The world we currently live in is so focused on perfection that anything less makes you feel like a bit of a failure. Why is it that when you become a mum people feel that they can comment on every little aspect of your life with no regard to your feelings! The mama pressure for me started very early on during pregnancy, I had a rather large bump (turns out I had a lot of water and my son was sat right at the front, he was also breach and back to back when he was born (which explains a lot) but that didn’t stop people commenting;
‘Are you having twins?’
‘You’re massive aren’t you?’
‘That’s going to be a big baby’
All of these are wonderful to hear when you’re expecting your first child (note the sarcasm) but even at this stage I was starting to feel the mama pressure. My bump wasn’t teeny tiny like a few of the Super Models who were pregnant at the same time as me, I definitely waddled towards the end, I was horrifically hormonal (an irrational full hour breakdown because Subway added the wrong salad to my sandwich proved that) and even now my son is nearly 20 months old, I am still waiting for that ‘glow’ that you’re supposed to get whilst pregnant. Mama pressure doesn’t have any restrictions, it is also even the little things that make you feel a little bit rubbish, my son made a surprise appearance three weeks early, his bedroom wasn’t done, I had baby stuff everywhere as I had my baby shower two days before and received a ridiculous amount of gifts. His and my hospital bags weren’t ready (this comprised of us shoving things in an Aldi Bag For Life and hoping we’d remembered everything, there was more snacks than anything else if I’m being honest!) basically the perfect set up you had imagined for your first child couldn’t have been further from what I had. This was all ridiculous mama pressure that looking back, I caused myself for no reason at all because what does it really matter anyway?
Then the baby arrives. You’re kind of feeling a little superhuman that you’ve managed to create this human and also, in my case, you’re extremely tired/exhausted but are at the same time full of adrenaline and expecting like you see in the films, fireworks to explode once you get to hold your newborn, this again for me was another mama pressure I put upon myself because yes I did feel like I loved this little boy more than anything but also it was a massive reality check that now everything revolves around this gunky and squished faced baby that’s just been placed in my arms!
Then you’re home and the real mama pressure starts whilst you’re trying to spin a million and one plates. It makes it worse that if like me you see other peoples ‘perfect’ facebook lives where their babies sleep soundly all through the night, they have a lovely clean home, they manage to cook homemade meals every night or meal prep for the entire week. Then there’s the worry about if you’re using the television too much as a distraction just so that you can clean the pots or nip to the toilet without trying to balance a baby on your knee.
Mama pressure isn’t just about what you’re doing day to day either;
Are you still making time for your partner (I’ve been on one date night with my partner since my child was born 1.5 years ago, so this section I’m not doing great at…)
Your child isn’t sleeping, should you leave them to cry, co-Sleep, cuddle them to sleep?
Are you looking after yourself? (Does having a baby wipe wash count as looking after yourself!)
Do you still make time for your family and friends? (I didn’t get chance to eat breakfast this morning if that gives you an idea on how I am managing my time)
Then you get the biggest mama pressure of all – Your appearance! Aarrrrggghh!
Firstly my annoyance is, why should this even matter? It wasn’t even as much of a deal before I was pregnant so why is it being shoved in my face now? And also how it is fair that some mamas walk out of hospital in their pre-baby non-maternity jeans? I walked out in pyjamas which probably tells you all you need to know! I was lucky however and have to offer a lot of praise towards Sweaty Mama for helping me work to get back to a size I feel comfortable with and also to the mamas who attend the classes for making me feel a little bit more normal because we are basically all winging it, some just hide it better than others!
At the end of the day, if you and your baby have made it through the day relatively unscathed I would say you’re doing a damn good job!! So give yourself a pat on the back and even if you’re sat in your pyjamas at 4pm, you’ve survived the day so well done!!