As I’m speaking to my fellow mothers, I know I won’t be alone when I say that I breathed a big sigh of relief when Christmas was over this year.
Don’t be mistaken – I loved every magical bit about the holiday. The carols, the kids’ faces while opening their presents, the time with family … It’s a special privilege to be able to experience Christmas through the eyes of our children. But there’s a distinct air of pressure surrounding the silly season that I was very happy to farewell. Buying the right presents from Santa when the child changes their mind every second day. Sourcing appropriate presents for the teachers – something generous but not too elaborate to be seen as a suck-up. Making it to every Christmas party with a perfect outfit, fresh blow-dry and nails that weren’t suffering from 3-week-old Shellac.
It’s first-world pressure, of course, but it is an extra load on top of the already-heavy bag of pressure that we carry as modern mothers.
As I sat down … Wait – let’s be honest … As I stood in the shower reflecting on this after the madness settled, I realised that I really should be better at letting go of the pressures and expectations that surround motherhood by now. The pressure to be everything to everyone. To be progressing our careers while being at the school gate every day at 3pm. To be hand-making bone broth for our families, while refusing all screen time. To be practicing regular self-care, but to be selflessly devoted to our children, marriages, families, friends and careers. Is it really any wonder we’re knackered?
The expectations on mothers today are extreme. But why do we buy in to it?
As so many women will relate, I have been guilty of placing a great deal of pressure on my own shoulders throughout most of my life. But when I became a mother, it cranked up a notch. The irony is, as I’ve watched my sons grow, I’ve had many an epiphany that we really are all born with specific talents and unique characteristics. Trying to be everything and attempting to please everyone is not only futile, but irrelevant. I’ll be teaching my sons to pay attention to what they’re good at, to prioritise what fills them up, and to only focus on what makes them happy. So isn’t it time I gave myself the same permission?
As we head into 2019, I’m attempting to release a little pressure.
As a mum, I’ll spend my time baking and playing LEGO with my boys, but I’ll ban all craft because I’d rather stick forks in my eyes. I’ll volunteer for school reading, but I’ll bow out of the excursions. On the personal front, I’ll be increasing my yoga sessions, but I’m giving up on brewing my own kombucha. I’ll be upping my dinners with friends, but declining a few more kids’ birthday parties. I’m also going to stop saying “yes,” when I really want to say, “no”. Being a mother is the most rewarding but also the most demanding job in the world. Let’s cut ourselves some slack and release the pressure this year. I’m finally giving myself permission, and I’ll gladly hand that over to you too. Amy x