Let me share with you some inspirational quotes.
Are you inspired?
Do you feel like a strong, empowered woman? A mother who can handle what life, with all its gritty realism, can throw at you?
Do you ? I don’t. I feel exhausted, worn down and like the world’s shittiest mother. Some days if it weren’t for the kids and work, I would happy pull the duvet over my head and not come out.
I work full-time, I have a high maintenance two year old, a six year old with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and very little in the way of respite.My life is hard work and sometimes I just feel so bloody sorry for myself.
I am not strong. I am tired. God didn’t give this to me because he knew I could handle it. It was sheer luck. I want to say bad luck. Would I change my son for anything ? No. Do I wish he was easier to live with? Yes.
I am not Supermam.
These inspirational quotes are designed to bolster us, to make us feel we are valued and important (because, God knows, your children won’t do that!) But they have the opposite effect on me (Debbie Downer). I am not Supermam. There is nothing heroic about what I do. I shout. I slam doors. I cry. These platitudes try to glorify the situation, to glorify me, but the reality is so much more difficult. My life would not make a heart-warming Sunday evening BBC drama starring Sarah Lancashire as the stressed out but warrior-like mother.
So I take my inspiration from elsewhere. From honesty, from people who admit when the going gets shit that things are hard and not as we might like, but we plough on, regardless, because what is the alternative? To quote Amy Poehler ( again! I know it’s embarrassing at this stage) sometimes when you’re feeling down you don’t want someone to tell you it’s all going to be OK, but rather,
‘ Tell me about it! The whole world is going to explode and I haven’t slept in weeks!’
If this is what you want, believe me, themotherhub is the place for you!
The relief of recognising someone like you is powerful. You can relax and exhale amongst your tribe.This recognition is the beauty of social media, and in particular blogging. Since my son’s ASD diagnosis I have connected with many parents who are also raising a child with additional needs, an experience I have not been able to replicate yet, ‘in the real world’. The reassurance in being able to say, ‘Thank God, it is like that for me, too.’ That is what spurs me on, the knowledge I am not alone, and that someone, infront of another screen, in another country, is feeling the same as me. We are not a league of supermams, flying around the world, capes outspread , effortlessly raising our children. We are normal mothers, dealt a different hand, trying, trying our best to make it work. Sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding. Always trying.
Always trying. I find that hard. I am a lazy being at my core, and would love to be able to take my foot off the gas a little more at times, but being the mother to a child with ASD means never being able to do that. It does not come naturally to me, to try so hard. But try I must, and try I do. These platitudes not only attempt to glorify the mundane but they also minimise the effort I put in – its tough what we’re doing and I want some goddamn appreciation of that , thank you!
Live your own reality.
As a disclaimer, I’d like to add that we all have it hard. I’m conscious this reads like a bit of a woe is me tale of despair. I’m not claiming that my lot is any harder than yours, and there are certainly many whose struggles are much greater than mine. But this is not a competition, you live your own reality. One of the problems with the inspirational quotes I’ve mentioned is that they are creating a difference, a hierarchy of parenting. I’m not a better parent or a stronger person. I’m the same as you.
But hey, I can recognise the need for an inspirational quote as much as the next blogger, so have created my own: I hope it helps you. Do feel free, to share on social media, or hand it out to strangers on public transport.