Confessions of a New Mum - I LOVE being a Mum. But... | Motherhood

I was watching an episode from season 8 of How I Met Your Mother last night and it really struck a nerve. In the previous episode, Ted finds out that his secret (and sometimes not-so-secret) love, Robyn, is engaged to marry his best-friend Barney. Ted pushed her to go after Barney and insisted that he was not in love with her anymore. However in the next episode his real feelings start to come to the fore, and in an effort to get him to admit how he is really feeling, Lily confesses something that she says is the worst thing in the world.

She tells Ted, through tears, that sometimes she wishes she wasn't a Mum. That while she loves being a Mum, and loves her baby son with all her heart, there are days where it's really hard. Days when she just wants to pack a bag and walk out the door.
Lily confesses that she finds being a Mum really hard sometimes
While I know it's just a silly American sit-com, I think it was really good of the writers to include that in the show. Because no matter how much we love our kids, and how much we would do anything for them, give our lives even, I bet there aren't many Mums who can honestly say the thought hasn't crossed their mind. And if they can then they're either lying or super-rich and have a Nanny who does all of the hard stuff!

In the first few days and weeks with a newborn you're running on hormones and adrenaline. Despite the sleepless nights, the worry, the crying and the endless nappy changes, those hormones serve to keep you desperately in love. They fire-up a built-in, primal, instinctual need to care for your baby and protect them at all costs.

And while that instinct to love and protect carries on, the feel-good happy hormones eventually wear off. The ones that see you jumping out of bed at the slightest whimper in the middle of the night, with no thought other than to attend to your baby's needs. When those hormones are gone there are times when, upon hearing that whimper in the night, you might take a second longer to roll out of bed. There might be an internal grumble, where once there was nothing but joy.

mummy's secrets
Blissing out on her first day of life
Sleep deprivation, combined with the relentless nature of mothering a new baby, can cause even the most loving and dedicated of mothers to sometimes wish that they could walk out the door and not look back. When the baby is crying, and you've exhausted every avenue you know to try and soothe them and figure out whats wrong, that sneaky little thought pops in to your mind. The thought that maybe life would be so much easier if you'd just bloody used some birth control!

It rears it's ugly head when you're at your wits end because you just don't know what to do for your baby. When the house looks like a bomb hit it and you can't find a clean dish or clean shirt to wear because your baby won't stop crying or let you put them down. It mocks you when you're lying in the dark, desperately trying to sleep but your mind won't switch off and your body is tensed, waiting for the sound of your baby's cry.

It makes you feel sick. It makes you feel incredible guilt. But when you've hit the end of your tether, sometimes there's just no stopping that thought from slipping through your mind.

I wish I wasn't a Mum.

I wish I would have heard more about the realities of being a Mum before I became one. Sure there's lots of funny posts around about the crappy things kids do and mothers have to deal with. But there's not a lot about the real emotional reality of being a mother, especially a first-time mother. About just how overwhelming it is, this massive change to your life.

being a new mum
13 days in to being a brand-new Mum and the hormones were starting to wear off
Can't believe that was only 2 years ago, feels like a lifetime! I guess it is in some ways!
I wish someone had told me in those first few months with Punky that it was ok to have those thoughts. That it was normal even. Instead I felt like the worst mother and the worst human being in the world for even allowing the thought to enter my head in the first place. It was just another thing to add to the ever-growing list of mummy-guilt that I was experiencing.

I'd never heard anyone ever admit that sometimes they wished they weren't a Mum. That when the days were long, the nights blurred together and the baby wouldn't stop crying, that it all felt like too much. That they'd had reservations and thoughts that maybe being a parent was not a choice they should have made. I had no one tell me that it doesn't make me a bad mother for thinking those things. And that even though I might have a bad day, bad week, bad month, and think horrible things in my mind, I was not alone. Other mothers have felt the same way I have.

I wish I'd had someone tell me that even though the thought might cross your mind, it doesn't mean you love your kids any less. You're not wishing that they had never been born. You just wish that maybe someone else could be their mother in that moment. That maybe what you really need is just a break. A little time out for yourself.

I will tell my girls about the realities of being a Mum when they get older. That I love them with all of my heart. That I am so damn lucky and privileged to be their Mum. But being a Mum can be tough, it can be hard, it's a total shock to the system in those very first weeks and months. It takes time to adjust. I will tell them that there will be some days when they wish they weren't a Mum at all. But that's ok. Because in the split-second it takes to look at your beautiful baby that thought will fly out of your head and be replaced by a better one. A thought of love.
mummyhood, mommyhood
It's seeing these smiles that chase the bad thoughts from your head and replace them with love!

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, and the experience that comes from being a Mum for a while and surviving that first year, I don't think those thoughts make me a bad Mum. In fact I think they prove that I'm not a bad Mum because while they may fly through my mind at the height of frustration, those thoughts just prove to me that I would never, and could never, actually leave my babies. That being a Mum, despite the shit days, is really the best thing in my world.

I love being a Mum. I wouldn't change it for the world. It's just some days I don't like being a Mum. 

And that's OK.

I recorded this as we headed home after our holiday in November. It got worse. Much worse. If I didn't laugh I would have cried. I almost did!

Linking up this confession with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

You can read more of mine and other mothers confessions by clicking on the titles below. If you'd like to make your own confession you can shoot me an email to kylie(@)kyliepurtell(.)com

Confessions of a New Mum Part One - Learning Curves and 'Un'Enjoyment
Confessions of a New Mum Part Two - Stitched Up
Confessions of a New Mum Part Three - The Part-time SAHM
Confessions of a New Mum Part Four - Mum Appreciation
Confessions of a New Mum Part Five - Losing My Confidence

Confessions of a New Mum - Kelly from Handmade Tears and Triumphs (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Bron from Big Brother, Little Sister & the Baby (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Jenn from Mountains & Musings (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Sophie from iSophie (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Housewife in Heels (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Holly from Good Golly Miss Holly (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Mez from Listen Sookie (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Emily from Have A Laugh on Me (Guest Post)


Kylie Purtell said…
To you and your honesty, Kyles... big, big LOVE. You are a wonderful Mumma. X
Kylie Purtell said…
Funny, this came up somewhere else so I'm just cutting and pasting my response. 'We are humans that change day by day, minute by minute (and if we aren't, we are failing). I think you are allowed to say those things, and not mean them the next day, or even 5 minutes later. Venting means we say stuff, that if really pinned to it, we don't actually mean. I also am a firm believer that having a bit of a whinge is possibly more useful in helping others than only ever showing your best -...i bet more than half your readers think 'I hear ya, sister' rather than 'what a terrible thing to say'. We know you don't really mean it, but it makes you more human if you have a crappy day, and express 2 cents, and maybe I'm in my own boat, but I've had enough new mums burst into tears when you admit is isn't all smooth sailing to know that it's unhealthy and unhelpful to others to pretend it is. So I figure my boat may not be perfect, but it's got a queue to get on it...'
My first mothers group was really open with the struggles, that we all decided the book was what you aimed for, but it didn't really happen - and we all felt better as a result. My second mothers group, only me and another second time mum would admit the kids didn't sleep etc - and I think the first time mums seemed to feel a little more isolated in their struggles. To what end does that do anyone any good?
Kylie Purtell said…
So true Kylie! I felt soooo guilty for thinking that. I think everyone is so concerned with portraying the image that they are the perfect mum they never stop to tell the truth. I think people are scared of being judged if they do say it. If more people admitted it though we wouldn't feel so judged for thinking it! I love my baby so much, but I agree I don't think there is a mother out there who hasn't thought this at least for a second somewhere along their journey. I wrote very honestly about my guilt and thinking this in my post natal depression post to try and make other mothers feel like they are not alone :)
Kylie Purtell said…
You know what I don't wish I wasn't a Mum I just wish I could come and go like hubby does.Without a thought of what I need to take with us, what food I have to have prepared to leave the kids at home and the list of things hubby doens't know if I do go out.
Kylie Purtell said…
What a fab and so very honest post! We have all been there and yet so few of us talk about it. You know what, I think sometimes we wish we weren't wives, or daughters, or sisters, or whatever the case may be - it is normal. Great pics Kylie xx
Kylie Purtell said…
YES! How good would that be! I get so frustrated when I ask my husband if we are ready to go and he says yes, but only because he has his shoes on and his wallet in his pocket, not because either of the girls are dressed or the nappy bag re-stocked! I wouldn't get so annoyed either if I didn't have to ask him to help with that every single time! You'd think after 2 years he'd get it!
Kylie Purtell said…
Yep I think we've all had days like that. And it's not that yo don't want to be a mum forever, but maybe you could just have a couple of hours off or maybe a whole day. Just to be whatever it is you were before hand, or could be now.
Great post Kylez
Kylie Purtell said…
It's so great that you are writing and sharing posts like this. I had those thoughts when Dyllan was first born and I felt like a monster. I too wish that someone had said that this whole motherhood gig was mother fudging hard sometimes and there are times that it will suck big hairy monkey balls. I know it would have made me feel a little bit more normal.
Kylie Purtell said…
Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this. There have certainly been times when I felt this way, and the guilt I experienced for even having these thoughts was overwhelming. Thank you xx
Kylie Purtell said…
Very honest post Kylie. I found there were many moments during the first few months of my baby's life that I seriously doubted what I was doing and my ability to do it. Learning to go with the flow at some point, and let go of my expectations really helped. I am in the middle of writing an ebook about that first period. I hope to get it finished over the summer. I think these things are really worth sharing. xx
Kylie Purtell said…
Ah, you and I are totally so on the same journey right now. I have been thinking this more often of late. As those newborn hormones have dried up, the reality and the hard work is there and staring me in the face and sometimes I just don't wanna. My brain feels scrambled and I just want it to be someone else's responsibility, even if just for a bit. With this thought comes another, 'you are being selfish Vicki' or 'this is definitely a weakness of yours' and they're hard ones to grapple with.
I have been daydreaming about having a whole day off again, and imagine a night away with the girls? They're luxuries to look forward to again, another day.
I see so many of my friends wanting to start a career in motherhood. They see me out and about at social gathering looking clean, and with it and think she's doing great, she's totally where I wanna be. They don't know I'm pretending! They don't know what it's taken to get there or how out of wack or tired we're going to be in the days following. It's a beautiful job but completely all absorbing and you cannot imagine that intensity until you're in the thick of it.
Thank you for sharing these words. They speak to me and I know they will to many others too.
Kylie Purtell said…
BINGO! Hit the nail on the head Annaleis!
Kylie Purtell said…
Yes, I have felt this so many times and admitted it. I think it's important to know we aren't alone in feeling this way. x
Kylie Purtell said…
I hear you, Kylie and couldn't have said it better myself!
Kylie Purtell said…
It is true we are not told of the real emotional upheaval that comes with being a new Mum you are right, even a second time Mum. Great post.
Kylie Purtell said…
I know exactly what you mean lovely - I sometimes can't stand being a mum and think it's the worst job EVER, but then my boys will come up to me, cup my face in their chubby hands and kiss me on the nose and then lick my face like a dog, and I'll laugh and then cry. BEST POST I'VE READ IN AGES! xxx
Kylie Purtell said…
Great post! I worked hard to become a mum and some days I absolutely have those thoughts. It is so important for us all to know that it is ok to feel that way. Thanks being honest and spreading the word
Kylie Purtell said…
Oh yeah. I wish someone had told me all this too!! It is such a difficult life some days, but definitely filled with much joy as well!
Kylie Purtell said…
I agree wholeheartedly. Mums have to think not only for themselves, but for their children as well. They have to think ahead and prepare for everything, everytime they go anywhere. It's a trait I have found that my hubby does.not.have!
Kylie Purtell said…
Those days when you're desperately paddling to keep your head above water are the longest. I think there is a reason our little ones look so damn gorgeous when they are asleep! Youtube the Lullaby by Tim Minchin, it will make you giggle :)
Kylie Purtell said…
Those thoughts don't only enter your mind in baby stages! But, as you said, despite this it really is the best thing in the world. Tonight my 7-year-old ran up to me and flung her arms around me spontaneously. Hearing "you're the best mum that could ever live" is something so special :-)
Kylie Purtell said…
Wait til you have a teenager - all the gloss has warn off and the honesty between mums is brutal (mainly because their heads are spinning that they do what they do)...teen mums should be the type of mum from the get go and we'd all feel much better about the whole mothering gig...
Kylie Purtell said…
I couldn't wait to be a Mum. The reality soon hit though, and it has been the toughest job I have had. Sleep deprivation knocked me out of the ball park and I once thought of myself as having patience (pre-kids of course). I love my kids too, but I too wish many people would share their struggles and admit that parenting is hard, children fray your nerves to shreds, and there are many days when you wish the bed would swallow you whole.
Kylie Purtell said…
There can't be a single Mum out there who hasn't thought that at least once but the truth is, if you were offered the chance to leave then there really aren't many who would take it. It's a hard job to be doing 24/7.
Kylie Purtell said…
One of my friends and I were talking about this on Friday night. It is definitely something that everyone feels at different stages of the mothering journey.

Thanks for linking up with us at The Lounge!
Kylie Purtell said…
As a mother of five kids ages ranging from 3 to 8, I'm here to tell you that these thoughts don't go away. Sorry. Once you first think it, on every bad days after this thought will rare its head. And the bad days will always keep coming. Coming to you from the lounge.
Kylie Purtell said…
I'd leave. But eventually I'd come back. I just want an indefinite time off.

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