Know that wanting to feel like the 'you' before you had a baby, even for a few hours is okay.
It's Saturday morning and I've woken up to the sound of my son crying in the other room. It's 5:30am and I know that's him up for the day now, so I'll have to get up too.
My husband can lay in bed, even for an extra 30 minutes, because he's been at work all week so "needs a break". Yet so have I, but I'm a mum and we get no days off or breaks. Today, I need a break and I don't feel like being a mum.
I want to lazily roll over and run my hand over the cold side of the sheet and envelope myself in my thick, brushed cotton duvet, I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.
This job of being a mum is endless, whereas my husband can clock off at 5pm. Being a mother means 24/7 on call, untrained, unpaid and often unappreciated.
So what does all this mean? We are made to believe that feeling this way means we are terrible and that we should never admit to it. That we should love every single second of being a mother, from the lack of sleep and the smell of poo on your hands that never seems to wash off (no matter how hard you scrub), to the throw ups that always go over the fresh black jumper and everything in between.
Don't get me wrong, no one forced me to be a mother and my sweet baby has filled parts of me I didn't know were empty. Yet no one told me how hard it would be and how relentless.
We are very often lead to believe in society, through social media, TV and films, that motherhood is a breeze – that it's an easy and simple undertaking. On top of raising our children, we should also be cooking, baking, cleaning and maybe even have a super cool business from our beautifully decorated home, along with a popular blog and Instagram page.
It's not that easy! Our babies aren't sleeping peacefully in their pram as we sit down looking groomed, while reading Vogue in a coffee shop, drinking a decaf skinny flat white. Our child is instead running around pulling down bags of coffee beans, much to the disapproving looks of others.
So we begin to feel like rubbish mothers for not being able to achieve what we think is expected of us. It's an unrealistic expectation. We wonder "what am I doing wrong?" and feel left behind. We feel like a failure because we can't seem to achieve something that social media makes look so easy, and then guilty for not being quite so "perfect".
We feel bad for simply wanting a rest and guilty for sometimes, just sometimes, we don't want to wake up and watch Fireman Sam at 6am on a Saturday while our childless friends are lounging in bed, sipping hot tea and leafing through a magazine.
On the other hand, as well as doing it all and having it all, we are also made to believe that we should only want to be a mother. Not a writer. Not a friend. Not a lover. Not even human sometimes.
I want to point out in writing that these "super mums" we see who have it all and do it all, yet still have time to bake and paint and love every second of weaning and potty training and teething, just aren't real, and that this certainly isn't the case for most of us if we were to be truly honest with ourselves. And that's okay! Wanting your child to sleep through the night doesn't make you a bad mother.
Saying these things out loud and talking about them doesn't take away from the unshakeable love we have for our children. I would do these things I sometimes don't enjoy (you know - wiping his bum and picking out his boogies) for him over and over to make him happy because he is my baby and he is undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to me. But it still doesn't mean that I don't have days where I just don't want to be a mum.
I think the key is to admit this and embrace it! Know that wanting to feel like the 'you' before you had a baby, even for a few hours is okay.
My baby is only 12 months old and it's crazy to think that a just a year ago, I had no concept of having another person to look after and was sleeping seven-plus hours a night (the dream), so is it really any wonder that this massively huge change of lifestyle can often cause a few bumps in our confidence and leave us feeling slightly bewildered?
We need to be kinder to one another as a village of mothers. We need to realise that kindness and understanding (and a bit of rest!) is often the first step we all need to be truly great mothers.
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, "she'll be fine."