Some days, it feels as though I need to be some kind of Wonder Woman to get through the day. I hate to say it, but sometimes the sounds of my children grate on me a little, set my teeth on edge and… make me want to close the door softly, sit on the edge of the bed and just allow the tears to fall. I don’t, of course, but maybe one day I will.
Some days, it feels as though the image others have of me could not be further from the truth at all. You have four children, they say. You must be some kind of Wonder Woman, they say. No. Just, no.
Who wants to be Wonder Woman? Who wants to set themselves up for failure in that way? Who wants the world to see them as perfect in every way? Perfect figure, perfect teeth, perfect hair. Perfect clothes, perfect children, perfect house. Perfect marriage, perfect job, perfect life. In all that perfection there is no room for reality! No room to be a real person. No room for life to get in the way.
Because it does. Life does get in the way. I find some days hard work, but that’s just how it can be. How is has to be. Those are the days we look back and think ‘Wow! We did it! We made it to school on time (by the skin of our teeth) and although my hair didn’t see a brush and my face wasn’t washed, the kids were clean and tidy. We managed play group. We only had one tantrum in Asda. We did it. We rule.’ Because each and every day that we get through means we did it. And we rule.
And if we are trying to be Wonder Woman we’re not going to get those days. Those sink on the sofa days, put your throbbing feet up and raise a glass to the false ideals of motherhood we are bombarded with through TV, social media, our own insecurities. Instead, we get guilt.
Guilt that we can’t keep it up. Guilt that other stuff has to slip because we want to keep up this pretence of being on top of it all. But actually all that pretence does is spread the guilt a little further. To other mums. New mums, old mums. So that those other mums feel bad about themselves and the things they’re doing with their own lives. So that other mums look at you and think they’re doing it all wrong. So that other mums feel inferior, insecure and useless.
Why do we do it? Why do we allow Wonder Woman to destroy the reality of motherhood?
The reality is this. Some days I want to hide in my room and cry. But I don’t because I have small people who need me and that is what keeps me going. Not the desire to be perfect, some kind of Wonder Woman. Not that.