My Heart, Your Home: Can I have a mental health day... please?   

Friday, 12 October 2012

Can I have a mental health day... please?

Before I created my own family there were so many preconceptions I had made about the ways in which I would approach the parenting of my own children. You make so many decisions based on your childhood and the ways in which your parents raised you. Things you will take on board and things you would rather forget. I had so many ideas of how to parent, based on watching people around me, my friends upbringings, strangers in the parks, women coming through my check out at the supermarket. Some based on admiration and others, dare I say it, based on judgement.

Coming into Motherhood I had decided that each and every day I would be up, awake and dressed before my child was. I would never spend a day in pyjama's. I would not, ever, use a dummy. I would breastfeed until at least 6 months. I would not yell or scream at my child. I will never smack my child. I will not be a 'No' Mum. I will not bribe my child for good behaviour. I will have my partners business shirts ironed and his lunch packed for him each and every morning. My house would be organised and cleaned. I would make my bed every morning.

Since arriving at Motherhood and being thrown into the depths of baby snuggles, baby slobber, pooey nappies, sleepless nights and screaming toddlers, my preconceptions have since become misconceptions. The truth is, Motherhood is hard. Harder that you can ever prepare yourself for and any preparations you did make, often ended up thrown to the wayside and forgotten about. Because once you are elbow deep in those pooey nappies and toddler tantrums, you do whatever you have to do to survive. 

I love my Daughter, with every last inch of my being. There is absolutely no doubt about that. But she is erratic, she is unpredictable, she is strong and she is a test on my patience. My Daughter is slowly coming of age, leaving her baby days behind her and entering the world of toddler. The world of independence and and stubbornness. She is learning so much about our world and about her capabilities that she wants to be apart of it all day, every day. She doesn't want to miss out on a single moment. Goodbye day time naps and hello tired tantrums! She has learnt that she is able to feed herself, so goodbye fast, easy and efficient meal times and hello mess and frustration (because the spoon just wont work the right way and so she must use her hands). She is learning to speak, but not speak fast enough. So now we become frustrated at Mum if Mum doesnt understand what her grunt, groan or moan means straight.a.way!

The truth is, these last few weeks, I have been struggling with the attitude that seems to be sneaking into my household. My Daughter is still the kind, gentle loving baby that I have talked about in many posts before. But at this point in time, she is not showing that side as often and is showing me her frustrations. She is taking out her struggles on me and I am having to learn how to approach these new tantrums in a way that I am comfortable with.

All those preconceptions that I have had, they have all been forgotten about. I am very rarely out of bed before Evelyn wakes me. I did resort to using the dummy as it is the only way she will fall asleep. I was unable to breastfeed. I have yelled at my Daughter. I have said No. If she would understand a bribe, I would have bribed her. I have never ironed a business shirt in my life and Anthony is lucky if there is bread in the house. My bed is made just before I climb into it and my house is no where near organised.

Once you are in the throws of parenting and Mother hood, you deal with each situation as they come. And dealing with my Daughters tantrums and lack of sleep and lack of eating is my focus, for the mean time. The rest of those things, I just don't care for. What I care for, is raising a loving, gentle woman who is well mannered and balanced. I care for teaching my Daughter about the world and I care for her. And most of all, I care for surviving the next few years of toddlerhood with my sanity and my relationship in tact. 

One of the things I am finding the hardest about Motherhood, is that on a bad day, I don't get to come home and say "What a shit day". I don't get to complain about bad behaviour or ill-treatment. I am unable to talk about unfair conditions. We, as Mother's, have to teach our children that these behaviours are unacceptable and we have to teach them how to behave the correct way and at the end of the day we have to sweep our own hurt or disappointment aside and move on to cleaning the dishes. 

Maybe I can ask the boss if I can take a mental health day?


  1. I went to my local milk bar a few months ago and the man behind the counter asked if I ha just finished wok for the day. I told him I was a stay at home mum. He replied, "oh so you are never finished then." I wanted to give him a big hug there and the because it is so true.
    Another thing I get a lot is the ol' "we're you ready for a child?" I think we get it more than others because my husband and I are 24, but we (especially he) get confused for 19 very often. I always respond, "no matter how ready you think you are for a child, you are never ready." I had read all the books, I had done all the research, I had my ideals and methods down to a tea, but when Oliver was put inmy arms all that went out the window and all that mattered was keeping him safe and happy.
    Sorry or the essay comment but basically I agree with this so strongly. Some days are great, and some days are straight up tough and bedtime (if you're lucky enough to have a good sleeper) can't come soon enough. And I not even pregnant girl so I'd say you're doing a great job!

    1. Oh I just love it when a man can recognise the work of a Mother! That must have been a comforting moment for you! I agree with you, there is never a good time to have a baby because the reality is you can never truly prepare for what is going to come!

      Thank you Cass

  2. It can be relentless can't it?
    Some days I am just so desperate for a break.
    But Toddler C seems to know just how far he can push me...and just when I have had enough he will do the sweetest thing. And that sweet gesture allows me to reset and carry on being a mother!

    1. This is so very true, after the hardest days always comes the best days!
      They know when enough is enough. xx