The greatest myth of all

I recently talked about how one of the biggest myths is the effectiveness of multi-tasking.

Well, guess what.  I’ve found another one.  A much bigger one.

The greatest myth of all is…

IT CAN’T BE THAT HARD HAVING KIDS

‘Well I knew that,’ I hear you say.  ‘Of course it’s hard.’

But do you really think that?  Really?  How many times have you been thinking how blooming hard it is before catching sight of your lovely, stylish and ever-so-together friend or neighbour shimmying towards you with their beautifully mannered children.  And then that other thought pops into your mind.  You know, that really niggly one, which contradicts the one you were just having.  ’It can’t be that hard having kids,’ you think.  ’She’s doing it and she doesn’t seem to be struggling.’

Yes, THIS is the biggest myth.  That YOU are the only one that finds it tough.  I promise you.  Even if I’m the only other one who finds it difficult (which I’m not).  Behind closed doors we are all having our own struggles.  Crikey, I don’t even manage to confine mine to closed doors.  Public displays of inaptitude are our forte.

Whenever I’m tired, irritable, anxious and in a perpetual state of being run down, I wonder why.  ‘You have two young children,’ a wise person suggests.  Yes, but so does everyone else, I think.  So that’s not a valid enough reason.  Because everyone else is doing it and they don’t seem to be struggling.  Vicious circle.

So, why do we think everyone else is finding it easier than us?  Why can’t we trust and take solace in the fact that it is easily the hardest job any of us have ever done?

Probably because we think it should come naturally.  We are led to believe that mothering is the most natural thing in the world.  Erm, no, not unless ‘natural’ is never having time to yourself, often feeling like you are a slave, and just craving one minute of peace where your ears are not being assaulted by demands of a minor or worse, CBeebies.  Not that we watch TV in our house, of course.  We’re too busy doing crafts.  Ha ha.

When we share our inadequacies with one another and are honest about just how hard it is, we feel better.  The relief is palpable.  But we soon forget this truth and in our low moments feel that everyone is doing a better job than us.  There’s always someone to compare ourselves to.

The other thing that makes us feel dreadful is expectation.  Not other people’s.  Our own.  So many friends have said to me they aren’t the mother they expected they would be.  They would, of course, be better.  But you know what?  We had these preconceptions exactly then… PRE-CONCEPTION.  It’s easy to say you’ll be a patient, nurturing, ‘ABC-teaching whilst putting on the home-made dinner’ mother when you’re sitting there childless, in your skinny jeans with a glass of wine in your hand.  The reality is a galaxy far, far away…

I thought I’d be a much better mother than I actually feel most of the time.  When we were having a particularly difficult time with Beaver, I said she needed a different mother.  I thought I was failing her that badly.  And I was told, ‘You are the best mother for Beaver. Because you’re her mother.’

And there is great truth in that.  Our children love us, flaws and all.  They don’t judge us when we get it wrong.  It is we who judge ourselves.

So, next time you find yourself doing just that and thinking, ’It can’t be that hard having kids, everyone else is doing it and they don’t seem to be struggling.’

Remember this.

That’s the greatest myth of all.

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    15 thoughts on “The greatest myth of all

    1. Nell @ the Pigeon Pair and Me

      This is so true. And, as mothers, we don’t help ourselves. I’ve spent time with people who exaggerate their success, and downplay any difficulties they might have as a parent. Or who tell outright lies – eg saying their potty-training child hasn’t had an accident, when they have. This doesn’t do much for one’s own self-esteem! I’ve learned to avoid these sorts of people….

      Reply
      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        We really don’t, Nell. Those mothers who do just that do the biggest disservice to all of us. I just hope that I always tell it how it is and never leave someone feeling overwhelmed. There’s no pride in being proud. Thanks for reading again x

        Reply
    2. Clare Duguid

      Howdy Amy,
      You write a lot of truth. I for one struggle and the days I struggle the most are the days I am looking at others. The more I look around & worry about the ‘better’ mums the more I struggle. When I sit back & concentrate on our children & our parenting choices I struggle a little less.

      X

      Reply
      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        Howdy Clare. Oh I hear you. Me too. When I compare myself to other mums and my children to other children I can be filled with despair. But how can we know their reality? And what goes on behind closed doors? My children actually behave better indoors than out. But hey, you can’t have it all, can you! x

        Reply
    3. Karan

      Thank you Amy. Really enjoy reading your blogs and sooo refreshing for someone to tell it as it is! I struggle with my 2 most days, but with a few honest friends and lots of white wine, I get through!

      Reply
    4. Notmyyearoff

      God yes this is SOOOO TRUE!!! I got the biggest shock of my life when I had Z. And there are so many mums out there that will do anything but admit they are finding it tough because they don’t want to be seen in a bad light. So everyone watches everyone whilst twitching from all the lack of sleep etc and then make it worse by worrying about if you’re a good mum. Ofcourse it is amazing too but it is definitely hard!

      Reply
    5. Cathie B

      Thank you for this piece. Have been struggling a bit this week re: my ability as a mum and all the juggling which is needed. You literally wrote every thought that has been running through my head this week – thank hun – made me realise that I shouldn’t bottle it up so much x

      Reply
    6. Dillytante

      I feel like this ALL the time. I’m well educated, I’m pretty self aware, how can I be finding it this hard?! I’m not very good at hiding it either…

      Reply
    7. Xandi | The Mummy Scripts

      GREAT post! Sooooo true and well done you for highlighting it. Sometimes you really start to think you’re the only one who can’t cope with having kids. There are so many parents out there who gloss over the details and make out like everything is rosy – I know one who insisted her daughter was potty trained at 14 months gloatingly. And there I was with my almost 3 year old still getting to grips with it! It can feel a little like a competition but I think if we all just accept our strengths and faults and do the best we can, that’s all we can ask of ourselves.
      ps – we are also prone to some spectacular public displays! x

      Reply
    8. Anne

      I heard a saying that having one child is difficult, having two is even harder but having three is easy. I think it’s because you’ve actually given up on any of your pre-conceptions by then and just get on with the job in hand, you really have no choice!
      Anne (mum of five)

      #PoCoLo

      Reply
    9. Verily Victoria Vocalises

      How very, very true. I think I’ve known since the age of nine that this is no myth. I’m the eldest of 7 and was changing nappies from that age! It was being a ‘Mum’ very early on which meant I didn’t have Grace til I was 36 – knowing how much hard work kids were. It was still a shock to the system and I still can’t see how my Mum did it!! I do think some are more natural than others though and some make rods for their own backs. We are all different and we all have different ways of coping. Great post and thanks for linking to PoCoLo Amy xx

      Reply

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