Writer’s Reflection: The Unspoken Struggles Of Motherhood

Which camp are you in - stay at home mama or working mama?

Even before giving birth, this is a question that women are burdened with and already that is a struggle within itself, let alone when a baby comes into the equation. I empathise with both camps and one is not easier than the other. 

"I lacked mental stimulation as a stay at home parent."

 

During the newborn stage, it was a lonely job staying at home – I craved the interactions and the social side from working. There would be days where I would not interact with another adult apart from my husband. It was a horrible rut to get into and I would live vicariously through my ex-colleagues. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely bored, but not to the point where I had nothing to do, boy, was my day filled to the brim with chores! I lacked mental stimulation and I went through a period where it got dark and I found myself not in a good place. The fact that my husband worked overseas and I was tasked with looking after a newborn on my own – it was not fun at all. 

 

As my daughter started entering a new phase of sitting up and eating and could hold a babble conversation, it got better. My workload and productivity slowed down though as the once stable baby started walking – a 10 minute task would be stretched to 1 hour and at times, I couldn’t even carve out 30 minutes to vacuum. My daughter constantly wanted my attention e.v.e.r.y minute of the day and it was draining. Therefore nap time was my golden hour and I would rush to get all the chores done – my brain didn’t have time to switch off, and I just kept thinking ahead – making mental notes, ticking off boxes.

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Every stage of raising a child throws you in at the deep end.

 

 

You think you’re floating and bobbing up and down the water smoothly, then comes this 10 foot wave and pushes you down again. When you think you’ve mastered a part of the parenting job description, self doubt creeps in and you question if you’re a good parent. It’s a bloody hard job staying afloat.

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"I envied the working mama."

 

I of course envied the working mama, leaving her child in capable hands and off she goes being independent and self sufficient. But no one talks about her extra mental load being away. Not only does she need to work full time, but she is remotely caring for the baby, managing the household and constantly organising. A working mama will work extra hard to balance motherhood and expectations of work by working late into the night. If she gets a bad night’s sleep, she still has to perform 110% at work the next day, whereas I know that I could wing it at home and leave chores for the following day………

"You do the best that serves you now."

 

 

As children go through stages, so do we as mamas. As much as we want to plan to a certain extent – do what is right for you at this moment in time. No one knows you, your family’s circumstances, the long-term plans, daily lifestyle or your personal dreams. You do the best that serves you now. I’ve seen many stay at home mamas return back to work after a decade away and then working mamas working their ass off in order to leave the work force to spend quality time with the family. We’re living in a day and age where women have this choice and it is ours to make alone. Most importantly is to have a grounded network of friends or family to cheer you on. 

 

I am fortunate to be working after a decade and over the moon that I am earning my own money. I work remotely and get the best of both worlds now. It took me a while to get into the working groove and had to familiarise myself with presentation slides and spreadsheets all over again!

 

The dynamics in the family have changed and the children are more independent than ever. They see the positive impact that working has on me and their little reminders of my schedule is incredibly cute – I won’t miss a lesson with my 2 human diaries by my side. They ask me how my day has been and I really appreciate that question.

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Let's lift each other up

 

Every parent works hard and has unspoken struggles. We should be lifting each other up and encouraging each other. Spreading kindness and join in a healthy community will do wonders for your sanity. There will always be opinions, don’t dwell on the negativity and already that is a powerful move for you and your family.

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Writer's Notes

I admire all types of parents and I know deep down that everyone struggles with one thing or another. I am quite a practical and level headed person and for me there is no “perfect family”. There are perfect moments that we experience as a family and this is my encouragement that I am doing pretty ok as a parent; when we successfully finish a hike, the small pockets of peace as the children read or play, when the children say good morning to neighbours, when we eat in silence because we’re all too enthralled with the food. These moments override my struggles.

May 2024