A bunch of mums going for a walk, supporting each other and all rocking their Cadenshae maternity activewear.
Motherhood is hard.
Being a parent…is exhausting.
For those of you who are about to embark on the parenting journey, this post is for you - a little insight into the trials of being 'mum' in this day and age. Being a mother is tough no doubt...but it's also the most phenomenal experience you’ll ever have. What ‘they’ say is true!
All of our experiences differ, but there’s a general consensus that motherhood will push you out of your comfort zone, and then some. It will test your patience, physically drain you, emotionally unhinge you, categorically challenge you, BUT, it will empower you beyond recognition. Say goodbye to the woman you were before becoming a mum, she’s a long, lost friend who you’ll think of fondly (and sometimes be jealous of), but you’ll never see her again. Welcome to the new and improved, invincible…YOU!
So…why is motherhood so hard? As a mother of two young boys, and currently pregnant with my third, I feel I am qualified to present a few ideas at least. Working for Cadenshae also allows me time to interact with mothers across the globe, and although some mothers find the things I find easy hard, and vice versa…a lot of the time, we all tick to the same clock.
Firstly, it’s important to say, motherhood has been, and always will be a challenge. Depending on when you become a mother, defines what types of issues you will be presented with. In the 1200s for example, just giving birth and staying alive was difficult! I can’t even imagine giving birth in a field on my own...like a lot of women did. Unreal.
But is motherhood tougher now than back in the day? These days we have the wonder of modern medicine on our side, and so many fantastic aids to help us ‘mum,’ (bottle warmers, nursing bras, lulla dolls, felts, canned baby food, T.V. etc.) however despite all this, it’s still not a walk in the park being a mum in the 21st century, and here’s why:
1. Generally, we’re having babies later, so this not only takes a larger toll on our bodies, but we become mothers well after we’ve established our independence. We’ve had time to really focus on our careers, and have had years of doing as we please. Many women of my mother’s generation (which isn’t that long ago) had their first baby in their early 20s and essentially they went from living with their parents, to living with a husband and having a baby. Many didn’t have time to get ‘stuck into’ a career, or travel the world to ‘find themselves.’ They went from being a teenager essentially, to becoming a parent…their sense of freedom wasn’t clearly established. Plus, those little young bodies can bounce back from childbirth a bit faster than a woman in her 30s. According to a University of Rochester Medical Centre study, birth rates for US women in their 30s are the highest they’ve been in 40 years. An older mother has a higher chance of experiencing: miscarriage, birth defects, twins, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and last but not least, a difficult labour…leading to an increased chance of post-natal depression. Just on this, when I was in my early 20s I could go out all night and show up to work the next day, no problems. Now, if I don’t get seven hours sleep, I’m a wreck. Sleep deprivation is harder to cope with the older you are, and we all know babies and sleep aren’t always conducive...
Global superstar Katy Perry is a prime example of a woman juggling both career and motherhood in her 30s. Here, Katy is sporting her Cadenshae 'Fresh' Casual Hoodie whilst walking her baby (Daisy) AND shooting her video for 'Not the End of the World.'
2. Secondly, we live in a time of information overload, and we have also created for ourselves a digital version of, ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ My mother didn’t have to deal with ‘Instagram mums’ nailing life in every way...or at least that's what they'd like to portray. These days, we look at women who ‘appear’ to have it all (they don’t) and we stupidly compare ourselves. There’s so much extra, unnecessary pressure!
3. Following on from this, in previous generations when you had a baby, you listened and fell back on your village. You took your mum’s advice, your aunty's, your sister's, your friend’s advice etc., on how to do all things baby. Now, all we have to do is Google a topic and we have hundreds of ‘experts’ telling us what we are doing wrong…'DO NOT FEED YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP, ARE YOU INSANE?!’ I may be indulging in hyperbole here, but you get where I'm coming from. I’m not saying feeding your child to sleep is wrong (I did it, and personally feel it's important to to begin with) I’m just saying, big calls can easily be put online, and ALL sorts of conflicting and inaccurate information can be found at the drop of a hat. When you’re an anxious, sleep deprived mother…you’re not always thinking about how well-researched an article is, and the studies behind the theories. In desperation, you may very well take certain pieces as gospel and completely freak yourself out that you're creating 'bad habits' for your child. That's not okay and certainly an issue only mothers of the 1990s onwards have had to contend with.
Our gorgeous model Summer is wearing the 'Bamboo Workout Tee' in peacock, whilst her and her mother Nichole snuggle baby Rocky.
4. I think the other major reason why modern motherhood can be hard is the fact there’s a huge ‘grey area’ in regards to gender specific roles. In many ways this is fantastic and speaks to female equality - but it also means modern mothers have a lot of crosses to bear. For example, in 2021, in order for most households to function comfortably, the majority of families rely on two incomes. In the 1950s/60s/70s etc., this wasn’t often the case - most women stayed home with the children, and the man went to work. Now, women not only WANT to work, but we have to due to higher living costs. So a woman (who is usually the primary care-giver) is expected to be the perfect mum at all times, plus perform her job to the same standard she did before she became a mother, all while juggling the home executive role (men have DEFINITELY stepped up in this regard though, got to give credit where it’s due). We have a lot to balance up these days and we really need to give ourselves and fellow womankind a break. We're awesome, but we don't have super powers.
Being a mum is hard, anything worth doing IS hard, however what should you do when motherhood gets tough? There are things you can do to help yourself, and we have written about this very topic before in the hope it will help you when motherhood feels too hard. Check out this blog on the best self-care strategics for mums. It’s super helpful.
Children make you feel deeper than ever before and they keep you young at heart through their zest for life. You get to see the world again for the first time - who knew an ant scattering along the table could be so intriguing?
Whether you were a new mum in the 1940s, or a mum of 2021…we can all say, there’s nothing like being a mother.
Motherhood is hard.
Being a parent…is exhausting.
Motherhood is awesome.
Being a parent is the most rewarding and amazing thing you’ll ever do. Hands down.
As always, you've totally got this!
Written by Ellen Chisholm.