Today I feel like I’m a crap Mum and blogger. Last week I didn’t publish a single blog post. I spend a whole week just trying to catch up with people. Trying to be a good friend, wife and most importantly mother. None of which I feel I’m doing well at. People will tell me I’m great at all these and whilst I appreciate their kindness I truly do, it doesn’t really make me feel any better.
I’m not happy unless I have something for me. Is that bad? I don’t think so although it does sound selfish. Wanting something for your self seems unethical. I carry around a lot of guilt. Blogging and making YouTube videos is for me. I try to disguise it as I’m doing it for the family. So that one day I can work around them doing what I love. I can work in a way that fits in with our family life. Whilst this is true, truthfully I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to do it.
This career is for me. I want it. I love it. I need something for myself. It’s mine. My little mark on the world. When I don’t blog or I’m not happy with my latest video I feel down, frustrated and annoyed that I can’t just do something outside of being a mum. Last week I didn’t post so that I could be a better Mum by working less. I was feeling guilty. I wanted to be more engaged with them. Only I wasn’t. I felt worked up that I couldn’t just get some downtime to do something I love. Maybe the answer is more family vlogging, who knows?
I had great fun playing jigsaw with my son over and over again. I played all the roles of paw patrol and I know just about every Thomas The Tank engines name. I loved listening to my daughter read and hearing about her day. It was amazing to actually chat to my husband when he got in from work, rather than having my head in my laptop. The problem was I didn’t feel happy. I felt worked up. I was just playing a role of what I thought a good Mum and wife was. For once I wasn’t saying “in a minute” or asking my husband “can I chat with you later, I have a lot to do”. No I was being the Mum I thought I should be. This Mummy felt blue though. By Saturday I’d lost it and shouted at the kids and my hubby “I’ve had it, nobody appreciates me”! This of course isn’t true, but in that moment I felt it. I’d taken time off from blogging and wasn’t anymore on top of jobs. I’d spent a whole week trying to keep everyone happy, but myself. I felt unappreciated, taken for granted and that all I did was chase my tail.
Last week I tried to be a good friend, wife and mother but I felt it had gone unnoticed. I felt damn right annoyed. I felt like I’d be slapped in the face, nobody seems to even notice I was doing more for them and nothing for me. I don’t really know what I was expecting. My kids are two and eight. My hubby just goes with the flow. What I learnt is I have to do things for myself or the martyr revs up and there’s nothing enlightened about that. The kids will be happy if I’m happy and so will my husband. Good friends will notice your efforts. All I have to do is be me. The crappy Mum who gives her kids way too much processed food and television. Who doesn’t like arts and crafts and is far from a model parent. The parent who doesn’t read enough to her kids, but does her best. I’ve learnt being that Mum is ok and sometimes taking short cuts for my sanity is just plain sensible. I’m not an earth Mum and that’s ok. Sometimes my kids drive me potty, but I love them and I do my best. That’s what makes me a good mum. It’s time to stop shaming and comparing myself to how others do it, there is no one way and whilst all these feelings I have about being a crappy mum are valid, there also damaging and not true. Yes, let’s look at ourselves and aim to always do our best, but sometimes we just have to realise that there is no one way to do this and there is certainly no right way to parent. I’m always learning and getting it wrong, but that’s okay too. Our children will not perish from our imperfection, in fact, they need to see how we deal with our imperfections, how we treat ourselves and how we own it when we do fail and make mistakes. How we treat others and to love them as imperfectly as we can with our full hearts.
I blog and create videos because it makes me feel good. I feel like I’ve achieved something for myself. I’m then happier as feel I’m more than ‘just’ a Mum and Wife. When I’m happier I’m a better parent and partner. I’m not resentful. I haven’t learnt how to get the balance right. I know the whole balance thing is a myth, but what I mean is a ‘balance’ that feels right for us. I’m going to work on trying to get this right. What I do know is having that little something for me is priceless. It keeps my sanity. If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
It Did Do Harm – An open Letter to Grandparents & Those With Adult Children
(Blog post on generational trauma)