Published on 'The Huffington Post' Sunday 13th August 2017
I sat in the car, tears steaming down my face. I'd finally hit breaking point. For a brief moment, I was alone, save the two sleeping babes behind me, and I let it all out. I'd been holding it together for so long, really only allowing my husband to catch a glimpse of how I was really feeling... But why?
I couldn't figure out why I'd held it all in. I'd been rapidly approaching breaking point for some time -- I was exhausted. I have a new baby, a two year old and a four year old which I'm basically on my own with for the bulk of the time. My hubby is incredibly helpful, and the most amazing dad, but he's our bread and butter. I run the house, the day to day, and he works incredibly hard to support us.
We have limited family around. There's no 'drop the kids to nanna's so I can have a break', that simply isn't an option. And to be honest, I have bouts of envy for those who have that as an option. It's all on us.
Our support network, while all amazing people, is either interstate, or just like us -- young families, with young babes. There are always offers of 'if you ever need anything' and I have no doubts about their validity. Yet, to call on someone for help, is to place an extra pressure on them that they just don't need. So we tend to keep it to ourselves.
Many of us simply don't live in the 'village' that we used to in times gone by. People knew their neighbours, and the milkman by name. I personally only know one other family in my street, it's just the way life seems to be now.Sure, we made the choices. The choices that have lead us to this point, and set the circumstances in our lives... and maybe that's why I haven't let on. It was definitely for fear of judgement, but I couldn't work out whether it was judgement from others I feared, or judgement from myself. Probably both.
It's almost as if we have this insane expectation on ourselves to be super women. To do it all, and to have it all, but whatever you do don't let on that it's hard, you may risk coming across as ungrateful. Or at least that's the way I felt about it. If I appeared ungrateful, then I was somehow failing in my motherly pursuits. Cue self-judgment and criticism.
Many of us simply don't live in the 'village' that we used to in times gone by. People knew their neighbours, and the milkman by name. I personally only know one other family in my street, it's just the way life seems to be now.
My grandmother had her sister close by, or at least a tram ride away, and even my mother had two sets of grandparents nearby for the occasional parenting vacation. I used to love our days with my grandmother, and I'm sure my mother loved those days too.
As mums these days, many of us are expected to deal with daily solo parenting, plus often the stress and pressure of working, juggling jobs and parenting life -- living away from family and friends, and the general pressures of living in 2017. All while dealing with young babies, sleepless nights, lengthy recoveries from eventful births, and let's not forget the hormones!
It's not easy, nothing worth doing ever is. And, admitting that it can be incredibly hard does not mean you're ungrateful.
We're raising small humans, it is hard.
As I sat in the quiet, having the first real 'release' that I've allowed myself in these tumultuous past few weeks, I began to see them for what they really were. Exciting, exhausting, overwhelmingly beautiful.
We've had the incredible blessing of adding another healthy baby, directly off the back of a traumatic birth and a more difficult recovery than I'm used to. Ten short weeks ago, my body went to hell and back while attempting to deliver the precious bundle that I currently have sleeping on my lap. It was traumatic for my body as well as my mind, and that's something I need to remember.
The problem is not that we don't necessarily have the resources or help around us when truly needed -- whether it be within arms reach or at the other end of the phone -- it's that we don't allow ourselves to ask for it. We don't want to bother others, or admit to ourselves that we might really need it.
We have to remove this expectation that we have to do it all on our own. There's strength in numbers, and we need to find those numbers wherever and however we can...
Behind the blog...