It doesn’t matter how maternal you are, how amazing you are at motherhood, how much you think you’ve got it all figured out… we all have THOSE DAYS. Those mum days when we feel like an absolute failure.
I’m a very maternal person, I love being a mum more than anything else in the world and I’ve been blessed with four wonderful children. I’ve been hugely lucky that none of my children ever suffered colic, I was able to breastfeed all of them (even if only for a few weeks with my first), none of them were particularly sicky babies, no allergies, not fussy eaters and generally, most of the time, my children are polite and well behaved. I have four very healthy, very happy children. Most days I feel like I’m winning at motherhood. But then there are THOSE DAYS that I’d like to think ALL mothers have.
Days like one I had last week. Days when it’s thirty degrees outside and your 8 week old baby DOES NOT want to leave your breasts at all and you spend most of the day sweating like a nun in a brothel, wondering why your milk isn’t satisfying him. Obviously at some point during the day he has a massive pooplosion and ironically it’s the day you didn’t pack weather-appropriate spare clothes for him. You go out to lunch and your 4 year old twins shout and refuse to sit down in the restaurant, demanding that they need the toilet precisely every 3 minutes, before knocking an ice cold pint of water ALL OVER YOU. You pretend not to notice the old couple in the corner tutting and whispering about you.
You remain calm as one of the twins slip their hand out of yours in the town centre and run into a shop. As you go in to get them, they run out in full shoplifting mode with a big pink pony on a stick. You’re late for the gymnastics drop-off which annoys your 9 year old. You keep your cool in the park after they hurl their picnic food on the ground, refusing to eat it and sprinkling grass, twigs and leaves in your hair whilst you breastfeed. You have to stop the car on the way home as your twins are hitting each other. The 9 year old gets involved and everyone ends up in tears. You ground the 9 year old for hurting her siblings and she repays you by telling you how much she hates you and that she wants to live with Daddy.
You get home to find their bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off. The lego and the sewing beads are all mixed up and embedded into the carpet. The Baby is crying and the 9 year old is hungry. You put them all to bed at 7pm but by 11pm there are still 2 awake, despite the fact that they all slept through the night since infancy, but for the past 4 months, they’ve given up on sleep, like it was some sort of bad habit. You sit on the stairs with a cold cup of black tea, (because you forgot to buy milk) and sob. You ponder every moment of parenthood that you’ve ever experienced.
Did I spoil them too much?
Did I discipline them too much?
Why do they hurt each other?
Why is my 9 year old so selfish and so disrespectful?
Why don’t they sleep anymore?
You desperately want to go to bed but you can hear them jumping on their beds and the baby wants more milk. You can’t even have a shower because that’s broken for the third time this month. You know that tomorrow is a new day and it will be different. Most days are not like today. Today was a one off shitty day which you blame yourself for when it’s probably not actually your fault. You sit on the stairs and think about all the things that went right today. You look at the happy memories you made together and how insanely cute your children are. You are overwhelmed with love for them. But today was a tough day, they still aren’t asleep and because of that, you feel like an absolute failure.