Word to the New Mothers

We are currently experiencing a few maternal difficulties. Please bear with us…
[Test Card F, BBC]

A troll once informed me, among other uglier, slightly more menacing insults, that she found my blog, glib. I’ll take that, I thought. Clearly I threaten the careers of Dear Deirdre and Dr Miriam Stoppard in no way whatsoever, but if it’s a few juvenile jokes about being a knackered mum, or much reference to wine you’re after, I’m your girl. I believe us ‘inconsequential’ mum bloggers have our place in the internet world – and if it’s dinner-party dialogue about motherhood you desire, then there’s always the hallowed pages of The Pool or Mumsnet to keep you in a steady supply of worthy debate and sound bites.

However, what the troll said next hit a nerve. She suggested my flippancy was a ruse because, deep down, I was struggling with parenting. I felt stung. The sweary name calling I could sort of handle, writing her off as a typical vitriolic troll fighting demons of her own. But suddenly she sounded articulate and I hate to admit it, quite perceptive. I remember shaking slightly as I read her angry words via my mobile phone and, feeling instantly sick, I couldn’t finish my Saturday night curry.

I went to bed that night crying. Not just because of my abandoned Chicken Ceylon and longed-for Shiraz, soured by her spite and my shot nerves. Not just because the troll had scared me poo-less (which she did, I won’t deny). But mainly because all the reasons I’d started my blog for in the first place, came screaming horribly back.

Acid reflux, sleep deprivation, cold tea, naptime battles, hurried showers, sore nipples, lost independence – among so much more – had made me miserable. My sense of humour had been robbed and in truth, I felt resentful. I was so ashamed; I told myself I was inadequate and unworthy of being a mother. My addled, broken brain conjured cruel imaginings of me trying to wrestle my children off social services, followed by spiraling newspaper headlines sporting my guilt-ridden mug shot.

As a journalist, I knew I could purge a lot of this, and regain a little control, if I could find the time and energy to write – but it wasn’t philosophical conversation I longed for. I mostly wanted a really good, inappropriate, cathartic, unapologetic laugh. In short, I wanted to feel like me again. And so my glib blog was born.

Almost two and a half years on, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. My ‘ruse’ for my ‘struggles with parenting’ brought in commissions from publications including Good Housekeeping, The Mirror, The Sun and a TV series with Made Television (yes, I will still be dining out on that while my children are bundling me into a home). But in truth, it’s the likeminded mums with their follows, thumbs-ups, comments and shares, from the very first post, who have really bowled me over. Funny, bright women with shared experiences and a similar sense of twisted humour, who I’d actively gone in search for, made me feel ‘normal’. And I hope my blog has returned the favour.

So, this post isn’t to address the troll who broke my spirit for a while – because I know her issues are big, and in all honesty, I feel she should be pitied. This post is for the new mums she got me thinking about. The fatigued, feral-feeling mums looking up from their baby books and wondering where the chapter on maternal insanity is; telling themselves they are terrible, contemptible mothers because they don’t ‘count their blessings’ and ‘cherish every moment’. And while I’m generally not one to dish out advice (because, frankly, I have too many documented failings floating around the internet to be in a position to), I would like to say this:

Bin the books; banish the scales; drink the wine; eat the cake; scream like a banshee; cry like a baby; laugh like a drain; accept you are human and above all, ask for help. And never, ever let someone else, particularly one with unkind intention, determine how you feel about your parenting. You are an excellent mum. Please do not lose sight of this.

Yes, I know this isn’t a typical post for me. But trust me, normal glib service will resume shortly.

#maternalmentalhealth

Discussions — 8 Responses

  • Spiky Zebra May 5, 2017 on 4:16 pm

    Perfect! Love you, Zee.

    Reply
    • Zeena Moolla Spiky Zebra May 5, 2017 on 9:46 pm

      Likewise, Spiky! XX

      Reply
  • Colleena May 5, 2017 on 6:28 pm

    Aghhh acid reflux and sleeplessness when will it ever end! 2nd one will be easier they said. Being the ahhhemmm more mature mum you’ll be more chilled out they said! Nowhere did they say it’ll be harder, more tiring and just generally shitty at times. If there was a book telling me how shit I’d feel at least I’d have been more prepared! Love the blog, the candidness and the laughs! Now come on hubby hurry home with the bleeding Chardonnay!

    Reply
    • Zeena Moolla Colleena May 5, 2017 on 9:50 pm

      Thank you, Colleena – acid reflux is just evil, isn’t it? Thanks to late-night Googling and the local kids’ hospital, I know everything there is to know about it… Hope you got that chardonnay! You really, really deserve it. XX

      Reply
  • Sianade C May 6, 2017 on 9:13 pm

    It feels like this was written about me. Those early days are like no other. And it was during one of those days when you made me laugh so hard I cried happy tears. Sorry to hear you’ve been trolled, you’re brilliant – don’t forget it xx

    Reply
    • Zeena Moolla Sianade C May 8, 2017 on 10:05 am

      Ah, I cannot tell you how chuffed I am to hear that. Thank you loads, Sianade. And scoffing at parenting kept me sane during those early days – still does! And I love that the blog has introduced to me to so many likeminded, lovely mums. XXX

      Reply
  • Wendy Hibbs May 7, 2017 on 10:28 am

    Any parent who doesn’t struggle with parenting has to be quite an arrogant twat don’t they? xx or a liar

    Reply
    • Zeena Moolla Wendy Hibbs May 8, 2017 on 10:09 am

      I also think that sometimes with parenting when you’ve had a bad time, it’s a bit like a headache that’s passed – you know it was painful but can’t recollect the actual pain! That how wily Mother Nature gets us breeding again.. Such a cow. XX

      Reply