‘Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.’
It’s a line often attributed to the late, great Elizabeth Taylor and it’s a mantra I’ve levelled at myself many a time as I’ve looked in the mirror, all panda eyes and drama queen. And often it works. Often it’s just the sort of pull-yourself-together pep talk I need to get myself back on track. To cut the bullshit, as Liz probably would have said. To shake off the crap, hold your head high and get on with business.
But for the last few days, the mantra of ‘keep calm and carry on,’ just hasn’t cut it with me. Since I got the news about my possible Circumvallate Placenta diagnosis at my 20 week scan, I’ve tried very hard to stay positive. But some days it’s exhausting trying to keep that brave face on. Some days that mask with the happy face painted on it just won’t stay put, no matter how much I try. Some days, there just aren’t enough tissues, as I put my waterproof mascara to the ultimate test and watch as it runs down my face.
And you know what? THAT’S OKAY…
It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to have wobblers and want to hide from the world.
There’s far too much pressure put on people out there to just ‘be okay, or at least appear to ‘be okay.’ And let’s face it, modern mums are one of the main cohorts of society that are just expected ‘to get on with it.’ To be supermum all the time; balance work, home, collections, drop offs. Be a role model, cheerleader, good cop, bad cop, the laundry fairy and magical maid. Work overtime but always be there for your kids, worry about them but don’t overthink it, supervise them but don’t be a helicopter mom. Be Florence nightingale, the fountain of ultimate knowledge, confident in what you’re doing yet humble at the same time. Keep fit, look good and feed your family a healthy diet… it goes on and on and on.
Anyone else feel like smashing the mask of perfect motherhood into smithereens!?
It’s the impossible, 24/7, till death do you part job that will wear you down to a nub if you try to live up to the expectations of society.
But here’s the thing, no mother has her shit together all the time, even if to you, it appears she has. SHE HAS NOT.
But we’ve gotten so used to hiding those emotions, to putting on that mask, it can seem as though we do. But you ask any mum if she has those feelings of being out of control, those feelings of failing, of self-doubt, those feelings of endless guilt over very decision she’s put under the microscope before she even makes it and the answer will be YES.
I’d love to see more mums saying, ‘hey you know what today I’m not okay, and that’s okay’. It doesn’t make you a bad mum, it doesn’t mean you’re failing, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.
It actually means you’re an amazing mum, who’s doing her bloody best every day of the week and for this moment you’re allowed to feel down, or sad, or just tired of the endless merry-go-round. Smash that perfect image of motherhood. Burn that fucking mask! Cry, rant, rave, take a break.
Tomorrow will be a better day mama and despite what you think, you have got this, even on the days you think you don’t.