Ever feel like a failure? Like you’re not equipped for this ‘mum’ thing? Like maybe the rest of the world has read some magical book with all the tricks on how to raise a child which you’ve obviously not read because you suck at this parenting thing while all the other mum’s seem to float through motherhood effortlessly? You, mumma, are not alone. And you are absolutely, most definitely not a failure. You are equipped to be a mum, there is no magic book (spewing, I know!) and we all have sh*t days. Don’t believe me? Well, let me tell you the story of our wonderfully pleasant day which took place yesterday (a day I am very grateful to have in the past)…
It started pretty normal – Taylor woke at 7am and had her morning bottle, then played while we had our coffee and prepared her breakfast. How it ended was another story. I found myself sitting on Taylor’s bedroom floor crying, wondering how I could possibly be so bad at this ‘mum’ thing. To be fair, Taylor is kind of in the wars at the moment.. She’s sick (phlegm in the throat, snotty nose etc), she’s in a development leap and her molars are piercing through. I feel for her, I really do. She is frustrated and can only rely on her Dad and I to understand and make her feel better. Yesterday, this meant clinging to me all day long which I don’t mind, but as cuddling standing up was the only way to calm her down, my aches, pains and swollen feet weren’t really coping very well (I am almost 34 weeks pregnant which most of you would know unless you’re a new reader, in which case HELLO & WELCOME!). Anyway it was clear that my little girl was having a bad day and that she needed me for comfort, so I just dealt with it and carried her everywhere I went all day. Think I’m exaggerating? I actually had to bring her to the toilet with me – this is how clingy we’re talking (just for number 1’s guys relax). Whenever I walked away from her she’d scream. I am too happy to be her comfort when she needs it. I will always be that for her. So I dealt with it and got on with it. When she only managed a 55 minute nap for the day, I knew the afternoon wasn’t going to get any easier… And I was right. Unfortunately, we had no fruit or yoghurt in the house – the only two food groups Taylor was not refusing to eat (don’t even get me started on this food refusal phase)… Which meant a trip to Coles was needed. Look, we don’t need to get into the details but let’s just say I experienced Taylor’s first ever public meltdown and it left me feeling quite frantic. If only Justin was there to help (he was busy at work obviously – not just sitting at home on the couch).
We finally got home from Coles after a cry the entire way home, and when I put her down inside to get my groceries and unpack them, more screaming. I quickly threw the cold stuff in the fridge and left the rest scattered on my kitchen bench. I’d have to get to it later. The washing too, I suppose. And the bins… and my lunch. The afternoon went on like this and at 4.30pm after I had just finished cooking her a healthy meal while she clinged to my feet (pulling my pants down several times mind you – the grip on these tiny humans!!) and screamed the house down (the entire time – no exaggeration), I watched her eat two kidney beans before throwing the bowl all over the floor. That’s when I lost it. I had to go into her bedroom (she was in her highchair restrained – safe and sound) to compose myself so I could get through the rest of the afternoon. When will the crying stop? Why is she not eating? What am I doing wrong? Am I the only person struggling with this? Why can’t I figure this out? What is wrong with me? Am I just not cut out for this? Am I going to cope with two babies in less than two months? These were just a few of the thoughts running through my head. I messaged Justin to say today had been a bad day and he replied within seconds saying that he was leaving the office to come take over. In the meantime, despite Taylor refusing to eat anything for dinner, I took her in the shower with me because I knew the hot water would help not only with my aching back and sore feet, but also Taylor’s mood (she freaking loves the shower). She finally stopped crying! That is, until I took her out and tried dressing her (I am confident every other toddler mum just nodded her head in agreement knowing full well how effing difficult it is to dress them… why do they turn into wild animals when it comes to dressing/nappy changing time?!).
Finally, Justin got home and I felt instant relief. I wanted him to take her immediately and just try to make her happy so I could cook our dinner, unpack the rest of the groceries and get to the other bits and pieces I hadn’t yet got to. He kept asking what I wanted him to do, but that was literally all I needed – a hand with comforting our girl (keep in mind that he had just done a full 8 hour day at work by the way, then came home to a total shit storm where he was further needed – what a Daddy!). By 5.45pm we had given her the tiny bit of food she’d actually eat (blueberries, strawberries and some yoghurt – fruit and yoghurt, just as I suspected), panadol, teething gel and her bottle, and were tucking her into bed for the night. I kissed her and apologised for the day we had, and told her we’d have a better day tomorrow (she rubbed her eyes and whispered ‘I love you, Mum’. Jokes, she actually pushed me away while giving me a serious ‘let me sleep woman!!’ face, so I took the hint and shut the door). She was asleep within minutes and with a huge sigh of relief, despite the dishes from dinner not being done and the kitchen still being a mess, I took myself to bed and switched the eff off.
There are going to be plenty of challenging moments in our journeys of motherhood. What we need to know is that having bad days does not make us bad mums. No one gets it perfectly right all the time, no one has a good day every single day. If you follow the sort of people who try to imply that they do, perhaps ask yourself why. It’s not real. Motherhood is messy and crazy and emotional and wonderful – it’s the best f*cking job in the entire world I swear it. But there are definitely moments where you’ll question yourself like I did yesterday, and as one very wise mummy once told me (I’m looking at you Abbey Mae), ‘sometimes the best thing you can do is just chuck on The Wiggles and get through it and start again tomorrow’. Start again tomorrow. What a refreshing and comforting phrase. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t dwell on the bad day or the things not going your way. Just ride the wave that is motherhood and keep being the rock your baby needs you to be. Then, one day when you’re really old and they talk about putting you in a retirement home, you can remind them of what little sh*ts they used to be and demand they put you up in their self contained granny flat. Kidding… Or am I…? I’ll never tell. What I will tell you is that today we started fresh and it was a better day. Moral of the story? My friend, Abbey Mae was right, basically (she’s good quality, that one). So chin up mumma’s, and remember you can always start again tomorrow.