I read an article the other day that stayed with me a long time, like a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. The author basically word-slapped women who felt that being a mother was hard work. She rebuked moms who have dared to post what she describes as “woeful” Facebook posts, complaining about the difficulties of motherhood and, even went as far as accusing moms of exaggerating their parental difficulties to ensure they aren’t seen as “slacking off”.
She insisted – being a mother isn’t hard. Having cancer? That’s hard. Being a refugee, that’s hard. Waiting for an organ donation, that’s hard.
The final nail in the coffin? The author accused moms who complained about how hard Motherhood was, as the reason that some fathers wouldn’t step up to their parenting duties…after all “who wants to do the hard job?” she reasoned.
I thought about her words for a long time, and finally came up with a response to her absurdity.
Dear Miss Perfect Mom,
Lately I’ve been doing a whole lot of complaining about how very hard being a Mom actually is.
You see, I’ve been running on empty these past few months. Stretched really, really thin by a new, demanding full-time job; managing an entire household and parenting my Twincesses.
My girls aren’t babies anymore, but they’re not quite toddlers either. They’re mobile, and curious – so they demand a lot of energy. They are teething – miserably, and have been sick, on-and-off for what seems like months now. They are beginning to become VERY fussy eaters. They have well and truly discovered the presence of each other, and this means hitting, pushing and the pulling of hair…which leads to one of them screaming, and the other in need of a teachable moment. They have outgrown one of their daytime naps, so those precious moments afforded to me for cleaning up the house, showering and eating have dwindled. The cherry on top? Both have regressed as night sleepers and are frequently waking up between 2-3 times a night, each. At DIFFERENT times!
So yeah, maybe my attitude has been one of slight defeat, and I admit my Facebook posts may have been just a little bit woeful.
But you know what Miss Perfect Mom who finds parenting an absolute breeze? Being a mother IS hard.
Between the doctors’ visits and tantrums, the challenging mealtimes and the endless nights, I have to disagree with your rainbow-tinted take on motherhood.
Now please lady, before you throw your feminist views my way, please note: I too am a feminist. I believe women can successfully juggle motherhood and a career. But being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to pretend that everything’s peachy and problems don’t exist. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t complain after a bad day, or when you find yourself in a shitty situation.
I think it’s powerful to stand up and say: “Today was a hard day. I need some help”. To me, recognising you need help and asking for it is not weak. On the contrary, it’s quite courageous.
And Miss Perfect Mom, while your children may be perfect little Stepford kids, mine on the other hand are crazy, whiny and very REAL. They pull the cat’s tail, throw biscuits on the floor, cry when they don’t feel like eating Woolies cottage pie and can manoeuvre themselves into contortions Cirque du Soleil would be proud of when I try to change their diapers… They’re real, and they’re demanding. But they’re also sweet, adorable, totally lovable and the very best things about my entire existence.
You see Miss Perfect Mom, what you fail to understand is: saying Motherhood is hard, doesn’t mean you regret it. It certainly doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids. And it doesn’t mean you’d want it any other way.
I firmly believe that Motherhood is indeed both hard and wonderful – sometimes at the same time! It’s filled with ups and downs, phases that come and go like seasons. Today’s hardship may be tomorrow’s victory, and what was seems impossible in the morning, may be conquered by bedtime. Such is the way of Motherhood.
So I implore you Miss Perfect Mom with the Perfect Kids, get on with your perfect little life and let us real mothers get on with ours the way we do best; loving the struggles along the way.