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Have our lives got more complicated?

Friday, 24 June 2016  | 

 

Mummy and Little Me #3 Was life simpler back then?

Monday seems to come around quicker, and quicker every week. I work part time so Monday means back to work and getting Elijah to nursery where he has his full day session each week. It means Elijah’s Dad going to work at 4.30 AM (yes it is eye watering) me trying to make myself half presentable whilst wrestling Elijah away from Octonaughts to get him dressed, fed and ready for the nursery run.

So 60 minutes after the alarm has gone off we should be heading out the door and on our way to do the nursery run. 9/10 times I surprise myself and we tend to make it there on time each week. I then head to the very conveniently placed bus stop outside the nursery to get to work. This is where I dashed across the car park too, and arrived rather flushed and sweaty to join the queue. Where I overheard two older ladies discussing how different it is now a days to be a mother. How it was so much simpler in their time and there was much less stress. That the woman was always expected to give up work and stay at home. There was no need for fighting to get a place at the top nursery, or to pay the hefty fees each month as someone was always at home to look after the child. They did the housework, the washing and took it on being the main care giver.

I look at my Nan who raised two children at home while my Grandad worked 6 sometimes 7 days as a lorry driver. She had no back up, the kids didn’t go to nursery and she didn’t get a break. Generally, when you fall pregnant and discuss maternity leave it normally goes that after 9 months you will go back to work part time and dad works full time. Now, with shared paternity leave on offer, and the gender divide in pay become smaller it is becoming a bit more common for dads to stay at home and mums to go back to work! But there is just so much to think about that maybe, these two old gals had it right, that things really were much simpler.

I mean an average week in my household is a balance and a juggle of work, different shift patters, child care to arrange, housework, music classes and washing to be done, never mind the poor neglected garden. We have one day a week that we can all spend as a family so it is important we all go and do something, visit the sea side or go for a meal. As we spent all of last summer in hospital, and at home recovering after Elijah’s heart surgery we are very keen for Elijah to experience everything he can

. I also study, and blog and have to try and fit in time to be me, or for me and Greg to spend time as a couple. The expectation now is that yes, you are a mum so what? Does that stop you no! You can work, balance the childcare and go off and do whatever your heart’s desire but to do this is like walking a tightrope at times and tends to leave me in an exhausted heap on the floor come Sunday. I am sure it is like this in most houses after all the job of a parent is never ending. But, it seems there was really less things for people to stress about back then.

We as women and indeed parents have come so far from the age that these ladies and my Nan brought their kids up in, but with that came a whole load of expense and stress as well. It was a very stifling time for women in regards to it was her, that was expected to give up work, it was her that had to stay at home with the kids. Back then the husband could normally provide a comfortable life on a 40-hour week, so the woman didn’t have to work.

Now in 2016 that isn’t really feasible, many women after 9 months will have to go back to work to help with the monthly income coming into the house. But there was something that was indeed so much simpler back then. I guess people knew what was expected of them, what their role was and that was that. Now everyone is trying to be and do everything the pressure to have it all and then looking freaking amazing doing it at the same time. The parental revolution of social media and admitting to what real parenting really looks like is quickly becoming the norm. However, there are still so many mums who feel they cannot post a pic of themselves in a bikini with their mum tum, or that it isn’t okay to admit that you have had PND, or that yes, as a treat your kid did eat cake for breakfast and you had a secret snooze while BING was on in fear of being attacked by the parenting elite who seem to always have an opinion. I am sure there were many that still had an opinion back in the day but the pressure to snap back into shape etc. was just not there. It wasn’t there in the social media we look at every day, as there was no social media! Perhaps this is the problem.

We seemed to have come so far with gender equality, pay, role reversals and shared paternity leave but we also seem to have taken 20 steps back in terms of what is expected of us now. Social media puts unrealistic images of parenting in our heads and we then feel like we just cannot live up to that, we then get the inevitable mum and parent guilt that goes hand in hand with parenting in 2016. Again, mum guilt I am sure was there in its sneaky and ugly way but as the mum was already at home with the baby and not at work, not spending time on her phone on social media, not having the enviable ‘oh no you cannot do that’, ‘oh isn’t he walking yet’ milestone pressure that again is forced upon us now .Maybe because of the simpler life there was less mum guilt for them to feel?

My nan helps us out with childcare a lot, she offers to do my housework bless her and helps me whenever I ask. She says I do too much, and am always so busy. However, this comes from the lady who raised two children at home on her own while her husband worked away for most of the week. I feel like it was actually her that probably was doing too much! I do get a break when I would like, I balance studying and blogging, managing my social media accounts around Elijah and work. I guess the only thing that really takes a backseat is mine and Greg’s relationship and having some time alone. Sometimes as the week comes to an end I just feel so overwhelmed there is just so much to think about. One week you feel you have got the balance just right, another week you have no clean knickers as the washing hasn’t been done and you forgot to feed the cat! So yes, I see so many advances have been made for parents and for women, but I cannot help thinking, were those two ladies right?

Was it simpler and easier back then to be a mother?

Vicki (NICU Mum)

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