Being a mum at any age is hard. I do not think it matters if you have a child quite young in your life or choose to have a child later in life, it is hard! No matter what people say no one prepares you for the sleepless nights, the constant feeding, or nappy changing and not to mention this immense pressure from society to be ok with it all. As they get older it is different needs, yes there is still constant feeding but the sass and the temper tantrums also appear. Now don’t get me wrong I love my child more than life itself but I would be lying (and I know this is not true for all parents) but there are days I do not like my child and some days she is free to a good home. There I said it, do not shoot me down!!
But the hardest thing I think especially when you are a mum can be the isolation. You forget that once you were a person who could take a shower in peace or could leisurely shave your legs. No one likes to admit they are struggling so when you hear how wonderful such a body’s child slept that night you do not want to admit that your little one had you up god knows how many times in the night. Or that once in a blue moon their food came out of a tub as opposed to something home cooked from Jamie’s wonderful meal books. When they are older it is different struggles such as the pressure to make sure your child reads every night because such a body’s child is already reading big people books whilst you have more chance of getting into Fort Knox then getting your child to read three pages or they have nutritional home cooked meals every day rather than a sneaky McDonalds because lets face it even as adults we all crave a greasy burger once in a while.
What I am trying to say is it is okay!! Stop beating yourself up for not being Mother Earth. Seven years ago (yes seven, I still cannot believe it when I say it out loud) I could barely keep a plant alive so the fact that I have kept my child alive is somewhat a miracle to me. However, for all the rubbish meals, temper loosing (sometimes me and sometimes her) she knows she is loved and safe and for me that covers more than making sure the peas on the plate are eaten.
Flip this isolation to your later years where potentially there are less people in your life, is this isolation any different? I am not 80 (although some days I feel it) but I can imagine it must be hard after being independent for so many years having to ask for help. And again I am not saying all older people cannot manage but what if you have been with someone for so long and suddenly death or illness tears you apart. That person you have spent the majority of your life waking up to is no longer there. That person who knew how you liked your cup of tea in the morning, or would always bring a blanket when sat on the sofa because you feel the cold. The person you could share your secrets with. I can only imagine that is a whole different isolation.
Izzy and Arthur are neighbours who have barely spoke a word to each other but fate pulls them together when they need each other the most. Although they are going through different situations their isolation is not very different. Izzy is a new mum who is struggling to adapt and half the time questions whether she is doing a good job or not and Arthur is on his own after his wife Pearl has passed away. Both of them are struggling in their own ways but both of them are afraid (proud even) to ask for help. As they come together a friendship is created that pulls both people from dark places to a place where life does not seem too bad.
“‘There,’ he said, placing each one along the shelf, stepping back to admire it all. His past, his love, his future. For the first time, in a long time, he had things to look forward to and people that he enjoyed spending time with.”
I started by saying being a mum at any age is hard but in fact it is not just that. Life is hard but not always and there are days when you will feel down or lonely and that is okay! Take those days just don’t let them take you. And when you have the good days embrace them, take the small wins (and the big wins). Laugh hard and capture those memories for when a bad day does return. Live your life on your terms, say no if it doesn’t feel right, you are not expected to live your life by anyone else’s terms but your own! Do not compare yourself to others you are doing an amazing job even if there are days when you simply manage to get out of bed and shower. We only get one life and sometimes it can feel like we never come of the hamster wheel but you will look back and realise that there were times when you were so happy and so content you wanted to live forever. Picture those moments when dark times come because those moments, a cup of coffee, a big piece of cake and a friend or love will always be there even when you are too afraid to ask for help.