Mom life is typically chock-full of responsibility, and although we love our families, it can be exhausting to keep all of the plates spinning. We work extremely hard for those we love for that exact reason- we love them. But because we’re human, we also struggle with feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated.
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A lot of the work that mothers do is considered “behind the scenes”- they are the thankless, everyday tasks that we do that usually go unnoticed. And there are a LOT of them. Seemingly endless. It can be a heavy load to carry, and there are times when we struggle beneath the weight of our family’s world.
Sometimes we hit the limit of how much we can handle in a given day, period.
Popular Australian blogger Constance Hall shared her thoughts about feeling overwhelmed in an honest, heartfelt Facebook post that has quickly gone viral- because so many moms know exactly how she feels.
Her post begins with raw honesty. Beneath the picture of Constance curled up in bed, with tears in her eyes, she begins to share her feelings by admitting her hesitation in doing so:
I didn’t know if I should write this. To be honest I don’t think I’m strong enough for the perfect parents of the internet and their fucking opinions today.
We all struggle to varying degrees with worrying about if we “measure up”, so to speak, with our parenting peers. Most of us try to present our best selves to the world on social media, and worry about the judgement that may come if we confess our fears, our shortcomings, or our frustrations regarding motherhood.
She describes the tumultuous morning she had with her young son, Raja, and how physically painful nursing him has been recently. He has not slept well throughout this night, & will not be consoled with a bottle (though he accepts them from Constance’s partner, Denim).
You know the feeling; it’s been a night with too little sleep, and too much infant crying. A long, exhausting night, and before you know it, morning has already arrived. It’s a new day that you are not equipped to handle- physically or emotionally.
And as the sun comes up, Constance dreads the prospect of muddling through a difficult day ahead:
And I look out the window to the sound track of Raja crying and I know I have another shit day ahead of me.. trying not to fall asleep at the wheel.
For those of you not familiar with Constance’s life, she is not only a popular blogger, writer, & brand influencer, but is also a mother of seven children.
And while parenting her older children seemed slightly less complicated, she struggles with guilt over being more complacent with her youngest son because she was trying to do it all.
I took on too much Raja was little, I just let him feed all night so I could sleep and wake up and work and look after all these fucking kids and be the “supermum” that everyone expected me to be.
Oh, how I can relate. You probably can, too.
Regardless of how many children you have, we often put immense pressure on ourselves to “do it all”.
Sometimes our view of what that means is unconsciously defined by what we’re seeing others present on social media. We try to measure up. We try to prove, to ourselves and the world, that we CAN do it all.
Until we can’t. Sometimes the cost is too high, to our own bodies & spirits.
False guilt brews in our minds over virtually any parenting decision we’ve made. We doubt our ability, and our desire, to face another day of doing all of the things we did the day before that, & the day before that, and so on… and before we know it, we’re in the downward spiral of profound sadness.
That’s just where Constance was at the morning that she penned her Facebook post. She describes initially wanting to try & cram perhaps ten minutes of blog-related work in, then realizes that reading possible critical feedback is probably not the best choice on an already demoralizing day (good call on that one, too!).
And although she starts to get up and prepare to do all.the.things, she writes:
I looked at Raja. I looked at my husband and instead of doing what I do every day, grabbing the baby, changing his nappy. Packing everyone’s lunches, making 6 breakfasts..
I’m too tired. Everything and everyone can fuck off.
When the gas tank is empty, the car simply cannot move.
And as mothers, when our tanks are empty, we too can only carry on for so long before we cannot move forward anymore.
Constance knew she was past the point of endurance for that day, and her partner Denim stepped in to make the kids lunch & to send them off to school. It felt foreign to her, as it would to any default parent who typically handles those tasks:
Yes Denim has probably put the wrong sandwiches in the wrong school bags and everyone will probably be late for school and feeling a bit weird that I’m not the one doing it.
Someone else handling even a few of our daily tasks is an important reminder to the rest of our families all that we actually DO handle.
Constance’s last thought on the matter really drives home the anguish she feels in this moment:
The most underrated, underpaid and under valued job in the world is that of a mum.
TRUTH! So many moms feel this. It’s no surprise that Constance’s post immediately went viral, with currently over 15K comments and 90K likes. There are many, many women out there that grapple with this same sort of personal crisis.
Constance’s post isn’t pretty. But that’s precisely why it’s so vital- it is genuine, real emotion.
It’s not a cautionary tale about “doing too much”. Constance is a strong, queen of a wife & mother, but -just like ALL OF US- she also has her breaking points and weak, weepy moments. Sharing this moment with other moms validates that moms can and do occasionally feel this way, & there’s no shame in it.
We’re quick to celebrate the joys of motherhood on social media, & it needs to be acceptable to share the raw, messy struggles, too.