Have you thought recently that it is time to be kinder to mums? For decades women have been forging the way forward for equal rights and for choices. In days gone by a woman’s place was mostly in the home with very few women in the workforce. If you were in the workforce your job options would consist of teacher or secretary. We made sure that the home and family was a well-oiled machine that ran smoothly. The house was clean, shopping and dinner on the table at 5.30pm, the children bathed and a scotch at the ready for the hard working husband that arrived home at 5pm of an evening and we made sure that everything was ready again for the next day. We were there for the needs of the family and it was and still is an extremely vital and necessary role in our society. The family unit is important, the house needs huge amounts of upkeep and we were the person for the job.
For generations now there were women who wanted more than just a life within the home. It has taken a long time for women to work their way up the career ladders, be accepted in many career choices and to be seen and heard than more than just someone on the arm of a corporate high flyer or to have a valued opinion in the boardroom. We have fought for less discrimination for women when they take maternity leave and options for women to start back at work part time. We have fought for paid parental leave for husbands that can be at home. We have pushed the movement towards husband being more involved in the family unit and helping out more around the home. More men now than ever know how to use the washing machine and know which drawer the kids t shirts go in or which day is sports and library day.
We are now in a position to make decisions, have choices and lead the way towards making the women of the future have more opportunities than ever before. In doing this, we are now juggling more balls than ever before. Juggling a career and the home is more than a full-time job and requires a lot of hard work and time. Now many families are two parent working families some by choice and some by financial reason or both.
Women should be proud of all that they have achieved. It is not in all parts of the globe that women have benefited, nor is it still equal across the globe but we should be proud for all that women have stood for and continue to stand for as we show our daughters they can be anything they want to be and choose any life path that they choose. We should proud of having choices now. We wanted it all and now we are close to being able to have it all.
While these choices are wonderful, it has also put enormous pressure on women in regards to the ever expanding roles that we have to play. Women have in some situations have taken on more than they can handle and women seem to often need at least 3 sets of arms to juggle and balance work, home, children, friends and herself. Woman have always been good at multi tasking, but it seems we are multi tasking on a higher level again and in many situations, it is not easy.
Over the years it has almost become the norm to joke about how hard mum life is. We joke about needing wine at 5pm every night of the week, we joke about how many times our children have called out “mum”, we have joked about how crazy we become at the witching hour. There are memes and jokes all over the internet about juggling it all, running out the door in tracksuit pants or pj’s or god forbid your activewear. We put labels on every mum under the sun. There are the snooty mums, the exercise mums, the stay at home mums, the corporate mums, the mums who don’t give a shit, the mums who are always late. You name it we have a name for it and we all joke, whine and laugh. We laugh when we see the memes about all the things we have to do and we do it while we are pouring the entire bottle of wine into one glass. We laugh at jokes about being utterly exhausted, not having time to shower, drinking at 10am on the 2nd day of school holidays and we all can relate. Many women now around the world are working hard in their jobs and careers and coming home and taking care of the household as well.
But what about the mothers who really aren’t coping? What about the mums who are having a hard time with the juggle and are being labelled one way or another? Have we taken the joking about mum life too far? Is it time that we start being kinder to mums? What about the mum who turns up at school in her tracksuit pants because she just pulled herself out of bed this morning and getting her kids to school was all she could manage? Or the mum that does rely on a drink at 5pm because she doesn’t know any other way to cope?
While it is all good to have a laugh because being a mum now entails being multi-skilled at almost everything on the planet, are we by passing the mothers that really aren’t coping and don’t find it funny? Behind many of these jokes are mums really not coping. I joke about needing a wine at 5pm on Friday night. I can say that it is because of my children and sometimes I do. But it really isn’t. I just want a glass of wine at 5pm on Friday night. But there are mums out there not coping with their situations and are we giving enough help and support to these mums in these circumstances?
Many of these mums could be laughing and joking along with us because on the surface we all have to look like we are coping, right? Somehow in the jokes about mum life, there has been something lost. Instead of joking about the mess and the little shits destroying our houses maybe we should be discussing how hard that can be and taking it more seriously. We need to start being kinder to other mums. We need to start supporting each other more and not labeling each other because of what we wear or how we talk to our children on those bads days.
We need to look around or look more closely at the mums at the school gate, the gym, the coffee shop or the park. Perhaps there are friends or mums that you know that can’t get on with their day and feel consumed and overwhelmed by all that we have to do.
Perhaps it is time for us to lose the mum life hard life and focus on the fact that life is tough. Being a mum is tough. Being a
stay at home mother or working mother is tough. Some of us cope better with it all and others don’t. Perhaps we can drop the label of a wine at 5pm because of the kids and post about having a wine because we just bloody well wanted one. Perhaps it is time to lose the labels and all pat each other on the back and for us all to support and look out for our friends and be kinder to each other.
We should take a minute to call our mum friends, take time out for a chat, check on each other and make sure we are all coping. At the end of the day, it isn’t a joke and we should all support each other track suit pants, wine, active wear, screaming toddlers and all.