THE BARELY BEARABLE BURDEN OF MOTHERHOOD

Look, I’ve had my fair share of fights with mothers. Some have straight up told me my child-free life is a selfish one. Some have tilted their head at me in pity: how will I ever know true happiness? Others have grimaced and replied: what do you do with your life then?

Oh, I don’t know Carol, I sleep late, travel and do lots and lots of bonky bonky.

Sigh. One may dream.

Anyway, the last ‘fight’ I had with a mom was a friend who decided she was going to ‘write off’ her own mother because gran had popped the pacifier in coffee before popping it back in the 1 year-old’s mouth. Was it a dick move? Sure, you don’t feed babies coffee, for crying in a bucket. Does the move justify writing off the person who pushed you into life? Don’t be a bloody idiot.

But today, as I read about three little girls having been murdered by their mother – a once doting physician-mom who had undergone multiple infertility treatments to fall pregnant – I reflected on the often heavy burden that mothers carry…and that no-one notices.

All mothers become overwhelmed at one point or another. But they don’t kill their kids. Overwhelmed mothers do not murder children. If that had been true, how the hell are any of us alive? Overwhelmed mothers who also suffer under the yoke of mental health struggles…well…that’s another story.

And how many times have we seen it? I see it all the time. Moms pushing everyone ahead of themselves. Married moms who do everything alone anyway. Moms who eat the scraps off kids’ plates. Moms who get sleep only when everyone else is tucked away and sleeping soundly and only after the dishes are done and the clothes ironed and the lunches packed andsportstuffpackedandandandandand…. Only then do they grant themselves a minute or two catching z’s.

I vow today to keep a better eye on my mom friends. To take them for a massage every now and again…even though I hate it. To babysit arrange for a babysitter every once in a while. To make a fuss on their birthdays. And to listen and look more closely for signs that they need someone to say: sup girl, you are not alone.

And I vow to deliver bottles and bottles of wine to some deserving moms…

To all the moms out there…when you feel at your lowest, remember this child-free indolent. I am in awe of you…you, doer of so many things. Take a break and take care of you.

x

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