Official Motherwell Cheshire Blog
Ok deep breath, here it goes:
List of women’s faults…as judged by society
Looks like a giant
Looks like a dwarf
Wears make up? Looks like a slapper, tries too hard
Doesn’t wear make up? Needs to make more of an effort, plain Jane
Wears short skirts? Too tarty
Wears long skirts? Too frumpy
Talks a lot? Too gobby
Doesn’t talk a lot? Not a girl’s girl, too quiet
Assertive? A bitch
Open about sex? A slag
More reserved about sex? Frigid
Shows an interest in others? Too nosy
Keeps to herself? Not a people person
Too strict with the kids
Let’s the kids get away with too much
Works? Doesn’t spend enough time with the kids
Doesn’t work? Should be using her brain
….I could go on for pages!
We get told to breastfeed and then get encouraged to bottle feed. Bottle feed then ask why we’re not breast feeding. Get told not to use dummies, then get asked why the baby doesn’t have a dummy when having a cry in the supermarket. Get instructions on how people don’t know your baby think your baby will best sleep. Co-sleep, don’t co-sleep, let the baby cry, don’t let the baby cry.
And I have to be honest, the harshest critics are usually other women. The comments I used to get about my 6 weeks early1.98kg baby were gems like: “don’t you feed him enough?”. I’ve had many friends who haven’t felt comfortable taking their kids to CHILD FRIENDLY establishments too worried about what others might think and in fact apologetic if someone says anything. (My advice is if they’re offering a children’s menu, high chairs and advertise themselves as family friendly and you don’t like kids then find somewhere else!)
My point is with all this conflicting information, advice and endless judgement it’s no wonder us women are pulling our hair out and getting stressed. We need to teach our girls to trust their own instincts, listen to their own bodies and have the confidence in themselves to make the choices that make them happy. Not the choices that make Josephine Blogs down the street happy. I have boys and try and instil the same thing in them. My eldest asks me “Do you like my toy car mummy?” I say to him “Do you like your toy car? If so, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.” Of course, it’s important to raise children to respect others and listen to various opinions but it’s just as important, if not more so to help them make their own judgement. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Selfies...crikey imagine if you were in a room top to floor mirrors 24/7 with people commenting through a loud speaker on everything you do? No wonder people and particularly feel so self-conscious.
There’s no easy solution and no one rule fits all, but a lot of the mums I’ve met who have had postnatal depression or felt down about motherhood, worried a lot about what other people think and therefore didn’t talk about it. When my friends and I started families, I was naïvely surprised by the mothers who had postnatal depression. They were typically the ones who seemed on top of it all and it was only after they’d received help that they opened up about it.
Later in parenthood, people wonder if XYZ is a normal thing for a child to do, or are they only ones who’s kid has had an epic meltdown because their banana has broken? Is their child the only one who never ever sleeps? The amount of times I’ve heard “Oh I’m so glad to hear that someone else didn’t have the energy to cook their offspring a 5-course meal with 10 varieties of fruit and veg. My kids got Weetabix for dinner too...”. We need to be more open and discuss both the highs and lows of parenting. We need to prepare our children for having children. When you were thinking of having a family or when you’re pregnant how many horror (reality) stories did you hear? I swear before my 1st was born I was expecting sun-kissed fairies to dance a merry tune and his poo to be the colour of a glittery rainbow. The fact is, the reality wouldn’t have put me off having kids and even though nothing could prepare you, talking about the good, the bad and the very ugly (child in cot, thought he was napping I walked in and he’d effectively taken off his nappy and had a dirty protest) helps us. It helps us understand that others are going through the same, it helps us because it can feel liftingto talk and it helps us because it makes us realise that comments like the one I’ve mentioned in the list above are a load of tosh.Women are amazing and don’t deserve the criticism we get. We need to support each other. Everyone is different but by talking we can see that we’re not the only ones going through the tough times and who knows? It might help others in the process.
Do it for the love….
It’s great to be back! The boys and my husband have basically been snot/sore throat/teething monsters since just before Christmas, with the boys having a round each of chicken pox for good measure. At least we’ve got the pox out of the way before they start school. Calpol, Virosoothe and wine (for me not the boys!) got us through. My youngest (2) obviously had far too much time on his hands while he was quarantined as he discovered how to climb out of his cot. Nice he’s learning to be independent. Not so nice at 3am in the morning. Ironically when I put him to bed in the toddler bed he patted the pillow for me to put my head down and declared it “sleepy time mummy sleepy time” and then proceeded to prod, poke, whack and giggle away. After a few sleepless nights and then tantrums (toddler or me…take your pick!) and a particularly bad day I joked with my husband that if I’d been a nanny I would have quit my job! Of course, once toddler got through to the other side of the phase and gave the biggest smile and cuddles and I’d had some sleep, it all seemed brighter. I’m holding on to that thought for the next toddler phase G. goes through.
A lovely stage the kids are going through at the moment is to want to help Mummy. It’s very sweet. They don’t always get it right, things get spilt, the dry washing gets taken out of the machine and the wet washing gets put back in etc etc…but talking as a child who wasn’t allowed to use a washing machine in case I damaged the clothes (embarrassingly my first time using one was when I went to uni at 18 and housemates had to show me how), was nervous about making a sandwich in the kitchen in case I didn’t clean up properly (the one time I did there a single crumb on the floor but I was told that apparently they breed!), and still struggle to make beds as I never “did it properly” so gave up, (ps. I say struggle …I did until I saw this amazing video…IT WILL CHANGE YOUR BED MAKING LIFE!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1IzS2oBBN0). I have to sit on my hands so much not to take over from them when it’s not going to plan. If needed I offer but try not to force help and attempt to show the right way rather than shout at them for not getting it right. It’s not always perfect (especially if we need to hurry to be somewhere etc) but I love that they give it a go (2 & 4 years old).
Well the other day, I asked my 4yo to help me put a load of washing in the washing machine and he did a great job. I was about to offer him a sticker for his good work when before I could open my mouth, he came out with “Mummy can I have a sticker now?”. I asked him “Did you do this to help Mummy or did you do it to get a sticker?” he said “To get a sticker…” my heart sank a little bit and then I remembered an assembly we had at school (NB: teachers…just goes to show it’s not all in one ear and out the other. Thanks for the work you do!) and a what I thought was a poem about a child who gave an “invoice” to his mum for all the jobs he’d done. She read it and gave one back for all the jobs she’d done. The assembly was a looooooooooooooong time ago but thanks to the power of Google I put in the subject and it turned out it wasn’t a poem but a country song!
Anyway, I asked my son “When Mummy washes your clothes does she get at sticker?”
Son: “No” I said “that’s right, I do it because I love you and want to help you”
Me: “When I help you tidy your toys do I do it to get a sticker?”
Me: “that’s right – I do it because I love you and want to show you how to tidy toys so that you know how
when you’re older”
Me: “When I make your dinner, do I get a sticker?”
Son: “Yes mummy!!! You do get a sticker!!!” (ok not best example…I’d forgotten the day before I’d made his favourite sandwich and out of the blue he gave me a sticker for giving him such a delicious sandwich)
Me: “er well that was so sweet of you to give me the sticker and thank you but I did it because I love you not to get a sticker…”
I think he sort of understood. I’m so glad we had that assembly all those years ago. This might sound like a big dollop of cheese but I’m hoping to teach my kids that sometimes love is all the reward we need.
Video: Johnny Cash No Charge
NO CHARGE – JOHNNY CASH
Our little boy came up to his mama in the kitchen this evening
While she was fixing supper
And he handed her a piece of paper he'd been writin' on
And after wipin' her hands on her apron she read it and this is what it said
For mowin' the yard 5 dollars
For makin' my own bed this week 1 dollar
For going to the store 50 cents
For playin' with my little brother while you went shoppin' 25 cents
For taking out the trash 1 dollar
For gettin' a good report card 5 dollars
And for rakin' the yard 2 dollars
Total amount owed 14 dollars and 75 cents
Well as mama looked at him standin' there
And I could see the memories flashin' through her mind
And so she picked up the pen and turnin' the paper over
This is what she wrote and I read it to him
For the nine months she carried you growing inside her no charge
For the nights we sat up with you doctoring you praying for you no charge
For the time and the tears that you've caused through the years there's no charge
When you added all up the full cost of our love is no charge
For the nights filled
with dread and the worries ahead no charge
For advice and for knowledge and the cost of your college no charge
For the toys food and clothes and for wiping your nose there's no charge
When you added all up the full cost of our love is no charge
Well when I finished readin' he had big tears in his eyes
And he looked up at his mother and he said mama I sure do love you
Then he took the pen and in great big letter he wrote Paid In Full
I see you.
Depression isn’t just feeling sad for a reason, like you lost your job, or your cat died. Those things would make anyone upset. Depression is when youre so low, you don’t have the energy to physically get out of bed in a morning. When you
feel numb, and it doesn’t matter what anyone suggests doing, you just cant. You don’t want to go for a walk, or to take the kids to the park. You don’t get any enjoyment from these activities anymore.
It feels like there is a black cloud inside your head that is stopping any sunshine thoughts from making it through.
You don’t have the energy or the inclination to wash or change your clothes, because what is the point? You don’t want to see anyone, and you don’t really care, because getting washed and changed is just too much energy and time you don’t have, when you could be in bed, or sleeping.
Making a meal is just too much of an effort, and you live off convenience food, just to keep the hunger pains at bay. You choose cereal, crisps, toast. No fruit or veg in sight.
The only thoughts in your head are those of self loathing and hatred. You wish you were dead, you think your family and friends would be better off without you. You contemplate the ways you could leave this world sooner. The ways you could stop being a burden to your family, because that’s how you feel. A burden.
You cant function like a normal human being. You lose all of your drive and focus. You can’t concentrate on a TV show or a film as your thoughts drift, and your attention wont stay.
Whilst not everyone feels this extreme, there are also others who feel differently, and those who are extremely high functioning, so they can get by day to day without showing the signs outwardly.
If you think you may be depressed, please make an appointment to see your GP, and if there is anything we can help with, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01606 557666