Perfection is funny.
Perfection is elusive.
Perfection means something different to me than it does you.
Perfection means something different to me now than it did 3 years ago.
And finally, perfection is sucky and down right shit.
But the weird thing is, as soon as a woman pops out a sprog and that baby is put into their arms, society expects the perfect mother. As I write this post Nora is wriggling around on her play mat without a nappy on and a rather snotty nose and despite my best attempts the snot just keeps on coming. But you know what, she’s pretty darn happy about the whole situation, so lets leave that there. But I will be the first to say that as far as being the perfect mother goes, we’re so far apart that I can’t even see her, she’s a tiny tiny dot in the distance, and actually I’m ok with that.
The pressure that society puts on women can sometimes be so intense that when we don’t measure up to what people consider perfect it can really impact our emotional states and leave a pretty long lasting impact. Nice one society! Let’s explore just a couple of these expectations that society puts on new mothers.
Nice one Pru, you have quite literally fallen at the first hurdle.
I think any woman that breastfeeds at all is a super hero and I salute you. Mother’s literally cannot win, the judging looks we get when we whack out a boob in public or the disapproving eye when we reach for the bottle of formula, what do you want from us society? We just cannot win, I’m sorry.
The truth is, breastfeeding is best for your baby, but sometimes it’s just not an option for some women and it really can hurt when it just doesn’t work. And it makes us feel like failures, the one thing that we can do for our babies and we’ve already failed. I for one know that I felt like the worlds worst mother when I had to ask the nurse in the hospital for a bottle of formula and I know I’m not alone. Even on the bottle of formula it likes to remind me that breastfeeding is best, well again I’m sorry Mr Aptamil, but I just can’t do it. And may I remind you, if every woman could do it, you would quite swiftly go out of business.
Sleeping through the night
Oh dear, sorry perfect mum, we’ve failed at this one too.
So here we are, almost 6 months down the line and Nora has never consistently slept through the night. We’ve had the odd 9 hour stint where I’ve woken up at 4am and had to check she’s still breathing. But in the grand scheme of life, a full night sleep is a very elusive and basically non existent thing.
I’ve read a lot on this subject, looking at what sleep consultants (also who knew there was such a thing as a baby sleep consultant) recommend and if maybe it’s my fault that Nora hasn’t quite managed to sleep through the night. But all the tips and tricks I have tried, I assure you and nothing seems to have stuck. When people ask how she is sleeping and I tell them we’re still waking up and feeding through the night I see their looks and I know what they’re thinking. That obviously I’m doing something wrong. And for awhile I wondered what I’ve been doing wrong and maybe it was my fault and I got Nora into bad habits.
Well you know what! I don’t think I am and sometimes I achieve a whole lot at 3am. Very important things like a massive ASOS shop.
Going back to work
Oooops we’re at three for three right now.
I’ll be the first to admit that going back to work when Nora was two months old was not something I had planned on, but hey that’s life and things don’t always go to plan. A lot of people seem to think I am being selfish by not taking the full year of maternity leave and spending every waking minute with Nora. Once again super Mum, I can only apologise for my insubordination.
When I tell people I’m already back at work, people look at me baffled, like I’m a weird heartless alien. I understand that our situation might not be the norm, but you know, it really works for us. So just to clear a few things up, no I don’t feel like I’m neglecting my daughter, no I don’t think I’m harming her development in anyway and no I don’t she’s going to begrudge me in later life for going back to work. The truth is I hope that Yvo and I raise her in such a way that when she is old enough she’ll understand my decision and respect that we felt like we were doing the best for her.
So there you have it, the perfect Mother will be staying at home looking after their baby that sleeps through the night whilst surviving solely on breastmilk. But I’m going to go and hang out with my formula fed, 3am loving, one day a week day care baby.
So sorry society that I’m not the perfect Mum, but not that sorry.