Christmas is just a couple of days away. Christmas trees are already beautifully dressed or at least standing in the living room, smelling nature and asking to be decorated. All is ready for the family get-together; who will come, how many dishes will be served and whether we will listen to Christmas carols or sing and play them. Wham’s unforgettable “Last Christmas” is being played on the radio, so we know the time has come. Fridges are full of various home-made meals. Almost all gifts are already bought, perhaps we still need to nicely wrap them and maybe there is one small thing we want to give, but we are not sure, what it can be.
It seems that all is set, but I am still confused. I would like to offer you, the Mum, something special, something that money cannot buy, but I do not know, what you would really like to have. I can only guess…
Perhaps more respect for what you do?
I know you are sacrificing endless hours, days, months and even years to be with the baby. Your dedication and engagement often goes unnoticed to the world. Media do not broadcast events that happen at home: diapering, breastfeeding or singing a lullaby. So people do not know how much effort and energy it takes and how important it is to a family and ultimately to the world. After all, both Nobel Prize winners and serial killers were once children, and how they were raised by their parents probably determined a lot in their adult lives. But this is not what on people’s minds, and especially men’s. Men are busy with work, sports and ideas for saving the world. And often get recognition for any of it because that is what our society openly respect. So it is really hard for men to see the mother’s world. And pay enough respect.
Maybe just more sleep?
Sleep deprivation has been long known as one of the toughest tortures. We quickly die from it, quicker than from hunger. As a young Mum, you may sometimes think how come you are still alive, when you need to wake up every 2 or 3 hours at night. Then during the day, you simply cannot close your eyes, no matter what. And what about when your little one is sick and has problems breathing? How difficult is to fall asleep then? After a few days like this, you can hardly recognize yourself in the mirror. You know this is too much for you but at the same time you cannot and do not want to compromise on baby care. You may dream of someone trusted who could take care of the baby the way you do, so that you can take a deep breath, relax your muscles, close your eyes, and be taken away into the Dreamland.
Or concrete support so that you can feel like a woman again?
You never stopped to be a woman and naturally love to take care of your skin, hair or nails. Or to dress nicely and go out shopping. But it may sometimes seem like absolutely unrealistic. How can you do it, when you do not have 2 or 3 straight hours of purely me-time? When going to the bathroom may be a challenge and having shower is a rushed necessity rather than time for yourself? Perhaps you even stopped planning it because all you dream of right now is just more sleep? Time out of home requires good organization and some concrete help from others, who would stay with your kid while you are away. And that calls for even more trust than letting someone look after the baby while you sleep. But perhaps you know you would accept such help, if only someone said to you “Do not worry, I will take care of the baby. Go out and have a good time”.
How about simply the conviction that you are not alone with all that is happening?
The responsibility lying on your shoulders often weighs a lot. Sometimes too much. And if at the same time you cannot get enough sleep, have minimum me-time and, to make things worse, nobody seems to respect your efforts and sacrifice, this can all feel like an absolute life disaster. Have you had this feeling of being in all this completely alone? Mentally and physically stretched so much that you wanted to shout and cry hundreds times louder than your own child? Perhaps in such situations you would dream of someone being just close to you, hug you, kiss and whisper that you are really not alone with that motherhood and that there are people ready to help. How often is it even too hard to believe? When the body and mind are extremely tired, our problems grow and occupy each thought. It is really very hard to see any hope beyond our own pain. But that is what you possibly could dream about…
Or maybe it is something else…
I may be confused and I may not know. Perhaps this is because I did not receive your letter to Santa Clause, where you would describe what you really need. And you know, we men, have trouble reading between the lines. Or perhaps you tend to push these selfish thoughts away, feeling guilty about your demands and needs. Please, do not.
You deserve to be listened, share your feelings and needs. As anybody else in this world. Or perhaps even more than others.
Because you are The Mum.