After a year of motherhood, I’m still struck by the yawning chasm that has opened between who I always thought I would be and who I have become. I often feel like a 1950s housewife, except that my husband hasn’t provided me with a wardrobe full of big flouncy dresses and I still can’t bring myself to iron his shirts.
Sometimes I sob in despair at my feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, and grieve for the loss of control over my time, my body and my mind. Motherhood is relentless, thankless and invisible. And it is often mothers who downplay and devalue their own status.
I despair when I hear mothers say that they feel bad that their husbands have to go to work and they get to ‘swan around at home’ or that they feel worthless and powerless because they aren’t ‘contributing’. Despite managing teams of people and multimillion dollar budgets in my professional career, and thinking that I knew a thing or two about hard work, stress and responsibility, nothing compares to the responsibility of motherhood. I have never worked so hard in my life. I have never been so tired and so stretched to my limits. And I am quite certain that my performance has never been judged and critiqued so harshly and by so many people.
But how can we expect our work and achievements to be recognised by other people when we don’t even recognise them ourselves?
Kasey Edwards is the author of 30-Something and The Clock is Ticking: What Happens When You Can No Longer Ignore The Baby Issue. http://www.kaseyedwards.com