You always hear in the media of how mothers are supposed to be strong women, or the ones who are meant to hold their families together. But who is actually holding these mothers together whilst they are without support, or have partners who are barely home due to working long hours, or are simply never around?
As mothers we try to live up to this expectation of being hardworking, amazing, strong women, who move like robots, produce like cows and still have to find the energy to open our legs to satisfy our men. Yippie!!! What happens when all doesn't go as expected and we are not coping? We are failing. We are made to feel by society that if we are failing, we are also failing our children. Really? Who is anyone to judge and say what we do on a daily basis isn't good enough? The weight a parent carries on their shoulders on a daily basis alone is a burden. Let alone having to deal with everything else that happens along the way.
I have come to the conclusion that its OK to feel tired. It's OK to want to do nothing some days. It's OK to want to avoid cooking a decent homemade meal one day. It's OK to want to scream and feel defeated.
Recently, I have felt slightly overwhelmed with life. Dealing with adolescence of a teenage son who has been very frustrated and angry. Then having to keep myself sane, go to work smiling, as well as still encourage my eight year old son to remain positive and not feel saddened by his brothers behaviour. I have felt disappointed with the fact that I am highly qualified, but have been stuck in a job for over fifteen years, only because the company gives me the flexibility to be in my children's lives as much as possible. They have allowed me to change my hours to suit my children's needs. They have given me permission to go to my sons school sports days. They have kept my contract to working week days, even though it goes against company rules because they need flexible staff in fashion retail.
My friends have said that I am lucky to have such a great job, but why don't I feel that lucky? Yes, I am fortunate to have a job because there are many people out there looking for work.
But when you hate the job you do and despise the working environment you are in, it eventually takes it toll and makes you unhappy, regardless of how positive you are.
I am only doing my job because if I go elsewhere at present, another company may not be so flexible with my requirements of having to be available for my children. So, a part of me feels stuck, but not defeated just yet..If I apply for jobs that are of interest, who will be there to pick up my youngest son? Who will be able to be my back up when a childminder lets me down? I see it too often, childminders letting mothers down to the point it affects their jobs. Now, whilst I haven't totally wasted my life away in the last fifteen years of working in the same unfulfilling job. I have used this job as a mean time way of survival. I have been attempting to study in the process to better my life and job prospects. I have published books, run groups and work shops to use my entrepreneurial skills in other ways. But these things I do, do not bring constant income and being self employed takes up a lot of your time and can be very difficult when you are caring for two children on your own. Meetings, conferences need your presence. But how can you be present when there is no one to watch your children? Or, your only support is a fair distance away on a school night. Only a mother who has stepped in my shoes will understand. The constant battle with trying to keep your head up without sinking into a deep hole. That feeling of being fed up, or feeling like you've failed to do a parenting role that some find so easy.
What I have come to realise is that, I may have sacrificed many things to be a mother. But it's OK. It is not the end of the world. My time will come.
My sister Marsha said to me today, "Do not feel like your qualifications have gone to waste. You are doing what you can do with your life the way it is now. Lots of people don't have jobs using the qualifications they have." As well as talking to my sister, I took time to read a book, which I had at the top of my to read list. It was called; Lost, my battle with depression by Doris Allimadi. I mentioned this book in one of my past blogs when I interviewed the author and her daughter.
It's crazy because I find it hard to find time to read, but with this book, I read it in one day because I was captured. I understood everything the author had said. I could put myself in her position because I had been there. I had been in her shoes and survived once before. I had suffered depression many years ago and initially, I had not recognised it. I had been angry and hurt inside over things that had happened in my past which I had never overcome. The saddest thing was that I was frightened to admit I was depressed. Many people don't believe in depression, but it is very real. It eats away at you until you have no soul left. It clouds your judgment on all things, including your self-belief. I soon realised that whatever energy I gave out, reflected on my children. If I was upset or angry, how could I blame my children for feeling the same way? My only wake up was my sons and I had to get better for them. I also had to remind myself that I had the power to succeed regardless of the set back.
As Doris Allimadi states in Lost, my battle with depression. "Our children are a most precious gift. They are our responsibilities and we must do all we can to ensure their safety, well being and happiness. We cannot fulfil these obligations if we are not 100%. We run risk of 'snapping' at some point and the consequences can be unfavourable.
Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself, seek help and be well.
Love your children unconditionally, unreservedly, tell them and show them." Some of you may have partners who are so busy working that you actually feel alone. You are tired, fed up, depressed, emotional, deflated, sick, constantly fighting daily battles which seem like they will never end. But it's OK. It's OK to feel deflated. It's OK to cry. It's OK to want to run away. It's OK to feel fed up. After all, you are only human. Yes, it's only you dealing with the day to day running of the home, the children, the washing, the cleaning, the ironing, the cooking and probably working on top of that in a job of your own. But its OK.
Focus on getting past that feeling, that chapter and move on. Don't dwell on that chapter of your life. Whether you face another chapter similar further on down the line, at least you moved on from the last. No one can teach us how to be perfect mothers, because there is no such thing. We learn on our journey as mothers to deal with the challenges that we face.
There are going to be days when things don't go according to plan. There are going to be days when you are at your wits end and there are going to be times when you lose control. We just have to be honest with ourselves in order to gain clarity. Its OK to feel guilty for shouting at your children because they didn't listen and you were tired. It's OK to feel like you have failed in life, because every failure leads to success. A success that will one day be the highlight of your life.
As Iyanla Vanzant says, " Just do what you do and do it well. Stop worrying about what other people are doing, or what they will say about what you are doing. Just do what you do to the best of your ability."