Hands up if today you have already; done at least 3 loads of washing; somehow made it to work, school/pre-school/play group drop off/ swimming or a doctors appointment; made numerous bottles, meals, snacks or tried to express or breastfeed a number of children; unloaded and repacked the dishwasher multiple times; placated children more times than you want or can remember; tried to get to the bathroom 20 times and made it once or twice; cleaned up some sort of mess, dirt, toys or nappies at least every other minute in between answering emails, running the house and this is just before lunchtime? Welcome to motherhood, or ‘The Juggle’ as I like to call it.
Prior to having baby’s I was aware of some of the balancing act most women seem to manage on a daily basis. I had seen clients, mainly women for weight loss for almost 20 years and would chat to them, in detail about the fine art of balancing their relationships, family, work – paid or unpaid, children and having some sort of life. But as is expected it is not until you experience it yourself that you become fully aware of how many sisters are literally juggling every spare minute they have on a daily basis. Now I find I barely have time to go to the toilet each day as I try and fit some work into my already full day juggling baby’s, breastfeeding, fatigue and the house.
And so when I see trainers, life coaches and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ telling us all how to live and how they manage to maintain perfect make up and daily grueling training sessions in the midst of motherhood I catch myself scoffing, because in my experience this is not how the average mum is surviving. Rather the average mum is so exhausted that they only thing on her mind if a spare hour pops up is sleep. That her body is so sore from carrying around little humans and dealing with the hormonal effects of breastfeeding that even the thought of going to the gym is pure torture. That seeing her partner leave the house for 8 or more hours when she will have no respite from screaming little people is likely to result in tears. That in the midst of juggling motherhood, work and some sort of a relationship that sometimes you really need a cake to keep your spirits up. That intimate time with a partner is just another thing on an already overwhelming daily ‘to do’ list.
I now get much more fully than I ever did that women living the juggle on the daily basis do not need more advice on how to do more; fit in exercise; get more organised; manage their time better. Rather they need support, empathy and reassurance that there are many, many more sister just like them, sitting at home and counting down the hours until a partner or family member arrives to give them respite. That it is completely normal to hate your partner when he or she waltzes home after a day of freedom and gives himself a pat on the back for completing one job with the children. That simply getting through the day is an achievement, nothing more than that should be expected. That social media posts that create an image of perfection so far from the reality that everyday women are dealing with actually do more harm than offer inspiration. That most women battling ‘The Juggle’ do not have, nor can they afford a nanny, rather if they need or want to work they have to add the cost and difficulty getting to and from childcare into their already full schedule. That claiming you only get what you get done because you can afford a nanny is like sticking a knife in the overtired eyes of mums who do not have one.
Surviving ‘The Juggle’ is about understanding. It is about knowing and imaging what has to come together on a daily basis for that mother is simply make it through. It is about being honest and real about how ‘sh*t things are on more days than not. It is not about asking anything rather than listening. And it is not about posting social media posts in a bikini or skimpy training gear to show how great you look or how the fact you have a nanny allows you to workout every day. From that I say ‘unsubscribe’ in favour of posts from real women who are honest about ‘The Juggle’.