Thanks to social media and shows like Workin' Mums, more women are speaking out about how challenging some aspects of motherhood can be. Recently, Sarah Buckley Friedberg wrote a compelling post about how much pressure is put on mothers from day one, and welp, she totally nailed it.
"Society to working mums: Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby," she wrote. "The baby who you spent 9-10 months growing inside of your body. Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby. Keep your mind on work, and not your tiny, helpless baby who is being watched and cared for by someone other than you. Make sure to break the glass ceiling and excel at your job — you can do anything a man can do! It is your job to show society this! Show the world that women can do it all. Rise to the top of your career."
Oh, and how can we forget the pressure new mums are under to breastfeed for the right amount of time? "Also breastfeed for at least a year," she explained. "Take 2-3 pumping breaks a day at work, but don't let it throw you off your game or let you lose your focus."
She continued: "Also, lose that baby weight and get back in shape, as quickly and as gracefully as possible. Make sure to get eight hours of sleep a night so you can work out, work, and care for your family. But also get up at 5 a.m. to workout, unless you want to do it after your kids go to bed."
You know what else most mothers are responsible for? Housework — and well, everything else — of course.
"Maintain a clean, Pinterest worthy house. Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights. Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties," she said. "Maintain the schedule for the entire family. Birthday parties coming up? Make sure to have presents!"
Ensure the kids are learning to swim, play an instrument, read, ride a bike, be a good human being, eat vegetables, wear sunscreen, drink enough water, say please and thank you. Don't forget they need to dress as their favourite book character on Monday, and wear something yellow on Thursday. Oh, it's totally your call but most parents come in on their birthday and read to the entire class. In case nobody told you, if you have more than one kid you will need to buy new shoes approximately every other day. See also: winter coats, shorts, pants that aren't 4 inches too short. There will never be matching socks or gloves for any member of the family, ever again.
And let's not forget about all those pesky appointments that you're required to take your children to.
"Try to go out 1-2 times a month. Good, kid-free time. Hire a babysitter, they charge 22-plus dollars an hour in your area so make sure to take out an extra mortgage and/or work another job to be able to afford this."
"Kids need lots of doctor appointments. Monthly as babies. Every time they are sick. Specialist appointments, especially if any of them have extra needs," she warned. "At least two school conferences a year. IEP meetings, if applicable. Parents night. Back-to-school night . . . Most parents are volunteering at least once during the year, would you like to come make a craft with the kids? It will only be an hour or two of your time. Sorry, you are now out of holiday time because you used it all for time taking your kids to appointments or when your childcare is unavailable. You should go on holidays though. It's good to relax and unwind from work. Makes you a better employee."
She notes that while mums are also required to grocery shop, meal prep, and ensure their kids eat healthy food, we can't forget about our partners!
"Date your spouse! It's important to keep your relationship alive and fresh," she said. "Try to go out 1-2 times a month. Good, kid-free time. Hire a babysitter, they charge 22-plus dollars an hour in your area so make sure to take out an extra mortgage and/or work another job to be able to afford this."
You know what else mums should have? Hobbies. And me time! "It's important to have 'you time.' Also, be well-read, keep up with the latest pop culture and TV shows, and keep an eye on politics and be able to discuss at least one of the above on the small chance you are out in public and encounter another adult necessitating small talk," she said. "Make sure to have friends. Social time is SO important. Surely, there is an hour or two left in the week after all of the working, appointments, exercising, cooking, scheduling, cleaning, imparting lifelong morals and learning on the kids, the usual. Maybe go out after the kids are down for a glass of wine and a bite to eat."
But of course, mums should remember to stop and smell the roses every once in a while in their spare time. "Get off your phone, turn off the TV, and enjoy your life," she wrote. "Enjoy your kids. THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES make sure to love every minute of life because before you know it all of this will be in the past."