By: Simone Gobin
My editor requested submission of this article weeks ago. When I pitched the idea at the time, I thought to myself; “this would be easy, after all, I am a mom”. Boy, I didn’t realise what I had signed up for really! There are many different types of mothers out there, many different ways to parent and many struggles that we face as mothers every day. I’ve chosen to talk about moms from all walks of life, because no matter what our struggles are; we face them with one mindset & that is being someone’s mom.
The “Stay at home moms”
If you’re from the old school walks of life, you might have had a stay at home mother not because she lacked skills; it’s just that women having jobs at the time was rare. Women were still looked upon a narrow mindset of having to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Stay at home moms however, did not and do not live an easy life. Whether it’s by choice or not, you are still faced with many hardships.
If you start googling about “stay at home mothers”, you are going to get an endless supply of ‘how to deal with feelings of isolation’, ‘losing yourself’ and of course, ‘depression’ suggestions. It is not a google fault, but is one of the hardest truths behind motherhood. When becoming a mom, we are all prone to depression, and other psychological problems. It is not your fault, hormones play the most important role in this & trust me, your hormones are really not your fault.
However, a major side effect of being a stay at home mom, is usually the fact that you begin to feel alone. Now, I understand that you are never really alone, in fact, you have your little one around you at every step of the way, even sometimes in the toilet! But you don’t really have that girlfriend to chat to, or time with your husband to sit and talk. With no one to turn to ,especially on those hard days when your toddler turns into a little monster, life can really get you down.
Another thing about being a stay at home mom are the expectations behind it. One automatically becomes the elected candidate even with tasks your partner can carry out. Lets not forget the annoying pile of dishes to wash up and running around like a headless chicken, trying to keep everyone’s stuff together. Why? Because you’re at home all the time, what else are you supposed to? (Well that’s what becomes expected!)
You begin to feel as though every day is the same, in fact, it just begins to feel as though life is a never ending day, yet there are still not enough hours within them. Sometimes you feel as though the only appreciation that you receive is the once in the year mother’s day gift or the even worse response, ‘why is this not done?’, although the other thousand things that you did do, just went unnoticed.
It’s a tough life being a stay at home mom.
The working mom
“So quickly, she’s back at work. She’s got a nanny to look after the baby, she works all day, does nothing at home and spends a few hours a day with her baby. What could she know about motherhood?”
If this mindset was accurate, then we all would be wondering what could fathers know about fatherhood? Come on, cut the lady some slack. She’s trying! If you think it’s really hard for a man to go to work, come home & complain, why do you think that a mother who has to go to work, come home, sort out food, look after her family and still have time to play with her children is a piece of cake? TRUST ME, IT IS NOT.
Working moms still have to get their entire family ready for their day.This means the general “hustle and bustle” of trying to get the kids fed, cleaned and ready for daycare whilst making sure that the house doesn’t catch on fire and ensuring that everything looks stain free-prim and proper!
You also need to have the super power of remembering; what and when the important stuff are – such as doctors checkups, soccer practice, a huge meeting, your partner’s work review, which child is allergic to what and that the dog needs food.
Then there’s the afternoon rush of feeding hungry and tired children. You know what, I don’t even have to explain this one!
These women should never be referred to as single moms, they should be referred to as single parents. Why? Because they play the role of both mom and a dad rolled into one. These moms fight against the stigma’s placed on them by narrow minded people every day. Apart from the increasing financial strain, a single mom also suffers the social isolation that comes with it. Single parenting also comes with the pressure of making the correct decisions. Let’s be honest here, single mothers are often looked at with an extra critical eye, so when a single mom makes a decision; you can count on her being worried firstly about whether it was the right decision for her child and then secondly, about whether it was an acceptable social decision as well.
Moms to children with special needs
Mothers who raise children with special needs- I have no idea as to how they do it. These moms have a very busy life and don’t have the luxury of hosting elaborate parties and cheering at their sons soccer matches when suited. “Special needs moms” have to fit in extreme medical care and sometimes even crisis handling into their daily lives. I’m not stating that children with special needs don’t have parties or participate in soccer, but these superhumans called moms, approach every situation with a little extra care due to their child’s special needs.
This can become a lonely situation as most ‘friends’ are not patient to wait around for a mom like this to have some spare time (and trust me, spare time is almost non existent in these cases). These moms also face a lot of heartbreak, not because they want their child to be ‘normal’. It is more based on them wanting their children to experience the joys that many others take for granted. The emotional strain and isolation is enough to set anyone running for the hills, but not these moms. They are survivors and hide their tears and appear with the brightest smiles for their children. Mothers as such represent strength for their children that only “they” can understand.
Moms with disabilities
These women are also scrutinized for their parenting because of their disability.They remain strong yet raise their children despite the humps and bumps along the way. Whether it is a physical disability or a mental one, it comes with a few restrictions. For example, I read about a mom in a wheelchair that had a daughter. This strong women took the bull by the horns and taught her daughter that “mommy may not be able to things in a way that other mommys’ do, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do it in another way” and since its our way, doesn’t that make it special?
Moms with disabilities are often isolated due to the fact that they do things a bit differently, they are looked down upon due to various factors Disabled mothers tend to often worry about their children and whether or not they will fit into society without being labelled an outcast due to their parents disability. Medical bills here are also a worry and in those moments where mommy gets sick, anxiety takes over and the case of wondering if her little one is going to be okay without her for a few days.
There are so many different types of moms, all with very real struggles. A common struggle between us moms, is definitely mom guilt. As you can see, motherhood is a hectic deal and constant hustle and bustle. We then feel guilty for stepping away for a while to take care of ourselves, because we automatically feel that we should be spending each and every moment on our families.
I, in no way, base the above on every person’s situation, because all situations are different. However, being a mom is definitely something that deserves respect. Motherhood is not easy and through every trial, struggle and trouble, mothers do what they do everyday because of the joy that their children bring. No matter what a mother has to face, in the end, a mother will always say, “My child, you are worth it.”