Seriously – we only have to turn on the TV, pick up a magazine or open Social media and there we are bombarded by someone else’s idea of the perfect family. Pictures of kids playing serenely with each other – of mums looking a million dollars gazing lovingly down at their new-born, of happy families prancing through the meadows or playing catch on the beach and snippets of family homes looking pristine with not even a toy out of place……..
And then we look up
And wonder where, in their pictures, all the laundry piles are, where all the scattered toys are, why there a no half eaten marmite sandwiches and where are the bags under that mums eyes.
It’s quite simple actually, it’s all piled up behind them, or pushed into the next room. It’s a studio or a park. It’s a bunch of random strangers told to smile at each other and pretend they are a family, and the bags under her eyes - they are hidden under a tonne of makeup. It’s all an illusion, a pretty picture to sell you a product or dream. A beautiful set up to make you stop and look. Because let’s face it, we’re not going to buy that super-duper all bells and whistles pram, cot, carrier etc. from a bedraggled, up all night, week old tracksuit wearing mum and dad – no – we want to see the perfect scenario, the perfect family strolling down the street smiling and waving while baby sleeps in the pram-o-matic 2000, perfect for that family on the go!
And while it’s understandable that this is what works for ads and social media, we as parents need to remind ourselves that ads are set up – and many IG and FB families are showing only a snip, a millisecond of their lives and that one photo of their smiling baby looking perfect was the only one out of 50+ that worked.
They ARE just like you and me. They have their ups and downs, ins and outs and the odd sideways too. They get up to bubs 4-6 times a night, walk through their lounge and tread on that one wooden block that was missed, drink their cold coffee because they are sick of heating it up – yes – they are the same.
And so am I – I too spend most of my days tired from a little miss who is up most nights and needing a cuddle – I too drink cold coffee that I’ve heated up far too often – and don’t get me started on wooden blocks (only too often have I found them in the dark on my way to bed) But honestly, under all the cute smiling pictures I put up, there are days when I’m so tired I can barely function – but we do – there are days when all I want to do is curl up on the couch and cry – but I can’t, so I carry on. There are days when I see those IG or FB posts and think to myself “oh man – is that what parenting is supposed to be like – is that what I’m supposed to do, to look like?? Is that how tidy my house is meant to look!?! And then I think….
Wait a minute.
Stop right there missy.
You are normal, you are doing just fine, and you got this mamma.
So that’s my little message to all of you too – you ARE normal, you ARE doing just fine and mammas and daddies – YOU GOT THIS!
So please, give yourself a break – don’t be too hard on yourself when the washing starts to pile up, when the dishes are still in the sink or dinner is spaghetti on toast because you too tired to cook tonight – it’s all good, it’s all normal and as long as you and the kids are happy, healthy and fed then it’s a total win. And if it was a shit day – well then there’s always tomorrow!
I’ll leave you here with this wee poem I wrote for my little miss after a particularly crappy day – hopefully this will help to show you that we all have them – we are not all perfect and we are all just trying to do our best.
But please – if you are really struggling, if it starts to get on top of you, if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel then talk to your midwife, your Plunket nurse, your family, your friends or your doctor – ask for help and remember – you are not alone!
Much love to all you amazing, strong, super mums and dads
Today started at 3am
You usually go back to sleep, but today you didn’t.
Today I was tired.
I was so tired I couldn’t think straight.
Today I yelled.
I yelled so loud I scared myself.
Today I cried.
I cried into my pillow till my face was puffy and my eyes were sore.
Today I felt like I failed!
I felt that I had failed you in every way, I had failed you as a parent!
Today my heart broke.
My heart broke into little pieces when you walked up to me and said “mummy, I still love you even when you’re grumpy”
Today was, well, today.
And tomorrow the sun will rise again. And I’ll hold you in my arms.
And yesterday will be but a distant memory.
Because today, tomorrow and yesterday I’m always trying to do my best.
Today, tomorrow and yesterday, I’ll keep trying.
Today, tomorrow and yesterday, I’ll always love you.
Yes – even when I’m grumpy.