By Mindi Palm
Let’s take a moment to quietly reflect on the fact that there’s a little cray cray in each one of us.
Sure, lunacy is a spectrum, but every mother generally sits somewhere on it, whether baby, toddler or teenager in tow.
This, however, should come as no surprise: motherhood hits you like a steam train.
One minute you’re being doted on at a baby shower, sprinkled with gifts whilst nibbling pretty little cupcakes and cooing over new onesies that still have a crease down the leg.
The next, you’re holding a tiny bundle in your arms as you wrangle your hormones whilst realising life will never be the same again.
Cue the reality check.
Cue the sleepless nights.
Cue the fear.
Cue the all-consuming love.
Cue the lioness in you that appears from nowhere.
Essentially, in the beautiful and joyous journey of modern motherhood, if you’re not going crazy, you’re not doing it right.
The incessant multi-tasking, the milkshake making, the baby burping, the botty-wiping, the mess, the chaos, the noise (oh, the noise), and the other miscellaneous key performance indicators that comprise an endless list of mandatory responsibilities.
You are not alone in your feelings
Some mamas take it in their stride, and like clockwork get into a groove, adding more and more tiny humans to their tribe as they go. All power to them. However, many of us don’t, instead wondering when civilisation will resume and we can say ‘hello’ to ourselves again.
So, we put on a brave face, express another ounce of milk and try and hold it all together as best we can wondering if it is our fault that this parenting gig seems so unbelievably hard.
But sisters, welcome to the secret. We ALL feel like this.
It’s normal that you have no idea what you are doing and things seem out of control. That’s because they are. And that’s ok.
Relax in the knowledge that you are NOT alone. And know that if you find yourself ugly-crying and belting out Adele rhythms reminiscing the good ol’ days when you got to have a conversation without interruption (and to use that brilliant brain of yours for intellectual decision-making), there’s plenty that can be done.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Find your tribe and don’t let go
First of all, you must – YOU MUST – get around to other mamas who are happy to talk about their motherhood experience UNFILTERED. You will find they will ALL have the same struggles as you.
Find a mum’s group where you can freely and openly share what is in your aching heart, or an online tribe that understands what you are going through and inspires you to keep going (cue Mama Disrupt®). Or a warrior-in-crime who you can confide in over a triple shot latte.
Find your place amongst a bag of fellow mixed nuts, and the load will lighten. It is something that every mother needs and deserves.
Secondly, turn to the pros. Googling is great for inspiration and motivation, but if you find yourself in an emotional rut and just can’t get out (waking up each morning with dread, or feeling constantly teary are sure signs), don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help.
It’s not just tiredness. Don’t explain it away. There are tons of counsellors, therapists, doctors and nurses that specialise in mind health of the ‘I’ve had a baby’ variety, with good reason.
Half your mummy friends are probably already chatting to these people. It takes a strong person to recognise when support is needed. And honey, we all need it.
Embrace the lunacy
And, know that it’s all temporary. Soon, the sea of soiled nappies, Lego landmines and never-ending laundry won’t phase you. What’s another day at the frontline of parenting paradise, after all?
However, appreciate this. You will never graduate from lunacy. None of us ever do. For as long as we’re beloved mums to our sons and daughters, there will always be opportunities to lock ourselves in the toilet and chow down copious amounts of Swiss chocolate.
Ladies, let’s be loud and proud of our inner fruitcake – the side of ourselves that emerged and blossomed when we realised how wildly, passionately and unconditionally in love we were with our babies.
We may have been sent round the bend by the little blighters, but we have also been transformed into magnificent forces to be reckoned with: fragile yet strong, soft but fierce, and resilient through it all.
YOU GOT THIS.
PRO PEEPS TO CHAT TO
LIFELINE lifeline.org.au 13 11 14
BEYONDBLUE beyondblue.org.au 1300 22 4636
PANDA panda.org.au 1300 726 306
COPE cope.org.au (03) 9376 6321
AUSTRALIAN BREASTFEEDING ASSOCIATION breastfeeding.asn.au 1800 686 268