Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Deep down, are all us mums just the same?

I like to think of myself as not your average mum. I like to think of myself as different to the croc-wearing, Cath Kidston brigade I see at toddler group every week. I like to tell myself that they don't like me either, that I have nothing in common with them and then I write sardonic posts on my Twitter timeline about them. I like to think this is funny. That I'm being funny (I'm never really offensive). But something has occurred to me recently that I just can't get out of my head.

That possibly, I'm an arrogant twat.

When I first gave birth to Ava I think I would have went spare if it wasn't for the internet. Although my time spent on social media was severely cut down by a screaming, breastfeeding, non-sleeping newborn it was an extremely important tool in getting me through those first few months. When I needed to know how to cure her colic, when I needed encouragement to keep going with the feeding and sometimes when I just felt like the shittest mum in the world and I needed to hear from some other mums that I was doing ok.

As she got older, the internet became invaluable to me as I discovered that I was not alone. That there were a new era of other mums out there just like me who were slowly but surely 'coming out'. Mums who didn't spend all day pureeing organic sweet potato. Mums who also had huge bags under their eyes and a new appreciation for gin & tonics. Mums who were HAPPY to admit that it was hard. And they tweeted about it. And they blogged about it. And I followed, desperately happy to find other like-minded women.Women who also (while loving their children to the moon and back) admitted what a complete fucking slog it could be. Who joined me in laughing at all the girls called Tabitha who stand in circles in the park comparing notes on baby led weaning and asking what time next weeks stroller aerobics class was on.

I was never that girl. I was the girl pushing Ava on the swing on my own, rolling my eyes and thanking god that I had better things to do than show off about what age my kid started walking. I went to a breastfeeding group and lasted 3 weeks. The other women, they killed me. It just seemed so competitive to me. And so 'mumsy'. And I've never wanted to be 'mumsy'. 

So I think I put these people into a bracket. Possibly labelled them unfairly. Because the rubbish stuff, we aren't really going to admit that to all and sundry are we? I'm not going to tell them how some nights after story time, I walk out of that bedroom and all I feel is RELIEF. I feel disastrously guilty yet unbelievably ecstatic that the day is done and I can have a few hours on my own. I can admit that an hour spent in the kitchen in my bare feet, with my favourite album on, cooking and wine drinking is better than the whole day that I spent trying to get Ava to eat something that wasn't covered in breadcrumbs and trying to explain to her for the millionth time that play dough is not a food group. 

If I won't admit these feelings then why would they? Just because I choose shorter skirts over their floaty Laura Ashley numbers doesn't mean they aren't clock watching till wine time too. 

Cause see having a toddler is hard. And maybe we are all just in the same boat?

I love Ava with everything that's in me. I love spending time with her and doing things together. Even stuff like going to the supermarket has become a bit dull without her casually shoplifting stuff into my handbag  (I put it back) and sitting in the trolley opening all the Tampax cause she thinks they're sweeties. I can't even go to the loo at night without standing at her bedroom doorway for at least 60 seconds gazing adoringly at her sleeping body. 

But she's also exhausting.

So am I being arrogant or not? Do these women I laugh at for being so 'earth mothery' also occasionally sit up too late drinking wine and talking to boys (the single ones anyway)? Do they also hate themselves the next morning when their darling little one wakes them at 6am? Do they too shove a tablet under the child's nose and pop them into the bed next to them in a vain attempt at getting just another 30 minutes sleep? Are these women also furtively checking Tinder on their iPhone during toddler group? Am I just too busy being self-indignant and much cooler than them to notice? 

I'm starting to think that we're all just the same. And that maybe I should stop labelling a woman a certain type of mother just because she wears a scrunchie.

I'm not moaning. I don't mind being a mum and I especially love being a mum to Ava.  I actually quite like having a discussion about what foxes eat for breakfast whilst I cook the 5pm chicken dippers. But I'm not going to lie, sometimes it would be nice to have more to worry about than getting to the bottom of her vest before she sits on the potty and pees on it. 

Maybe it's honesty we're missing? Maybe we are all so busy painting on this 'isn't motherhood wonderful?' fa├žade that we're all missing the point. Babies are babies. Toddlers are toddlers. They all wake you up in the night. They all want the exact same fucking book read to them every single night for at least 6 months and they all get hoummous on the walls.

And we are all the same too. We all need that gin and tonic some days, we all want to cry from tiredness occasionally and we all fantasise about the days we could go out on a Tuesday night without childcare being harder to arrange than the G8 summit. We all get pissed off with our other halves and take it out on them in some way or another. We all feed them fish fingers when we are too tired to function and we all shove them in front of the telly when we desperately need just a few quiet minutes on our own.

Perhaps the problem is we just don't all admit it?


Me said...

I love this. I find it incredibly odd that people are so VERY open about how hard their pregnancy and birth was, but not the parenting. Wish we could all just be a little more honest, I know I would like to not feel so alone in my thoughts x

Unknown said...

I love this post. Although I'm not in a position to identify with any of it, I love your honesty - I've heard so many friends saying the same thing, it's refreshing to hear someone say it out loud to the world xx

Unknown said...

Christ. Are we the same person?! Favourite thing on the internet today!!