Hello, my name is Alex. Like many of you I thought I had all the answers when I had my first child. I had worked in education my whole adult life, I had studied child development, had read every baby book on the market, had compared and contrasted philosophies on child rearing, I had done the classes, and I was an avid reader of every mum related message board. I thought I was ready, I thought I had it down pat. I thought I would show those other mums a thing or two. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. As I found my unwashed-self crying, sat on one maternity pillow in the shape of a donut propped up by 30 other pillows and in my pale shaking arms I cradled a screaming, red, new born. Tears rolled down both our faces and we both yowled as my nipples felt like they were rubbed with sandpaper. It was then that it dawned on me how little I really knew.
The truth was no matter what you read, what you heard, what you googled, some other yahoo was saying whatever that was was wrong. Co-sleeping was either the only safe way to sleep as a parent or a sure fire way to smother a child. Baby led weaning was a guaranteed way to make sure you child loved vegetables and simultaneously chocked to death. Breast feeding could only be done after 20 minutes of baby stimulation or your child would forever end up a breast milk junkie, traveling allies looking for his next ‘fix’. Every bit of advice was conflicted by another expert, another study, another message board, or another ‘true story’ of your best friend’s half-sister’s gardener’s niece that once had happened to a friend.
But the strangest thing about this all, the oddest bit, was that no matter who I spoke to, all the other new mothers felt the same way. Heck, even the veteran mums said the same thing. And I came to the conclusion. We are all just trying to get by as best we can. And it is hard. For each and every mother out there it is hard. We beat ourselves up for grabbing our mobile while breastfeeding. We stare enviously at the mothers who have eight kids and a perfect figure. We all think we are the worst parents in the world for letting our child cry to sleep and then hate ourselves for being push overs as we sleep in a dishevelled heap next to their crib/cot.
Despite all of us having this in common, despite this world wide similarity, we never spoke publically of these struggles. We never posted on Facebook that we hadn’t been able to take a shower for a week. We never Instagramed a photo of the nappy/diaper blowout that dyed the whole of her new, expensive, cream dress an odd new shade; somewhere in the middle of hazelnut and chartreuse. We never twittered those nights where we felt so alone and wondered if we could even go on the next day. This is what this blog is about.
Honest parenting. The good, the bad, the ugly. But it’s not all doom and gloom. I will try and chronicle attempts at new hobbies, toddler and baby crafts in an honest and practical way. But most of all I want to reach out and join together with other women and form a network of understanding and non-judgment. Because I am a hot mess mum. Nice to meet you.