I sat opposite a mother of young children in a cafe last week.
Her eyes filled as she spoke of her frustrations, fears, guilt and shame over her four year old not quite ticking the boxes in regards to development and behaviour and my heart went out to her. I’ve had similar conversations many a time over the years and on this particular occasion, it struck me that these young mothers are missing something in their lives…..
Us midlife women who have survived the black hole of sleepless nights filled with the scent of sour milk, mastitis, endless tears (ours AND baby’s) and fretting.
We who have shed quiet tears at the preschool gate, the primary school gate, the highschool gate and again as our children left for their first day of university or their first real job.
The midlife mothers who have survived emergency room trips with high temperatures, coughs, colds, tonsil operations, cuts, scrapes, broken bones and asthma.
We midlife mama bears who advocated for their children when they didn’t quite fit the “system.” Who pursued answers when things weren’t right. Whose hearts broke when their children’s hearts were breaking and who never gave up believing in their offspring.
We may not have been the perfect mothers – really, who is? But we have survived and have the ability to share from our own experiences and to pass on to the next generation who are still fully in the trenches of hands on motherhood the one thing they desperately need:
Hope that the debilitating months of staggering around in a state of exhaustion will eventually pass.
Hope that yes, your child will eventually make friends.
Hope that no, you are not an awful mother who should live with guilt because you had to go back to work.
Hope in that although you don’t always get it right, the likelihood of you screwing your child up for life is incredibly low.
We midlife women who have raised families have so much to offer these mothers of young children and I truly feel that there needs to be more conversation connecting the two generations. Newer mothers in this era of social media “perfection” need to be reassured that all will be well even when their child is not in the top percentage at academics/ music / sports – whatever. That they are still great mothers even when they don’t have an instagram-worthy clean home, designer duds for their toddlers a la the Kardasians or pinterest-worthy birthday parties of the scale of small circuses.
They need us to not lecture them on how they “should” parent, but to encourage, give anecdotes and advice from our own experiences and most importantly – let them know that they ARE doing okay.
If you are a mother currently strung out on caffeine as you juggle toddlers, dirty school uniforms, prepping healthy lunches and carpooling to afterschool activities – either on your own or while trying to keep your relationship alive, your house tidy and food on the table – I want to say to you today that you are doing the most incredible, inspiring and hardest job there is…..and you ROCK!
Midlife sisters – let’s love on these girls, encourage them and please comment with your best tips or hints for them below.
<3 Cat x