Hi I’m Tash, 38 year old mum of three and devoted wife to my hubby and partner in life; Matt. My three beautiful children are Olivia (8), William (6) and Nicholas (1). We live a full and chaotic life, juggling the balance between family, school, work and running a small business. As mums, we are the keeper of the household, manager of the life admin, school and extracurricular activities coordinator, chief nurse, chef, comforter, negotiator and finder of missing socks/shoes/hair lackies. On top of this, we have a tendency to place enormous pressure on ourselves as women to dress right, exercise, eat well and of course make time for that all elusive ‘self care’. This is a term that gets thrown around almost flippantly, as if booking a massage or going for a walk on your own is something that can be easily achieved if you just prioritise it. Only other mums understand this is not the case!
Something I have always prioritised and nurtured are the key friendships in my life. I invest time and energy into these relationships, particularly with women that I can be myself with and share my successes, but more importantly, my failures, without fear of persecution or judgement. Never have these relationships been so important to me since becoming a mum! These friendships can sometimes feel as though they are the life raft keeping you afloat when you are in danger of drowning. To some, this might sound a bit dramatic, but I am sure there are many of us who can relate to that feeling that you have literally poured your whole soul into the wellbeing and happiness of your precious cargo (e.g. your kids!), only to find that they need more. From somewhere, you must dredge up the energy to go again without showing your physical and emotional exhaustion.
Children by nature are self centred little creatures, they have needs and they expect them to be met. They don’t mean to be ruthless dictators, but essentially this is what they are… and don’t expect to be thanked either. I adore my children and I would go to the end of the earth for them. This is actually part of the problem for modern mums the world over – we don’t want our children to go without, and feel it is our responsibility to ensure their total happiness and wellbeing. We also feel the constant nag that is ‘mother’s guilt’ which continues to enable us to put our needs last, and everyone else’s needs first! I explore this more in my blog ‘Mother’s Guilt – why do we make this our cross to bear?’.
Talking friendships, I have a few mumma friends who I can call or text day or night, and I know that I can speak freely and share whatever it is that I need to get off my chest. Likewise, I reciprocate this with support to these friends in their moment of need. You always know what’s coming when you pick up to the phone to a close friend and you can hear it in their voice when they say ‘have you get a sec?’. These moments are so critical, they help us to rebalance, recharge and reset, ready to face to the world again. I couldn’t count how many times I have been beside myself or feeling like I am about to totally lose my cool again, and I reach out to one of these friends to be my non judging sounding board and safe venting space.
We are so fortunate that modern technology allows us to stay connected, even if we can’t physically hang out. Particularly in this unprecedented and swift world shift, these platforms have allowed me to stay connected and in touch. One of my best mumma friends owns a farm in the south-west. I love that through our Viber chats, she can be moving cows between paddocks and I can be walking along the river in the city and we can still touch base and check in on each other.
How many of you have Whatsapp or Viber groups with a few mums where you can unleash your frustration, have a giggle or share your moments of joy (of which there are plenty!). I have a number of these groups and I cherish the laughs and lightness they bring, even when things are emotionally tough. Sometimes all that’s needed is to re-centre you is a quick giggle over your friends plight that her baby has done an enormous poo in the bath and now the five year old is screaming the house down and the three year old is running around stark naked. Only other mums would believe you if you told them you were feeding the baby in the high chair with one hand, whilst applying antibacterial cream to a suspicious spot on your daughter’s bottom and keeping up a conversation with your five year old boy about all the three letter words he can come up with. These stories need to be shared; sometimes you can do nothing else but shake your head and laugh. It’s so good to know that you’re not alone in all the craziness of motherhood. To all the mammas out there, I salute you!
How do you stay connected to your friends in these times when you have social restrictions in place, constantly conflicting time demands and total exhaustion that is never ending? How do you find joy in these moments when you are so far in the trenches it’s hard to see the sky? Please feel free to share and connect. We are each other’s lifeboats.