Dear fellow mama,
“It’s just a bit of crying.”
That’s what you keep telling yourself. When you tell your friends and family the crying is starting to grate on you (understatement of the year), they nod and smile with sympathy. Some might even make a joke about earplugs being essential for the baby days or how they don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing.
You laugh, because that’s what is socially acceptable to do in response. But inside you’re not laughing. Inside you feel another little piece of yourself crumble, because no-one seems to get it. No-one seems to get how bloody hard this all really is.
The worst part is that other mamas seem to be able to laugh it all off so very easily. They’re facing the same trials and tribulations, but they’re doing it with a smile. How does everyone else cope while you feel like you’re constantly on the verge of falling to your knees?
One of the hardest things about being on the brink of breaking down is that you feel all alone. While you may have a partner who listens at the end of an exhausting day, they can’t really understand how difficult it has been facing a day of tears and never-ending problems only you can solve.
When you list the reasons why you feel so drained, so out of sorts, it sounds mundane even to your own ears.
The baby won’t stop crying.
Your toddler won’t stop throwing tantrums in public.
You took the children somewhere child-friendly and they cried the entire time.
The kids refused to eat the meal you spent an hour cooking.
Someone drew on the wall. Again.
You said “no” to going swimming because you’re too tired to cope today and now everyone is crying as if it’s the end of the world.
It sounds like nothing much. These are all normal issues faced by parents every single day.
And yet it’s the steady bombardment of all these occurrences and more that eats away at your ability to remain positive. Parenting is repetitive at the best of times, but add in the mental torture of tantrums, crying and stubborn toddlers and it’s like running on a treadmill while someone hurls LEGO bricks at your feet.
When I became a stay-at-home mum last year I made the decision so I could spend more time with my children.
I love them. That goes without saying. I wouldn’t give up this time for anything.
But some weeks I’ve just had enough. The other day I declared I would start looking for another job, because I couldn’t handle another week of the screaming, the demands, the sheer exhaustion of being responsible for two little people.
It’s more than just a bit of crying. It’s the mental jet lag. The constant feeling of being on edge, waiting and worrying about the next thing that will make this day that much harder.
Trust me when I say, the mama who laughed off their problems today, may well be crying in the shower tomorrow.
Never allow your own guilt make you believe that you are less than other parents. Don’t let it trick you into thinking nobody else is finding it this hard. Because it IS hard. We’re all finding it hard.
Show me a stay-at-home mama who never lost it and yelled at her kids to just “be quiet” and I’ll show you a toddler who never flicks peas on the floor.
You’re not alone. We are all finding it hard. Sometimes we ALL reach the brink.
Just keep going mama. You’re doing an amazing job.