“I need a break” a Mum cried at the top of her voice.
But no-one heard. Or maybe just no-one listened.
That Mum fixed her brave face firmly in place and headed out the door with the children.
Along the way, they met numerous people who she smiled at, talked to and went through the motions of what society expects. Oh yes I’m happy, I’m having a good day, yes I love being with my children day in/day out, I’m confident, yes everything is picture perfect.
But no-one saw the sadness behind the smile, behind her eyes. Or maybe they just ignored it.
The children ran around her, like children do. They demanded and expected everything, like children do. Sometimes they did as they were told and sometimes they didn’t, like children do.
People always passed comments- sometimes good, sometimes bad. Mum responded to the comments politely- sometimes feeling uplifted (whilst thinking you have no idea), sometimes defensive.
Some days Mum held her shit together and fed them healthy meals, gave them her undivided attention and had everyone dressed before 9.
Some days she didn’t and fed them crappy convenience food, had jobs to do and didn’t even comb the kids hair.
Some days they were late and some days they were on time. Some days something always seemed to go wrong and some days everything went to plan.
Some days mum was stressed and some days she quite simply didn’t give a shit about all the dramas as long as she was with her kids and they were all happy.
Everyday Mum was everything to her kids (or it definitely felt like it) and a lot of the days all the people that said they’d help, that were meant to help, were busy.
They all saw the brave face and didn’t look, or chose not to look, any further.
Even when she asked for help, they let the brave face excuse them.
Because she chose to be a parent right? She chose to have kids… she must of known it would be hard work, that she’d be tired and stressed.
Yes she knew all that and what she also knew was that despite the tough days, the tiredness, the hard times, there was more love than anyone could ever imagine. There were more hopes and dreams than anyone would ever know and there was an unbreakable bond.
But that didn’t mean it made her feel better on the tough days. Sometimes all she needed was a kind word, someone to make her dinner or a brew, someone to help ease the pressure.
Someone to show they knew. Someone to show they cared.
After a while she stopped asking for help because no-one ever came when she needed them to. There were people around but never when she needed someone. I mean everyone has their own lives to be getting on with don’t they…
So she struggled- powered- through on her own.
And she watched all the other mums with their shit together. She wished she could be like them.
The mum at the soft play actually running round after her kid and not just using it as a break. The mum who daren’t leave her child to run round because he was a ‘biter’ and became easily overwhelmed at situations.
The mum going off to work, all smartly dressed and on time, as she dropped her kids at the childminders. The mum who more than anything wanted to be at home with her kids but couldn’t afford not to work.
The loudmouth mum at the school gates who loved to shout about their picture perfect life. The mum who was so insecure that she felt she had to portray this lifestyle so that she could fit in.
The mum out jogging in her size 8 skinny running pants, not a sweat drop in sight or a hair out of place. The mum who’s relationship wasn’t great and she felt she needed to be in shape and looking her best in order to keep her partner when more than anything she wanted to be at home with her feet up.
When she stopped to look closely, to really notice, she saw that all of these mums who had their shit together, well like her they didn’t have their shit together everyday. Sometimes she caught a glimpse of their brave faces slip and a tired, worn out yawn. Once or twice she even noticed sadness behind their eyes.
And she realised. She was just a normal mum dealing with her life the best way she could. She took a long look at her children who all looked at her with such love that her heart nearly burst out of her chest with pride.
She started to accept the bad days and enjoy the good days. The laughter outweighed the tears and stresses because of this.
And she started being honest.
When someone asked how she was, she told them the truth, even if it made them uncomfortable. She started to look at others and offer support if she felt they had a brave face on, even if it was just a kind word or a knowing smile.
And by doing this she built her village. Her support network, her confidants and her friends. The people that knew when her brave face was fake.
And life wasn’t perfect. She knew it would never be that. But she had people to power through with, she had people to care and most of all, there was love. ♥