The Struggle of Motherhood

by Erin Wilkinson

Life is hard. With a capital H.

Mum life is a struggle for everyone going through it. This is my mantra. Every day, at the moment, seems to be one struggle after the next. As soon as you sort one problem inevitably there is another.

I am a mum to two beautiful boys, one almost 3 and one just turned 1. My husband is a shift worker, and I have recently returned to work as a part time high school teacher.

Life got exponentially more difficult when Bubba #2 arrived a year ago. We thought that it would surely be easy because we had been through it all before with Bubba #1. What we didn’t consider was that the difficult part was Bubba #1 and what he was about to embark upon in all his toddlerness. And then because I’m crazy I decided it was time for me to go back to work. I had not worked in almost 3 years and felt isolated and distant from adult conversation.

Each day has its own unique set of problems. What time am I working, what time is my husband working, what hours are the boys in preschool (because we don’t have free ECE hours yet preschool is too expensive for all the times we need it), what chores need to be done, who is cooking dinner, but wait what is for dinner?? This, I know, is not unique to me and my family. But how do people cope?

This is what we try to do, to survive our hectic day-to-day life:

Communication is key

With our work lives meaning some days we don’t see each other, this was sometimes the first thing to stop happening. We now have a whiteboard with all the things going on in our lives written on it. There is a row for the weather, meals, husbands shifts, children’s care, my work, then a row for all the other s*#t that for some reason must happen. Hubby can never remember what day of the week it is thanks to his rolling roster so I have a simple magnet that dictates what day it is.

Keep basic chores simple

For me this means keeping the house tidy (note not necessarily clean haha), especially the living room and kitchen, doing a load of washing each day, and setting the dishwasher each night. Bubba #1 helps with these wherever he can.

Order supermarket shopping online and have it delivered

This gives me time to figure out what we need during the week and add it directly to the shopping cart instead of writing it on a list. Then the delivery means we don’t need to go out. Also no unnecessary junk (well mostly), and no toddler picking things up and having a tantrum when you say no. Bubba #1 loves when the supermarket order arrives. He chats to the delivery man (we’ve never had a delivery woman) at the door, then helps bring it all into the kitchen and put it away.

One thing I will stress is that in our relationship neither my husband or I takes the lead. We talk about everything we do and come to a decision together. Meal prep and cooking is shared as are chores. We each have our strengths and that may dictate what we each do in our role in this family, but it is a give and take, and a balancing act that we work on every day.

People keep telling me that it will get easier, then immediately apologise because they think that I don’t want or need to hear that right now. They’re wrong. I need to hear that. That is my light at the end of the tunnel. And they are right. I look back at where we were 6 months ago and wonder how we did it. But it takes small changes, constantly tweaking how we do things, so life has a chance to get better. I look forward to where we might be in another 6 months.