For more than a year #PostPartum I had convinced myself that in order to be a good mother I had to do it all, have it all and act like I knew it all.
It was a #TOUGH year. Even the first week postpartum, I was in and out of hospital within 24 hours, going for a walk the next day (up hills), we had family and friends visit the hospital an hour after I gave birth, then again at our house the next day followed by a 5 hour long catch up with friends 3 days postpartum (Including me cooking lunch for everyone)! It was insane what I had put myself through... and for what reason?
We all put this pressure on ourselves as mothers because we believe we need to achieve more than what is normal. Women fought for our freedom all those years ago - so now we're trying to show up and stay up when really we're just falling apart on the inside.
The early days of becoming a mum included long conversations with my mother in law about how I'm supposed to connect with my child, brief conversations with my own mum about how she did it with 3 all by herself with not even one family member in the same country. It was exhausting just taking it all in. I had two women to look up to as mothers and their journeys were so different. My mother in law didn't work for 15 years, putting her children closeness and her availability to her first. And my mother was back in the swing of things just 6 months after having me, juggling motherhood, postpartum and a career.
Then came along instagram and #socialmedia
How did every other mother have such a clean/tidy home and a kid that was perfectly groomed, not one strand of hair out of place PLUS a set of nails freshly painted?! How was I going to compete? I thought it was by pushing myself. I started planning Brad's album launch 3 weeks postpartum, attended it at 5 weeks and started performing as a wedding singers at 8 weeks postpartum. I was running myself into the ground.
Over the course of the next year, I grew exhausted - of everything and everyone.
I became bitter towards Brad, because he was out of the house more than me, because he could have more than one drink on a weekend to kick back and relax while I was still #ExclusivelyBreastfeeding. My Mother and Mother-in-law became nagging noises in the back of my mind, with every choice I was making against one of them. My body was aching, my friendships barely existing... everything was falling apart.
It was only really a few months after my daughter turned one that I started to become aware of what I had allowed myself to dig myself into. I had to find a way to get back out. I had realised that because I wasn't setting any boundaries, I was actually less capable than I had ever been before.
My patience had run out, and this meant it had run out for my daughter too. I remember when she was about 9 months old I was so over everything that I put her in a cot (she never went in the cot because we co-slept) I cried and closed the door for a few minutes while she screamed for me, confused and heartbroken. (I mean we both were) I just needed a break and I couldn't get one.
Months followed after that where I went back and forth convincing myself that I needed to change things while the other part of me was telling myself I had to get over it and suck it up - that it would be selfish to ask for help.
Now, fast forwarding the time by almost another year, I put things in place for my sanity and my children.
- Our daughter started daycare 2 days a week so I could work without being disturbed and she can get the attention she requires.
- We hired a cleaner that comes every 2 weeks to deep clean the house
- I attached the cot (without the sides) to our bed to give myself more room at night
- I stopped breastfeeding when it became too much once I found out I was pregnant with baby girl number 2.
- I asked my mother-in-law to watch Norah for a few hours a week
- I started working on a project that I was passionate about #KindfulParenting
- I stopped looking outside of myself for approval and I have started living my life and #motherhood on my own terms
I still have a far way to go, but those things were initially so hard to breakthrough and now we're here. And for those breakthroughs, I've been able to become more present when I'm with my daughter. I've had more time to focus on my relationship with Brad. I've realised that grandparents are totally capable of helping out from time to time and that if I don't fill my cup, everyone else will suffer also.