I don’t know.

I have always wanted to be a mother. My whole life, I’ve truly believed that is what I was meant to do. I think I have even possibly uttered the phrase- “I was born to be a mother”. I have worked for many years in childcare, looking after other peoples children, and thinking I knew exactly what I was doing.
The reality is, now that I finally have my own child, the one thing I have desperately wanted, I have absolutely no clue. None whatsoever. I have never felt so incompetent in my life. I’m not an idiot, I didn’t think it would be easy, as such. But I had no idea how hard it would be. I thought I knew what I was doing. I don’t. I do a really good job of pretending though. I think even my partner believes my charade. She cries, and he looks at me, ‘what’s wrong with her?’ I am, after all, the expert. I’m great with kids, have years of experience, was a good childcare worker. Unfortunately, the only answer that comes to mind, is that I have no bloody idea. Maybe ask the postman, because I don’t have a clue. I thought I was so clever, I wont fall into all those traps that other parents do. I never rocked my baby to sleep, never put her to sleep in the pram. I didn’t want her to rely on ‘props’ you see, to go to sleep. Of course, now she is nearly 12 months old, and will not sleep anywhere except for her cot. That kind of rules out leaving the house for long periods of time. And I still have to pat her off to sleep at least one sleep a day. That is if she will go to sleep at all. Never pictured myself sitting next to the cot, in tears, begging her to Just. Go. To. Sleep. Just F#@%ing Go To Sleep. Because, I’ve dealt with hundreds of babies that wouldn’t settle. I’ve never cried or lost patience at those babies. Because I knew what I was doing.
My baby wont eat. Clamps her mouth shut, turns her face to the wall, and if all else fails, screams bloody murder. I don’t know why. I feel like I should know why, I should have the answer, but I don’t. I do what all those ‘clueless’ parents of children I used to look after do, and offer her everything under the sun to try and get her to eat. And when that doesn’t work, I cry. Again. She fights all her bottles. She fights getting dressed. She fights getting undressed. She fights her nappies. She wont go to other people. She screams in anger if I don’t come to her attention fast enough. She wakes at 5am almost every morning, despite me trying every technique in every book I can get my hands on. She has somehow managed to possess every bad habit, of every child I have looked after. And I don’t know why. By the end of the day, I feel like I have spent the whole day bashing my head against a brick wall. My partner works two jobs. I have a medical condition that prevents me from driving. So it’s just me and her. Every day, all day.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my daughter. She is gorgeous, and in between all this drama, she is delightful, full of smiles and giggles and sloppy kisses. I love her to pieces. And that makes it worse. Because I want to do the right thing by her. I am the adult, I am the mother. so I should know what I’m doing. I should be in control of the situation. I should not be in tears, wondering what the hell I should do. I should be better.
I asked for help today. Because I’m not coping. I’m struggling, and I want to be a better mother to my daughter. She deserves better. So I rang the health nurse, and have organised for some ‘Enhanced’ care, where they come out and talk to me in my home, and give me some strategies. I know it was the right thing to do. But still, I feel like such a failure. I really thought I would be better than this. I really thought I would know.
Part of me is a bit ashamed of this post. Kind of ruins the image that I have been trying to keep up, that I am, of course, the ‘perfect’ mother. But the other part of me is wondering, maybe I’m not alone? Maybe there are a lot of us out there who just don’t know. And maybe another mother will read this and realise that she is not alone. One thing I actually do know, motherhood can feel like the loneliest job of all. xx