As I drag my tired body along the landing at 1.52am, muttering angrily about the nightly bed swapping, I feel a wave of guilt for not simply throwing a welcoming arm around my son and ushering him into my bed. As a mother, I am supposed to always put my children’s needs above my own desires. His need for comfort and company at night, is greater than my desire for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. For maternal love is selfless; children have needs which must be met, and mothers only desires which can be cast aside and, if met, have been selfishly pursued.
Two stories about mothering in the headlines this week. One on breastfeeding, or rather bottle feeding, based on the news that updated advice from the Royal College of Midwives stresses that new mothers should be given appropriate support if they make an informed decision to bottle feed. The other on ‘working mothers’ and how they’re total slackers in the workplace.
Pro-life , or anti-choice to give them a more accurate descriptor, campaigners like to cite the fact that many women who have abortions come to regret their decision. Despite evidence not supporting that claim, it’s reasonable to assume that for some women it may well be true.
I was going to write a post about the new BBC comedy ‘Motherland’ and its representation of motherhood, because, well that’s right up my street. Then I thought, what’s the bloody point of that? Who is on their edge of their seat waiting for my take on it? But then since we’re all pushing on in an endless sea of pointlessness, I thought I’d crash on anyway.
I’ve sometimes wondered if I could write one of those powerful emotional posts I see other bloggers write about their children. Where the love seeps through the page, and the words claw at your heart. Making you remember all the reasons you love being a parent; making you want to eat the chubby thighs of your newborn once again.
Is working full time compatible with raising school aged children? This was the question I posed, somewhat rhetorically, on Twitter a few nights ago. The deluge of responses I received were pretty unequivocal : Without bucket loads of support it was either impossible or very, very difficult.
I read an article earlier this week about women who regret having children. I’ve also just read an article by a woman who is childfree. The thing that struck me as the common theme in the two pieces was ambivalence. You can be a mother and be unsure of the rightness of your choice, just as you can choose to be child-free and sometimes be uncertain. There are no absolutes on either side – apart from the child itself presented as either a burdensome presence or an ever present absence.
Out of sheer boredom, just over a year ago I started a parenting blog and in doing so I started to connect with other bloggers, other mothers. I connected with people I never would have otherwise met “in the real world” and immediately felt welcome and understood.
To every new parent who’s been on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, which is everyone, let’s be honest.