The Family

To The Mum Of 4 Who Thinks She’s Failing

It’s ok. It’s ok to feel like you’re failing. It’s ok to feel like you’re failing your kids, your husband, your friends and your home. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. I know you feel like you have to, but it’s ok to actually be a little bit crap sometimes. But only sometimes, because you have 4 kids to keep alive.

These last few weeks I have found them to be the toughest few weeks since ever becoming a parent. I just feel like not a single person I know (other than my husband) actually understands what my daily life is like. I love my children with all of my heart. Every one of them was planned, celebrated and was meant to be here. My husband and I knew that it was going to get tougher with every child.

We never argue. We love each other profusely. In all honestly, we don’t know many other couples quite as solid as us. Yeah we roll our eyes at each other behind each other’s backs, but that’s it. Every night we fall asleep in each other’s arms after signing off for the day with an ‘I Love You’. But that still doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m failing. I’m running on fumes.

To be honest, I don’t even know what I feel like I’m actually failing at. How odd.

I clean 24/7. My brain works at a 100mph. Every second of my day is planned (in some form) and even when I relax, I’m still either mentally organising stuff or subconsiouly doing odd jobs. Yet why am I always running behind? Oh yeah, it’s because I have 4 tiny terrorists tearing the place apart. I weep inside everytime someone moans about their pristine home, or their lack of personal time. I feel their pain, but I feel like it’s worse.

Some days I cry, mostly because I’m a hormonal mess. Sometimes it’s because I feel like I dont have enough energy. Sometimes it’s because I feel lonely (I’m surrounded by amazing friends but none in an identical situation). Often it’s because I feel undervalued. Mostly it’s because I’m just plain exhausted. Occasionally I just laugh because I’ve ran out of fucks for the day.

I don’t want my house to be dirty or unorganized. I feel like I can’t relax when it’s like that. Each evening we try to allow even just a couple of hours to relax. I will sit and crochet, my husband will sit and paint. At the same time we watch a couple of episodes of a tv show.

Surely we deserve that?

Then it’s bed. Followed by our son waking at midnight to feed, then again 2 hourly. Luckily we cosleep from midnight and I breastfeed so I never fully wake, nor do I ever fully fall into a deep sleep. We wake the next morning and the same monotonous day begins again. All unpaid.

I suppose I haven’t made it easy for myself. We have a lot of pets, we live very self sufficiently (with no mod-cons to help with daily chores such as a tumble drier, dishwasher etc) and I choose to be self employed for 2 companies.

I could jack all that in, but other than my kids and a significantly tidier home what would I have to show for myself? I could go out and get a job elsewhere. Where I would recieve a regular wage and I wouldn’t be shut within the same 4 walls day in day out. But then I’d never see my children or my pets and I’d definitely never get the laundry done.

I’m sure fellow mums of 4 will be reading this and know exactly what I am talking about. I remember feeling that same struggle when I only had the 1, 2 and 3 babies. Each additional child added to the chaotic mess. But when 4 comes along, you’re suddenly very outnumbered. The whole situation intensifies.

It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to feel like you can come off your meds, only to realise that you bloody well can’t. It’s ok to feel some resentment to those who don’t have to deal with this shit. Its ok to miss your childfree days when you could go out and party, sleep until midday and wake up to a spotless tiny flat.

I know you love all of your babies and you would never ever wish you had less. I know you would do anything for your kids. I also know that you deserve a break and some sympathy and a cuddle. It’s all well and good with folk telling you to leave the housework, it will still be there tomorrow. That’s true, but how can I ever enjoy my home when I cant feel comfort within it? I don’t want my children growing up and remembering a dirty home, but I also don’t want them to grow up and only remember mummy doing chores. You just can’t win.

I also know that every one of us knows that soon, very soon, these days will all be gone. Our kids will no longer need us and we will feel overwhelmed with free time. The thought of that hurts just as much as the exhaustion of today. Where will time have gone? Blink and you’ll have missed it.

Dear Mum of 4. You’re not failing, you’re human. You’re not Super Mum. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend. You are allowed to be selfish at times. You are doing your very best. I wanted to write this to let you know that you definitly are not alone in how you feel. It’s ok not to be ok.

Oh, and if you’re planning on having baby number 5… You’re gonna rock the shit out of that too!

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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