Navigating the highs and lows of motherhood, many mums find themselves thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this.”
By Nicole Fuge, Mama Disrupt® Managing Editor
“I didn’t sign up for this,” I often catch myself thinking. Usually when I’m running on my 1750th night of broken sleep, trying to stop sibling squabbles, reply to an email, and figure out how to put the crusts back onto a piece of toast (even though I was explicitly told – no crusts).
Yes, I wanted to be a mum. In fact I tried really hard to become one. But navigating the minefield of big emotions, anxieties, and let’s not even talk about hormones? Nobody warned me about that part.
Now, our mothers and grandmothers surely had their challenges, but they often had a strong community behind them – the so-called village we all hear so much about. Whereas mamas of this generation – many of us are isolated, we are expected to seamlessly transition from professional life to mum life (and back again) like it’s no big deal, we’re keeping house and keeping up appearances, while also wondering what happened to our social lives.
Not to mention the pressure to excel at everything … even though we’re told there’s no such thing as perfect, that societal expectation is still there, you know?
“SURE WE’VE GOT RESILIENCE, BUT EVEN THE BEST OF US HAVE OUR BREAKING POINTS. AND WE’RE REACHING THEM.”
I remember sharing my feelings for the first time and getting, “Oh, that’s completely normal. All new mums feel this way”. But what if it’s not just new mums. What if it’s not just a passing phase? What if this feeling sticks around?
We live in a world that’s constantly changing: economic ups and downs, health crises – you name it. Sure we’ve got resilience, but even the best of us have our breaking points. And we’re reaching them.
Depression, anxiety, stress, overwhelm and burnout are at an all-time high. It seems like mental health struggles are just part of the parental package these days.
So what’s the good news? Well, people are finally talking about it. Mental health is becoming less of a taboo and more of a regular conversation. Celebs, influencers and even your mum friends are sharing more of the not-so-perfect sides of motherhood. And it’s about time.
Because it’s perfectly all right not to have it all together. Just remember to reach out. Share your story. Don’t struggle in silence – even when it’s hard to explain what you need or how you feel.
You are doing the best you can. And while motherhood may not be what we thought we signed up for, together, we are rewriting what being a mother means – and taking care of our mental health is a big part of that.
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