Motherhood (or not) and parenting burnout

This has nothing to do with what I’ve written about, I just love the photo.
Mt Gambier, South Australia.

Yesterday (Mother’s Day) I read two interesting articles relating to motherhood. The first one was an article by Bibi Lynch who, for various reasons, has not and won’t have children. The sadness and despair which came through were raw and I felt an empathy for her, whilst obviously not being able to really understand what she’s going through. The crux of the article was to tell mothers to open our eyes and stop moaning about our children because we’re lucky to have them. Yes we are. But to not moan about them? To not share the anxiety, stress, frustration – amongst the joy, pure love, meaningfulness (is that a word?!), the sense of wonderment that these little people are yours? That is a big ask. And one I won’t adhere to. I don’t get how Bibi feels but I would never advise her not to moan about her childlessness any more than I expect a childless person to tell me not to moan about my kids, because that’s not showing empathy or compassion at all. When you say to a mother who’s having a particularly bad day or in the extreme suffering from PND “oh for goodness sake’s wake up and stop moaning because you’re lucky to have them” you’re immediately stopping them in their tracks, belittling their valid feelings and even shaming them into silence. Not good. Or as one blogger said to another… No one stops me bitching about my kids. NO ONE.

The other article was a blog post about being a mum and estranged from your children, written by Fiona McColl. See the blog here. If you get the time, read it, it’s fascinating. Again, overall, it’s not something I can relate to – being estranged from my children – but Fiona talks about something called parental burnout. It’s defined by a Dr Joseph Procaccini as a state of  ”physical, emotional and sometimes spiritual exhaustion resulting from chronic high stress and perceived enormous responsibility.” HELLO. I can happily state that this is not me nowadays, though when Mitch was first born it was there all the time. But these days I have pockets of it. Like this morning when the boys were so noisy, so crazy, so not getting ready for school that I may have had a little meltdown. Just a little one. I had a mini parental burnout moment. It had been a busy weekend and I really had had no time to particularly recharge my batteries so I was feeling a little weary.

Anyway, they went off to school. I went for a run and backed it up with a glass of nice cold water and some left-over chocolate mousse with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top. All before 10.20am. I have no willpower.

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