I’ve been very open on this little blog of mine, about my challenges as a mum. Growing up dreaming of being a mum meant I pictured an earth mother, a gentle and attached mummy who was obviously exhausted (come on, what parent of little ones isn’t?!) but calm and so, so fulfilled. In reality? Silent reflux, postnatal depression, high needs; I’m not the mum I thought I would be.
It’s so easy in this digital age to feel inferior to the Pinterest art and craft activities or interior design, the rosy-cheeked cherubs who social media would have you believe never break from perfect serenity. Curated Instagram feeds are undoubtedly beautiful look at, but can leave certainly me, wondering exactly how I became so far removed from my ideals. I feel overwhelmed and stressed out a great deal of the time and I drop the spinning plates constantly as I try to keep both Toby and Martha entirely ‘in check’ alongside running a blog, a business and (in theory) a home.
I expected sleep deprivation, I expected babies to scream, poo explosions, constant guilt and bewilderment.
I don’t think I was naive in my perceptions of motherhood, I was naive in my perceptions of me as a mother.
You may have guessed that this post is not about how much I swooned when Tom Hardy was on CBeebies (I didn’t watch it, I don’t get the big fuss), it’s about the mums who represent what I want to be and who inspire me. Chelle, Susanne, Jenny, Alex, Charlotte – so many amazing women are rocking being mums to little people alongside carving their careers and running businesses and my goodness do I think they’re awesome! Last week, however, I saw a video from another mum and it changed me.
High up in the beautiful photo stakes on my social media feeds are Amber and Kirsty. Known to many formerly as Goblin Child and now as Meet The Wildes, these women have four beautiful children; two sets of twins born 19 months apart. Yes, you read that right! Amber is the predominant blogger of the family and the one who carried both pregnancies before returning to work. She’s amazing; working a very demanding job in the City while maintaining breastfeeding (you have to read this post), writing a fantastic blog and being a mum.
Kirsty is the stay-at-home mum. She has all four children at home full time, whilst doing some vlogging for their YouTube channel and having her own Instagram account. It is a ‘Day in the Life’ video that the ladies uploaded last week, which has had this phenomenal impact on me.
Filmed a while ago, when their beautiful girls were still oh so tiny, this video shows a standard day for Kirsty, their toddler sons and baby girls. It shows a mum who was put on this earth for that purpose, to raise and nurture her miniature humans. It shows the mum I wanted to be but haven’t been. In many ways it should have saddened me – and maybe for a moment it did – but then it inspired me. I’ll let you watch the video for yourself before I continue.
Hands up who wants to be that mum? I sure as hell do.
Something clicked, watching Kirsty tend to four very young children with such openness and compassion: I may not be the Mother Earth I had imagined, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a mum that I truly don’t want to be. I don’t have to scream at Toby for just being a toddler, I’m fighting fire with fire and it’s pointless. I don’t have to wrap Martha up in so much cotton wool that I snap at Toby for trying to give his sister a cuddle. I don’t have to feel suffocated by Martha’s clinginess because I’m fretting about what else I could be doing.
Can you sense the ‘Be More Kirsty’ meme developing in my mind?
Yesterday I took Toby and Martha to Nottingham on my own. 45 minutes or so in the car each way and 4 hours in the city on a scorching hot day. Toby wasn’t dressed for the weather because I’d not hung the laundry out to dry in time, so instead to berating myself for my shoddy housewife-ness, I bought him a pair of shorts and a cap. A quick stop at Greggs for a snack to stop them screaming, allowing Toby the freedom to splash in the fountains, an ice cream for Toby and a boob for Martha after lunch, crayons and scissors and glue at the Nottingham Contemporary and why? Because loosening the metaphorical reins allowed me to deal with whichever child had the greatest need in a particular moment, without causing issues with their sibling.