It’s one of the weird truths about becoming a mum. That selfish tendency (that for years fiercely guarded your me-time) almost disappears overnight, only to be replaced by an overwhelming urge to put everyone else’s needs first.
But as the novelty of being a parent wears off, resentment can start to creep in…
Top 5 gripes of an unappreciated mum
- The washing fairy. The piles of dirty clothes that make the magic journey from the bedroom floor to the washing machine. How do they end up so fresh and neatly folded in drawers? It really is a mystery. And the washing fairy seems to have a twin – the food fairy! Cupboards fully stocked? And with food that miraculously takes account of changing whims? Those fairies make a cracking team.
- The perfect birthday. First there are the presents. You need to be mega organised, up on the latest fads and sometimes also a mind reader. With your list to hand, you can even avoid those unwanted gifts from extended family – the ones that end up in the school tombola. Presents aside, there’s the cake (a different design every year – no pressure there), the party, the goody bags… The list is endless and you appear to be the only one actioning it. And as for Christmas, let’s not even go there.
- Packing for holiday. My husband doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. Why would he? It only takes him 10 minutes to pack. Things like sun cream, Calpol and snacks for the journey don’t even enter his mind. If I didn’t take on the role of chief packer, my son would turn up with a single pair of pants (the ones he travelled in) and that washing fairy wouldn’t have much of a break. Or we’d spend our first day traipsing round a shopping mall looking for the “right” colour flip flops for my daughter instead of relaxing by the pool.
- Last minute costumes. Roman exhibitions, school plays and dreaded World Book Day – a never ending calendar of events that all require an amazing costume at short notice. I’ve clocked that World Book Day is going to happen every year but it doesn’t make me any better prepared. All I can say is, thank goodness for Amazon Prime. Yes, we probably do have an old sheet somewhere that I could rustle up into a toga but I can’t quite find the energy.
- All those little things... that make our loved-ones’ journey through life just a little bit easier. Rushing out to Argos at 9pm to buy the only fountain pen that counts for the first day at school. Queueing for an hour outside the Disney store for the latest delivery of “must-have” Cars miniatures. Not to mention hosting tedious playdates to help your child fit in – the ones during Reception when the relevant parents come too. You sit there wondering if they’ll notice your cake is from the farm shop and not actually homemade, inwardly obsessing about the chores you should really be getting on with.
I could go on but I won’t. No doubt my husband has a similar list of why he deserves a medal as a dad. And it’s probably just as long.
I may moan from time to time (well, just a little bit) but I love my role as a mum. I wouldn’t change it for the world. And Mother’s Day was a welcome reminder that, even if most of what I do goes unnoticed, I’m certainly not taken for granted.Imogen Mergler, Marketing Director at Bare Biology and mum of two.
A special thanks to all the mums who openly shared their experiences of feeling undervalued.