For those who don’t follow me on Social Media, you may have missed the weird yet wonderful last seven days I’ve had. It started off last Tuesday by being on 96fm’s Opinion Line talking about the mental hardship of parenting after suffering postnatal anxiety and ended up with little old me on Virgin Media’s Ireland: Am, discussing the challenges of motherhood. It’s made me fully understand and appreciate one very important thing. We have to own our Motherhood.
Motherhood is not a walk in the park. You all know I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to being Momma Bear and finding the balance on life. But there comes a time when you realise, that you can still be you, mingled in amongst motherhood.
The amazing crew at Everymum.ie collated the results of a survey they conducted recently. With over 3700 mothers responding to this survey, it says one thing very loud and very clear… we want to be heard.
There is a booming voice inside each of us as we navigate this world of parenthood. It’s up to us to shout loud and proud and be heard.
When Everymum asked me to join them for a panel discussion for Newstalk on what motherhood means to us in this new era of being Mum, I was chuffed to be asked because, let’s face it, I have pretty concrete opinions on what motherhood is and the challenges it throws at us. Our discussion paralleled the survey results as we talked about the loneliness, the isolation and the hard days which are a distinctive reality of being a parent these days. Happily though, we are open to discussing this and letting friends and family know that, shit, this job is thankless and tough. Ultimately rewarding, but that doesnt help you when you’re knee deep in frustration, anxiety and desperation.
I’m very proud of the Newstalk interview because with these open discussions and surveys like the Motherhood in Ireland report, we may be able to comfort and support friends and family who are nervous or afraid to admit that they are not enjoying the regular, ordinary days of motherhood and parenthood as much as they thought they would. That in actual fact, being a parent comes with a lot of misconceptions which none of us are privy to until we’re knee deep in babies and toddlers and teenagers.
My week of radio interviews and a social media explosion with well wishes and thanks, ended with sitting on the sofa on Virgin Media’s Ireland: AM talking about the challenges of motherhood as a result of the report with the amazing Joanna Fortune.
My honesty and clear idea of how and why parenting is so tough was welcomed by so many. Essentially, my message and that of the Everymum survey is to open up, talk, be honest about your motherhood experience. And while you’re at it, Own Your Motherhood.
Not only can you be the mother you want to be, but you can fight the challenges and the tough days and make this experience of being Momma greater than you ever envisaged. It will challenge you. It will disappoint you. It will be hard and demanding. But you can be the mother you want to be. More importantly, you can be the person you want to be. You don’t have to be defined by motherhood if you have the ability to break yourself out of the box.
Look at me. I took a risk. I quit my job so I could be home with our kids. Now I’m writing, admittedly for a fraction of my previous salary, but I have been afforded opportunities I would never have had before. If it wasn’t for my kids, I wouldn’t be writing for a living, I wouldn’t be on the radio, I wouldn’t have crossed your TV screens today. For my kids, for me, I’ve accepted the challenge of voicing my opinion on air, I’ve proudly written for the masses as my thoughts are published in national newspapers and magazines and sure look, I made my own Momma Bear proud by being on the telly box today.
Although being a mother, a parent, has its challeges, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Those challenges make me stronger, more determined and make me who I am today.
I’m finally owning my own motherhood. You know it hasn’t been easy. You know I’ve battled depression and anxiety and worried that my change in career has been a mistake. But I’m shaking all of that off and finding my feet as Momma Bear AND Geraldine.
I’m saying YES to new challenges no matter how terrifying they may be or impossible they may seem. If I can raise two kids who run to me when they need me or to simply hug me, who are happy and healthy, I can do anything.
Motherhood will challenge you. Counter those challenges and put the ball in your court. Who’s with me?