I read this post this morning and resonated deeply.
This bit really got me:
‘How could you possibly be [doing enough]? You’re a woman, living in an age of extreme expectation. Superwoman Syndrome has shaken off its shoulder pads, pulled on its activewear leggings and buddied up with Hustle Culture to provide you a continual feed of All The Ways You Could Be Better. If you’re a woman with a child, then throw in a dose of Peak Parenting, and the bar for a successful life is now so high the Hubble telescope would squint.’
That’s me, right there. Constantly worrying if I am doing enough and constantly finding myself lacking. I need to give myself a break. So, note to self….
The ‘am I doing enough?’ piece is particularly strong in mums of special needs children.
A lot of our kids need extreme levels of support to accomplish the smallest of tasks. It’s a long-term project with no finish line in sight. We wonder if we are doing to enough to:
- Support their communication needs
- Develop their communication
- Keep their posture in check so as to avoid hip and spine complications
- Meet their nutritional needs
- Provide enough therapy
- Provide the right therapy
- Allow them some fun
- Make life full and fulfilling
- Promote independence
- Make life accessible to them
- Support our partners
- Support our other children
And that’s before we even get on to worrying about the fact we aren’t really making an income, let alone forging a side hustle.
The writer of the post suggests that we share an I don’t list, because it’s all too easy to see people’s social media highlight reels and think that they have it all. I work in social media (sporadically) and even I get sucked into the comparison trap.
I am prone to thinking that everyone’s house looks like a photoshoot is about to happen. That no one shouts at their kids. That everyone spends their days doing nurturing wholesome outdoor activities, not putting on a Disney film while they do some work or mop the floors. That every half term is the chance for an exciting family get away. I KNOW that’s not real life, but the more time you spend online, the more you forget that.
So, while I admit that I am a privileged, able-bodied white woman who has a hell of a lot, I do not have or do it all. Here’s my list of don’ts… (there’s quite a lot of overlap with the post that inspired this one. Not because I am copying her, just that a lot of our don’ts are the same – which I hope is reassuring to you non-cooking/cleaning/ironing mums out there)
I don’t currently have a regular income
I don’t put both children to bed every night. I do one and my husband or a carer does the other
I don’t have a girl gang (my friends are scattered around and we certainly don’t do any kind of regular SATC brunch catch ups
I don’t call my friends for a chat on the phone
I don’t remember to send many birthday cards or presents and any that I do remember will be at least a week late
I don’t make dinner – my husband does most of the cooking. He’s brilliant at it
I don’t exercise regularly
I don’t keep my house tidy. I mean, I tidy up a lot, but 90 per cent of the time it looks like the Tasmanian Devil blew through the lounge
I don’t iron
I don’t put away the clean laundry more than once a week
I don’t wear make-up every day (or even most days)
I don’t manage to wash my face before bed
I don’t parent perfectly and peacefully all the time
I don’t do T’s therapy every day (especially in the holidays, which I don’t feel guilty about as family life comes first)
3 Replies to “Mums: It’s OK not to do all the things. We all need an ‘I don’t’ list”
This has inspired me to create my own don’t list!
Would love to see what’s on there, Mel