’s just too much force. But I’ll try, because I’m a mum too and I know your heart.
Whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed, it doesn’t matter. Your child gets nourishment, so you are doing the right thing.
You may go back to work full time or choose to be a stay at home mum. You know what? It really doesn’t matter. You are still setting a strong example to your child regardless.
So you just yelled at your child and feel like the worst mum in the world. Stop beating yourself up about it -- you are human, you are tired and she was driving you up the wall.
We will never probably know if we’re doing the ‘right thing’ in parenting and we may always be uncertain about choices we make in relation to our children.
But it’s this uncertainty that pushes us to do the best by our kids, and even better. It’s what makes each and every one of you an incredible mum, because you never give up.
It’s what makes you the best mum ever, and this you will always be in the eyes and heart of your little one.
Yes, motherhood is tough. But it is powerful – you know you will move mountains for your child.