It feels like a struggle because it is a struggle
Here’s a scenario for you: Imagine you’ve just opened your fridge and discovered there’s no milk. What do you do?
If you live in a child-free household, I predict your next steps will be as follows:
Close fridge door
Put shoes on
Pick up purse and keys
Head to the shop
Four steps. Four simple moves and you’ve managed to make it through your front door. And why not? It is a relatively straightforward task, after all.
Now put the same dilemma to a mother of small children. I’ll bet you anything she could add at least a dozen extra - and totally necessary - tasks to the list before she’s even remotely ready to leave.
For starters, she’ll need to chase half-dressed children around the house, then wrestle them to the ground as she tries to roll socks onto furiously wiggling toes.
Then they’ll be the frantic search for missing shoes, followed by arguments about scarves or sun hats.
And you can’t expect a mum to leave the house without a bag packed to the brim with supplies. Even if your nearest convenience store is located at the end of your road, there’s no point trying to venture there without bringing provisions for every eventuality.
You’ll need wet wipes, water bottles and ample snacks (yes, I know you’ll be able to pick up something at the shop if your child needs to eat, but do you seriously think a mother can make it that far without needing to appease a hangry toddler?).
Oh, and you can’t even think about going anywhere without a fully-stocked first aid kit. No mum in history has ever managed to ‘just pop out’ for something without one of her children sustaining a scraped knee. That is - and I’m pretty certain about this - an actual, verifiable, fact.
Let’s not forget that the mother going through this rigmarole hasn’t even had a cup of coffee this morning because, of course, there’s no bloody milk in the house.
It’s these everyday occurrences that make mum life feel like a struggle. However it’s also the reason why many of us feel like we’re failing. We’re grown ups. Basic everyday activities shouldn’t be so frustrating.
They shouldn’t be, but they are, because we’re so used to living in a world that values results over effort.
The problem is, when you add children into any scenario, you’re always going to find yourself wading through a sea of logistical setbacks.
It’s inevitable that we’re going to find we’ve got relatively little to show for our efforts compared to what we might have achieved in our pre-children lives.
It may feel embarrassing to admit that the only noteworthy event that happened today was a trip to the corner shop, but that’s only because you’ve overlooked the battle you fought to make it happen.
I think it’s about time us mums gave ourselves more credit for the things we achieve every day.
So, if the only thing you’ve got to show for a day’s worth of graft if a bottle of fresh milk in your fridge, don’t be downhearted. You need to celebrate it as a small victory.