Parenting, What's On Our Mind

Mums – please help me feel like I am not a bad human.

Monty by Monty
November 2nd, 2016

I have always wanted to be a mum. I used to pretend my little sister was my daughter. With 11 years between us, she was a perfect real life doll. I may or may not have attempted to breastfeed her, but that is for another time.

I am now a real mum to two little rad, rat bag boys. They are so cute; at times I feel like I could pop some tomato sauce on them and eat them whole. However, since kid number two came along I am finding it really hard to see that ‘having it all’ is ever going to be my reality.  I need more than my kids in my day-to-day life to feel fulfilled, happy and not bored!

I love to work and I need to work for both my sanity and so I can indulge in my superficial lifestyle. Being home and negotiating with a nearly five year old to put on his shoes while wiping poo from my two-year-old’s bum often drives me insane,

Just writing that sentence makes me feel suffocated with mother’s guilt.

I wish I wanted to be home full time with my kids, but I would be lying if I said I did. Of course it goes without saying that I love them more than anything, but I just don’t love being with them all of the time. I need and want adult interactions, challenges and conversations that involve more than Bubble Guppies, Dora and chatting in a robot voice.

My children make up a huge part of who I am, they keep shit real and make me feel incredible things I didn’t even know were humanly possible to feel. But setting big career goals and chasing them is something I have always thrived on.  I’m struggling to see how I can chase and parent at the same time right now. So in order to make this a possibility, I am selling one of my children. Jokes.

I do feel riddled with guilt  though, wanting to crack on with my career while having two young boys; knowing that I always need to call on my village to help raise my children with me. But to get that fire in my belly, I need to have my mind busy and challenged with work at the same time as seeing my children grow.  Having just one or the other doesn’t cut it for me, although I’m finding it hard to see how having both without guilt is possible.

Starting Show + Tell was all a part of my plan to ‘have it all’  – at once. To be able to work from home and bring up my family at the same time sounded like a dream. I just didn’t actually realise that banana squashed into my key board and rocking a baby to sleep while typing my deepest or sometimes dumbest thoughts, was a big part of that reality. I couldn’t love running Show + Tell any more than I do, it is a wild dream come true, but when I have my mug in my computer, I feel the neglecting guilt kick in, and then when I’m playing with my babes I get the ‘I should really be working’ guilt. Hey guilt, how about you piss right off? Seriously though, does the balance of work/family for women ever feel balanced and guilt free?

Which way to go???

Which way to go???

I find myself often looking at my partner and feeling envious, sometimes jealous that having our boys hasn’t altered his career at all.  When I fell pregnant with Bax, I was doing breakfast radio in Sydney. A job I had worked hard for and sacrificed a lot to get. Along with the pregnancy came shocking morning sickness , and being the fickle industry that it is, that job slipped through my fingers. That is something that a man would never experience. I definitely don’t want a penis, as I love wearing heels and the fact my body can grow humans, but seriously, being a woman with kids and having a desire for a career can be hard yakka.

Not every day is like this for me, I don’t whinge and struggle non stop (believe it or not). Most of the time I feel like a pig in shit with my boys by my side and this very site growing before my eyes (which makes me burst with excitement). But then there are the days that it all just feels a little too hard.

Fill my vino glass  up would you, I think I need to cry into it then maybe just harden the fuck up. I will ‘have it all’, just obviously not all at once – or at least just not today.

Do you struggle with the work/parenting balance? Does mothers guilt tug at you a lot too? Share with me. xx

  • Leigh

    Monty you bloody amazing woman. These are my exact thoughts (and maybe fears) said out loud. I’m pregnant with no 2, thick in the middle of morning sickness- one hospital admission and many many 8.30 bedtimes (my poor husband!). Our little princess has just turned 1 and she is by far the best thing I’ve done. However I have those days (many of those days) where being at home with her is just not enough, how will I cope when no two arrives, I know some days I’ll hate it. Which I feel SO guilty for saying out loud.
    Can I just say Show + Tell has been one amazing outlet of watching great interviews where I still feel like an adult, watching real conversations, with great women who get my brain thinking about interesting life topics and not ‘how many nappies have I changed today.
    Keep up the good work, you are making a difference, when your having a shit day chances are your work is helping me through mine. :)

  • Urban Fringe

    I can’t remember in which interview you said recently that that same thing of having a ‘fire in your belly’ for your career, while being pregnant and so excited to being having your second child – but it really resonated with me. I have two kids and am trying to have some semblance of a career – working from home part-time mostly. But I feel that each pregnancy (with severe morning sickness) and to be honest the first year (of breast-feeding/getting up every few hours during the night) has meant that some opportunities have passed me by (really of my own volition as I’m too knackered to care at the time) and it is only when I am back to feeling”like myself'(i.e. not pregnant or overwhelmed with fatigue) that I begin to be able to keep some of those plates spinning at the same time. But some days (sick kids, no childcare that day) I just have to accept that I have to ‘devote’ myself fully to being at home and being present with my kids (and emails etc just have to wait), other days, despite the guilt, I do put my kids in care so I can have a ‘work day’ so I can work productively. And then there are other days where I ‘muddle through’, getting some emailing done while the kids watch some tv etc. To state the bleeding obvious, I think it does get a lot easier, especially once the second is no longer a baby and is sleeping through, eating solids, happy to socialise and be taken care of by people outside the home…but i salute you in your endeavour to try and balance motherhood and your amazing career…just keep at it, one day at a time….your interviews have certainly provided me with a lot inspiration of women who have managed to ingeniously and uniquely ‘balance’ motherhood with their professional passions.

  • Zoe

    Dear Monty,
    Gosh reading that takes me back to when I too was juggling a toddler and a baby. Mine are 10 and 6.5 now and I still struggle with the guilt. I cant always be at their school events and I dont always meet their expectations but I do try my best. Having their dad work away too is tough also. I also did not want to be a stay at home mum, it wasn’t enough for me either and I am definitely a better mother for working. This year I have gone back full time to my teaching career, prior to that I was part time with classes spread over the week which in itself was challenging. I continually and still do have many balls in the air at any one time and some days they all come crashing down (was up all night last night with my 6yr old vomiting consistently every 15-30mins and I am at work today!) I feel as though I never give anything 100%. At work I am thinking about home and at home I am thinking about work. I am also a very driven person and absolutely love my job. I love my children too but being a mother is not my only defining characteristic or title. I have definitely come to the conclusion that one cant have it all but we do our best each day to meet our needs and those of our families and we can have different parts of the have it all pie at different times in our lives. As you know when you have a baby and a 3yr old that really has to be the focus for a period of time. Hang in there. It does get better and easier and you will figure it out. Dont feel guilty about having the thoughts and sharing them, it is healthy and real and makes other mothers like myself feel ‘normal’ :) sending love to you and your family. PS I absolutely LOVE Show and Tell (Julia M’s interview recently was simply fabulous) xo

  • asej

    This isn’t what you want to hear. Nor is it, as a feminist what I want to write because it really goes against my ideologies. But it’s what’s in my heart. Babies are babies for such a short time, soak every moment in. The career will be there for some time to come, at least until your 70 if our current government have their way. Guilt is a choice. Don’t choose it, it requires way too much energy. It is fucked up that a dad’s career is unscathed by the birth of children. But the baby is a smooshy, gorgeous bundle of chub and love and needs eyes gazing down at her or him with contentment around the clock.

  • Charity

    I remember feeling just as you do now one day and I watched your interview with Sam Stynes. Go back and rewatch what she has to say about balancing it all. I may have missed the point of what she was saying but it was a lightbulb moment for me.

    We can’t have it all at the same time. Of course I want to be out of the home and stimulated in some capacity but put simply, can’t do that whilst caring for my daughter. It’s not my time, it’s hers and mine will come later.

    Many of our generation find it so hard to get out heads around the sacrifice required so much of the time! It is seriously the biggest shock of mothering I think, that we now have to put these little people ahead of us.

  • Monty

    LEIGHHH! Thank you for such a beautiful message. Made me teary! So thrilled you love Show + Tell and it is a nice little outlet for you.
    You are SO not alone. Yes there will totally be days that you hate it. BUT there will be days when you are going to burst with love and cant believe how lucky you are. The ever elusive balance.
    PS- Your bebe’s are going to be so close in age. SHIT! Ha xxx

  • monty

    Beautiful Zoe,
    THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write this. I am a little emotional reading the beautiful comments from mum’s like me; struggling with guilt about everything and anything. You are so right, I am 33 and my sister 37 and I know my mum STILL has mother’s guilt. Just comes with the job I guess.
    I love that you say we can have different parts of the pie at different times. I feel a bit exhausted trying to ‘have it all’ and doing everything a bit half assed. Thank you so much Zoe and i hope your 6 year old is feeling better and you all get some sleep tonight.
    And YOU are doing an incredible job, I can just tell
    M xx

  • Monty

    I hear you loud and clear. I look at my baby and toddler one second and want to burst with love and am so grateful I have the time to gaze and them and know it will be over ina blink, then the next minute I’m wanting the phone to ring with some work for me. Ha. I know you are right, it is just a little tricky at times. xxx M

  • monty

    oh my GODDDD, the sleep deprivation, is it bad I can not talk about it enough? ha.
    Thank you so much, i am so on the same page with you. Some days it works, some it doesnt and some you just survive. Ha.
    As i type this Im rocking my baby and have my 3 year old glued to the tv- it is one of those ‘other days’ you talk of.

    Lots of love to you and I am SO happy you enjoy our videos, they are done for women just like you… (and me) xx

  • Kelly

    Beautifully written Monty, very brave. Thanks for sharing x

  • Leanne McMillan

    Dearest Monty, I want to tell you it ends. But I dont think it does. My babes are 14 months apart (another story!) and in grade one and prep now but I work full time and have done since they were both five months old. It means I work at night, I work before dawn, I work on the weekends just to be able to do what the stay at home parents do; volunteer in the class room and do pick up or drop off. Despite the want to “have it all” it is not possible. Your babies will love you for our achievements, for your failures! they dont know what is what yet. Success is a hard thing to define. Dont pressure your self too much. Love you, love you partner and mostly love your babies!

  • Nathalie Jeffrey

    Oh Monty! I couldn’t agree with you more. I went to uni, got my shit together, got a job…loved my job. Wanted children, did the deed, got my children and felt ‘my shit’ fall apart in front of my eyes. I used to be fun. I love my beautiful boys so much it hurts (and sometimes I hurt from a hard day with the kids too) but that feeling. THAT. GUILT.
    They say to get a good balance. Impossible but, I say balance the guilt, don’t let the pendulum swing too far into a clusterfuck of guilt (excuse the language, but it’s kind of a good way to describe it)regarding work or regarding mothering. Just realise somedays are shittier than others and on those days it’s ok to have an extra glass…with a bag of malteasers. Love ya guts Monty, you are doing a fabulous job xx

  • elodiejayne

    Thanks Monty for sharing, I’m certain that most working mums reading this would agree wholeheartedly with you! I think we all owe it to our kids though to not lose who we are, and our careers can be a big part of that, it was there before our babies came along and most of us will go back to it when they’re gone! You’re right, we can’t have it all, all of the time. We’re just lucky we get a chance to have both and all we can do is our best! xx

  • http://www.potential.com.au Ellen Jackson

    You’re not a bad human. You’re a pretty normal human I think. One that enjoyed her career pre-babies and wants to continue that, like lots of us. I have two boys too and I love them to bits and I’m with them as much as I can be but I know that if I’m at home just doing mum and house stuff for long periods I become horrible, cranky, impatient Mummy and that’s no good for any of us. You have to do what’s best for ALL of you. The working from home thing is tricky but do-able (I’ve done it now for 12 years, pre and post kids). I have ‘working hours’ (usually evenings, day care days now that my little guy is a bit bigger, some ‘quiet time’ periods when the little one watches TV after swimming or another morning activity and Mummy can sit at the computer.) It doesn’t always work out but it helps to alleviate the guilt. One thing that I’ve discovered is that there is never a ‘normal’ or a routine for very long. Everything changes and you just go with the flow doing as much or as little works as feels right at the time. They do grow up fast and you do get your freedom back in a way. It looks a little different than it did before but you value it SO MUCH MORE. xx

  • MumFi

    Maaaaaate, so with ya! Every time someone with older kids would say to me “oh don’t you just looooooooove that age?” or “oh I really miss my kids at that age” I’d think are you friggin’ insane, just look at me, hand me a bloody glass of wine for godsake! The tug of war between what we think we should be doing (being a perfect parent) and what we can do (our best) is so tough. Your little fellas are super lucky, you are a gem.
    Fi xx :)

  • Aimee

    Monty, (or Moth as my auto correct wants to call you) thank you once again for your honest writing. You are doing a cracking job at this working mum gig, I’m sure of that.
    My twins are now 2.5 and I figured out rather early on that the life of a SAHM was not for me. I love the shit out of my kids, but I’m a much better mum when I have time out from them. And I am completely fine with that – no guilt. The thing I did beat myself up about was when I struggled to put a “good” meal on the table for them (but I’m getting better at letting that one go…especially considering that when I do make a “good” meal they don’t bloody eat it. Urgh)
    I can’t imagine how much of a juggling act it must be to work from . home and kudos to you. Maybe as another poster suggested, you could look into a nanny. I know Rebecca Woolf over on GirlsGoneChild had a nanny for her kids when they were pre-school age. I think she would just basically lock herself in her office lol.
    Anyway, sorry for the waffle. Just wanted to say that you are not alone. You don’t need to harden up – you are human. I hope reading all of these encouraging comments has lifted you up a little. Shoot for the moon!

  • ChroniclesofNardia

    All I am going to say is I relate to EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. And you are not alone xx

  • Sonia

    Thank you so much for sharing your private feelings. Sometimes its so hard to see through the thick smog of sleep deprivation and those pesky hormones (i have an 11 month old and a 3 yr old).
    Your children are being raise in a loving, stable, nurturing environment (if they weren’t you wouldn’t even be feeling like this) You have to believe in yourself and the wisdom of so many woman before us. Working mothers are a part of our community and way of life.
    Back yourself Monty. If mothering and working is what works for your household, then to hell with anyone else’s opinion you pursue what feels right. You’ll make it work, perhaps don’t take on a massively consuming project, pick the projects that suit you and your families needs.
    I was going bannans at home. I work 3 days a week and to be perfectly honest, by the time my work day comes around, I am rearing to go!!!! Being a mum has positively changed me and bought my life so much meaning and love, but I still love being an empowering business woman too!!! I’ve never been happier. Trust me, its all going to work out babe :)

  • Jo

    Really appreciate your honesty Monty, totally feel the same. I currently work part time (3 days technically) in a job that I love and am mum to a beautiful crazy nearly two year old boy.
    Three tips for me are to 1/ embrace the village to raise your boys 2/ find a job that supports you through this temporary time where little people are so dependent on you, and is flexible eg I work evenings instead of early morning or 5-730pm 3/ make the choice when to work, when to play and be mentally present as much as possible whichever you are doing. Choose not to feel guilt, like a guy, as it really doesn’t serve any purpose other than to make ourselves feel better about our choices. If we are happy with our choice, don’t waste energy on worrying about it. Happy mama means happy family!

  • Lou

    FYI no apostrophe needed in Mums.

  • Lisa

    Monty, first of all, your boys are beautiful! I knew that I couldn’t leave this earth without experiencing having children. I definitely felt complete after having my four children….complete and busy as hell! I have a full time job, had a not very helpful partner, and everything was on me. I had family baby sitting for a time, until I had to look into daycare, and that is a scary thing leaving your kids with strangers! However, during my three month maternity leave with each kid, I was bored. Those little babies sleep so much, and my house couldn’t be any cleaner…….Until, the forth came along and clean house and boredom were long gone!!! You do tend to lose your identity when you are home raising kids, even though that is the hardest job on earth! That’s why God enlisted women to do it! (lol) I did want to go back to work, but I would have preferred to work part time, but that was not an option for me. I had to go back full time and miss many moments in my kids lives, I was the bread winner and had to keep a roof over their heads! Now that I have removed the dead weight from my life ( my ex) My kids call me mafa, because I do both roles in their lives, but my kids saw a mom who cared greatly for them. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But they saw a mom who could be as strong as Hulk when it came to protecting them and balancing work, home, family, birthdays, holidays, etc, etc. It is exhausting, crazy, overwhelming, gratifying, fulfilling, heart wrenching, full of blessings, etc etc, and worth every minute of it! If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing (except the sperm donor!). Just keep in mind you have to take care of yourself first before you can be there for your kids or whoever you take care of. I learned that much later. If I take time to go out with my friends or do something for myself, I am there much more fully for my kids. So maybe you should work, full or part time, away from the house and fulfill yourself a little, and everyone will end up winning!