Motherhood, Thrive or Survive?
The war cry of mum focused social media and parenting bloggers, where scraping through parenting by the skin of your teeth is celebrated and staying in your pyjamas for a whole week is as common as toddler tantrums.
Parenting is hard, it is challenging and every mum is just getting through it one day at a time but are we encouraging women to give up? To succumb to the terrors of parenting and forget the
dreams and hopes they had before they left the delivery room? They say when a child is born, so is a mother but are we really celebrating the mother in all her glory or are we hiding her behind a mountain of laundry and home pureed baby food?
In 2017 The Daily Mail released an article titled 'Slummy Mummies' where they picked out some of the countries leading mum bloggers and called out their 'lazy' parenting (their words not mine!) and branded them neglectful. Suggesting that by choosing to not shower daily they were damaging their children and setting a bad example. The whole parenting community was outraged. How dare they? These women are simply trying to be honest about how hard parenting is and what its like behind the Instagram filter and #blessed, but despite the horrid title and mean girls - esque name calling there was some truth to the article. These women are not neglecting their children though, they are clearly loving and devoted parents but have they started neglecting themselves? We have stopped telling mum's they can 'have it all'. We've stopped encouraging women to be the multitasking goddesses we know them to be and we are settling. Settling for ok jobs, ok parenting and ok marriages because that's #mumlife. With scores of women putting their careers on hold, shelving their dreams until their children have left for university, merely getting through each day of motherhood as though it were an endurance test.
But what about now?
Instead of surviving motherhood we should be telling women to thrive, having children doesn't mean you have to give up on you. Don't wait for your children to have left home before you chase your dream, chase it down, right now. You can write that novel during nap times, you can study for that qualification whilst Hey Dugee is on or you can apply for that dream job and demand flexible working. It won't be easy but you can do it. If you can simultaneously change a baby's nappy and read a Thomas the Tank book to a toddler you can do anything. If you can convince a preschooler that the pink cup is even better than the blue one then you can easily navigate that college course or launch your business idea. There are of course hurdles and challenges but as the saying goes 'If you want something doing ask a busy woman' and there are plenty of organisations that can help you along the way such as the Distance Learning Centre
Mothers by nature are tenacious, passionate, hardworking and can quickly adapt to any situation (for instance when your four year old tries to go down the slide with a bare bum in the middle of a busy park) but most importantly they have the best reason of all to be successful, being a mother. Ask any mum what her most important goal in life is and they will tell you that its about wanting the best for their children but it seems to be that many feel that means saying goodbye to whats best for them. It is time to stop promoting the self deprecation of parenting fails and set the bar higher because women are incredible, mothers are superheroes and I am yet to meet a mother that didn't have the negotiating skills of a UN leader.
You can be a good mum and still want the best for you. You don't have to choose one or the other and by chasing your dreams you are ultimately showing your children that anything is possible when stop surviving motherhood and start thriving.