The January Lament of mothers everywhere

I started my day at 3.30am this morning. I woke with Maggie calling out, wanting to go to the bathroom and while I hopped straight back into bed and willed myself back to sleep my mind had already started.

“She’s going to freak out at drop off today.”
“I’m going to have to be brave and strong and pretend it’s OK.”
“I wonder how long this will go for? Please let her not be another Harper.”

And then I started thinking about work, about the hustle of having your own business, of bills that are coming up like electricity and rates and school fees.

Needless to say when sleep had still not arrived at 5am I turned my light on and read while I could hear the soft breathing of Rob next to me and a quiet house. Just me and my worries awake in the early morning light.

I’ve been thinking a lot about January and what a tough month it can be for so many of us. There’s such a FULL ON end to the year, exhaustion, Christmas planning, packing for going away, dealing with visitors and lots of extra social things, exhausted children…and you limp to Christmas. And then there is that magical time between Christmas and new years where normal life stops and time seems to pause for a little while. You might get to read more, maybe get a day time nap if you are lucky, set some goals and intentions and then all of a sudden we are shot back into reality with endless school holidays and work starting up, juggling kids and work and then back to school stuff. Not to mention feeling bad about things that were no resolved last year and already new year intentions falling to the wayside. We are back on the wheel and we sure as shit know what’s ahead of us all:

Cleaning, managing houses and cooking every fucking night. School stuff, the mental load, the emotional load, driving around, notes to be filled out, birthdays to be remembered as we do the diary transfer, bills to be paid and things to be saved for. It’s game ON and didn’t we just do all this?

Then there is the added anxiety that can come with going back to school. When things are new, no friends for our kids, worries and anxieties for some of our kids back to the front of our minds and our hearts. It’s such an adjustment for us all. And did I mention it’s been so bloody hot?

I swear January causes plenty of stress for so many Mums, I know it does for me.

I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this photo from a friend of mine Brooke (ex Show and Tell) who showed her friend who works for Microsoft in Washington taking a picture in the female bathroom at her work. Attached to the mirror are post it notes from other women with messages for the people looking at themselves. I love it so much.

I swear I have given my best life advice in the line for the bathroom over the years – especially when I have had 5 drinks. I swear I am like the biggest cheerleader EVER for everyone. “You look AMAZING Girlfriend!” And have recommended many a breakup from young sad girls crying over some dickhead.

Women can be real moles to each other some times. Thankfully for me I have little of this happen in real life but have had buy fair share online from people who I doubt would say the same shit to your face. But I think that we can also be our best cheerleaders and heroes ever. Because chances are, we have all been through the same thing before – whatever it is – and are always there to reassure each other. I am so lucky with the messages I get from all you lovely people all the time.

But I figured that some of us might be having a tricky time with shitty January Schmanuary and could use a virtual post it note for us all to read. Do you have a problem or something you are worried about? Share it here and let us all help each other out. A reassurance of “this is going to be OK. Trust me.” A big sister shout out to make you feel better.

So let’s pretend we are all in the line of the bathroom, having a chat and boosting each other up ok?

Share your woe, your 3am whale, your coming up next week when school starts worry and we will all try and calm our collective tits together. Are you with me?

Go!

Comments

  1. I can relate 100%. I left the end of last year feeling that everyone else in the family had achieved something (new job, successful start to high school, ballet solos etc)…. except me. I’m normally more optimistic about the new year… but I had nothing this year.
    I will say to you BabyMac, with one starting high school and one starting preschool it’s perfectly normal to be feeling unsure about the start of the year. I couldn’t settle until
    about a month into the school year with my son starting. And I just wish you the complete opposite of when my daughter started preschool. No one else needs to go through that🤣. Good luck

  2. I don’t feel like I can write my worries here because there is no fast fix & I will just cry (I’ve already cried once this morning & twice yesterday). I tell myself that things will be ok, my people will be ok because if I don’t myslelf that I will break forever. I always head into January with SUCH hope but so far it’s fucked. One huge problem with many smaller problems on top. I tell myself I am lucky, that things could be much much worse but carry constant worry with you is hard, tiring work. BUT. I will never stop hoping that things will get better, that one day I’ll look back of these very hard times & be proud we made it through.
    And Beth, I don’t get time to comment here much any more & im not on Insta right now either but just know I’m always reading & appreciative of the words you share xx

  3. Bliss Jones says:

    Beth you are beautiful and so real 🥰 wow when you say shit I totally get it ! I love how you ( who I actually think is more like Mary Poppins in that your practically perfect in every way) put your hand up in this fake world and say hey my life isn’t perfect! But don’t feel sorry for me , I want to hear your story too! Love you girl and You got this😘😘😘 and you made me cry 😘

  4. I am feeling the January Schmanuary’s too, I think it’s added that this year we’re back farming which means a few things, first of all there’s no magical time between Christmas and New Year…there’s no holidays in Summer for us, forever?! We were loading lambs on Christmas Day and chasing irrigators until midnight on NYE. Also of course the added financial pressure this year brings, so many 3am whales. I am also up at 3am wondering about schools for the girls, we are yet to make that decision and it’s weighing on my mind, I wish it were cut and dry, but it’s not. I’m in that zone you were a few years ago, seeing everyone grow their wings and take off out of babyland with careers and relationships and big kid stuff, pushing toddlers off to pre-kinder and waving good-bye to nappies…and there’s that zone above your head you wave at with the pixie dust. Smags has talked to me about it too. It’s just there. Hmmm… so many 3am whales. I am fluent in whale song.

    • So many of us are. Sometimes it’s best not to think so much, listen to your heart and do what it wants. The rest will work out, I’m certain of it. Well I bloody hope so at least or I am SCREWED!

  5. My kids are all grown and doing well with their own families – a blessing I know! Hubby and I still get on well after 39 years – another blessing I know! But I feel I’m still on a treadmill I work two days a week , we run a business from home, I do a little bit of grandchildren babysitting , run my 85 year old mum around, we haven’t had good rain here in SA for I can’t remember when I watered all through winter. So feel I have always got something do outside so my gatden looks presentable. I’m always cleaning…how can 2 people make a house so dirty, and my standard isn’t even perfect. How can I get off the treadmill? Elise

    • Try to mix it up and do something in that treadmill weekly routine for YOU. Build it in. Be creative. Do something that makes your heart sing and make time for it. Hard I know – something I will be trying this year too. Good luck! x

  6. This is a particularly hard year according to the astrologer/numerology types. We are going into year 1 of a 7 yr cycle so there is a lot of letting go to do and then a lot of new beginnings. Be patient and gentle with yourself and others and let the intentions of the year come to you. If you can find a moment to clear your mind ask your higher self (or your inner voice, intuition or whatever you call it) for a word. Set an intention for yourself to guide you this year. My word this year is SHINE. And my intention is to let my light shine and to allow and support others to shine their light too.

  7. The day our son started Prep we had to pretty much drop and run because I had to get to hospital to have my second chemo infusion. My husband had to drive me because the day after my first chemo infusion I crashed my car into a fence.

    Our son survived, and so did I.

    Six years later and he starts his final year of primary school next year, and I was pronounced cured last year and discharged by my oncologist.

    He doesn’t remember his first day of school. Seriously, does not remember it. It was more than half his life ago, just a day, no big deal. Why would he remember it, know who was there or who wasn’t?

    So all the worry and the stress and the guilt and the fear, it was all completely pointless.

    Life lesson. Don’t make a big deal about things that aren’t a big deal. Save your energy for the things that are a big deal like hugs and laughter and getting 10 year old boys to wear deodorant.

  8. I hear ya.
    You are the only “mummy blogger” (hate that term) that I follow. I tried a few others, but I usually found they had a bit of spite to them. I noticed their b*&chy comments on other blogs/pages, the snideness of the comments, that rude little edge or underhanded jibe. Of course, it wasn’t all the time… but it happens, and I notice.
    But not on Babymac. You’ve always held your head high in the internet sandpit. The nice chick, the honest one, the genuinely supportive virtual “friend” that I’d love to have a cup of tea with one day.

  9. MIL died on Christmas Day, husbands birthday NYD, funeral 2 days ago followed by a service yesterday – enjoy what you can xxx

  10. Wow. Very busy world for you Beth. I can definitely picture it all unfolding, hour by hour. Children are automatically needy. Got to always be ready. Thinking back as a kid, our parents did not really have similar experiences as with today’s parenting. No one catered to the kids. We never had “blankies” or special things as today’s kiddies do. Mostly, mom raised us all the same! Ha. Not too great. Who really knew? Parenting is different today. My niece has 3 + 1 on the way. Her sister-in-laws all have at least 5! One lady just had bebe #6!! I think this mama will try for more! Not for me. Obviously, some folks crave BIG families! Worries and all. I suppose best thing ,,,,, just enjoy your precious children. As they say, kids do grow up!

  11. There you go reading my mind again. January is hitting me hard this week. So many news. New state. New house. New school. Eldest starting high school. No friends. Don’t know anyone. Wondering WTF we’ve done. As for you. I agree with the comments above. You’re a gem Beth. A real rare bird. Sending lots of love.
    PS and remember you feel this way evvvvery Jan and you’re always ok xx

    • Where have you moved to love? You’ve ticked most of Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. Would love to help you settle.

      • Thank you. That is very kind. We’ve move to the SunshineCoast just south of Noosa. It’s very beautiful but my family and friends are in Melbourne

    • Have been thinking of you guys a LOT. It will work out Gail, it just will. Like I have been telling my girls of all these big changes it’s just new, it will get better x

  12. Susan Beauchamp says:

    I agree with what you’re saying. For us Christmas/New year was a rush. Hubby had a few days off, worked for 2 weeks then is off again for the next couple of weeks. Spending time with our 15 year old son is good but he wants to do a lot of his own thing. We are excited for him as he wants to get casual work and learn to drive when he turns 16 so this is a big year for him. I turn 50 later this year and am sorting out a few health problems but have started the New Year with a positive attitude. It’s blogs like yours that keep it real and supportive of us women. Hope it all settles down for you soon.

  13. I am making my daughter change schools for Yr 11 and 12 and not just schools, states too. She’s going from Qld at a school she’s been at since Prep to WA. It’s for a lot of reasons but basically her Dad and I broke up a couple of years ago. I moved to WA last year for work, expecting she’d come with me but she stayed. Her Dad’s now put up his hand and said he can’t do it, again for lots of reasons. She hates us both. I know I’m doing the right thing to provide her a stable and safe home but I feel like total shit right now. January Schmanuary is right! Help and encouraging words welcome 😊

  14. Beth I am so glad that you always just write with such honesty it is like you read our collective minds. So many 3am whale songs that do not put me back to sleep. The trouble is my soul just still feels so weary from 2018, it does not know if it can stand up to the anticipated battles of major spinal surgery for my son potentially this year. Good to know that others will keep cheering the women around them on.

  15. I was just speaking to my daughter this morning about our extremely cold weather here in the Chicagoland area. We’re at -6 here. We were talking about those cold mornings during high school days when my son would wake up and not want to go to school. What hard mornings they were. I realized it was only about 8 years ago but feels like a million. I’m sure you’ve heard it before but all the running around and kid stress almost disappears overnight when they grow up. Next time it wakes you up embrace it because one day you’ll be an empty nester and the quiet of the house and life will be what keeps you awake. Your post brought back memories of my mommy time. Those were some tough days but now they are fond memories.
    What a wonderful environment in that Microsoft bathroom. If it happened in my company the women would complain that they can’t see in the mirror. I sometimes feel like I live a daily does of whack-a-mole!

  16. Amen! Beth, you have nailed the formula of why this time of year here in Australia is so incredibly hard-exhausting-challenging-cranky-frustrating-futile. My early wake up has me marvelling at just where the hell the last two months have gone and what the hell I have done with them? Feels like a Big Fat Nothing yet I am completely drained and counting the hours til school returns! Ladies – we’ve got this. Please don’t ever underestimate our incredible strength and amazing ability to power the world – one load of washing / meal / hug / bedtime story / eyeroll ignoring / phone call / school drop off / errand / smile at a time…Big breath : smile through gritted teeth if need be : say a genuine thank you for whatever blessing or disaster is in your current daily round : keep it as simple as you can and just keep moving f o r w a r d ever so infinitesimally slowly. The Sisterhood is right behind you applauding you every millimetre of the way.

  17. You read my mind. My youngest start Year 7 at a new school where only 3 of her friends are going after having most of the school holidays in a cast after breaking her arm that required surgery just before the school holidays. She missed her grade 6 graduation due to the injury.
    Last year was not an easy one for my eldest daughter either. She changed schools in Term 4 after being bullied for most of the year. On the bright side she loved her new school and can’t wait to go back.
    After an appointment for my youngest daughter with the orthopaedic surgeon we were driving the 2 hours back and she started asking questions about year 7 and telling me her worries then the tears came. Every year she feels anxious about going to school but this time starting at a new school has got her even more anxious. I know she will be fine as she always is but me going back to work full time after school holidays and knowing what that requires has me feeling January Schmanuary!!!!

    • Oh Kate there is nothing harder than when your kids are feeling some kind of pain or angst – we feel it 10 times over. Good luck this year x

  18. Thank you Beth and all your lovely commenters. Life just feels easier when you’re part of a tribe
    Cheers Kate

    • One thing I know after 12 years of this business is that we are NEVER alone. Always feeling the same stuff – the joys and frustrations and aren’t we lucky in this day and age to be able to connect this way? I think so! x

  19. When I was at uni (waaaay back in the day) there was a big scrawl of graffiti in the girls toilets that read ‘fingers down the throat of love’. Obviously you could read a few different meanings into that but I always chose to believe it meant something along the lines of ‘you are enough’.

  20. I’m a miserable cow at the moment! And probably have been deep down since early December!
    I moved to Australia exactly 14 years ago this week from the UK. It’s just me and the OH and our two kids (6 & 10) down here and this time of year just sucks! Everyone with there family and friends, enjoying the celebrations together, and I admit I’m jealous!
    It makes me feel lonely, which is a bit weird, as I’m not really alone.
    It was just the four of us at Christmas, which was lovely in its own way, but when I heard about other friends having lovely fun celebrations it makes me a bit sad.
    I wouldn’t change our decision to move here, I love Australia but it does hurt sometimes.
    We have friends here, but everyone has there own busy lives and I’ve never been able to find a girl friend that you could just call up and just have a good natter to, or catch up for bubbles!

    • I hope you find that friend Al – they are worth their weight in gold. When we moved here and knew no one I took up every opportunity I could even if it was something I would never normally do because I just never knew when I would meet that friend. And I sure did. Hope things are feeling a little better soon x

  21. and then when all those worries start to disappear over the years, they up and leave! One left this week to study interstate, two to the City to Uni. (don’t ever have 3 in 3 years). Must be so peaceful they say, time to start your new life they say. Is that how people feel, because all I feel is an incredible sadness. I walk past 3 clean bedrooms and remember all the times I yelled to pick up wet towels/ rotting fruit/football socks and I sit on their beds and wish I could have it all back. Do any other empty nesters feel this way? I guess like most things you will get used to it, but right now it feels like one big loss.

    • I’m not quite there entirely but almost and I totally feel this about empty bedrooms. We were sooo desperate for that spare/free time and when it comes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I said I’m going to start a help group for nearly empty nesters cos BAM – it just gets you straight in the feels and it is entirely not ok and then you feel guilty cos all we wanted was to bring them up to go and be fully functioning adults and then go and do exactly that and I feel redundant!

    • Louise I know so many people that would feel this way – you are definitely not alone. It breaks my heart! Be kind to yourself xxx

  22. I’m really feeling this post. I feel like I haven’t caught my breath from 2018 and I’m about to roll into a years worth of school/kinder/5 kids worth of activities starting and I’m still waiting for the holiday to start.
    The kids and everyone near me seem never satisfied with my efforts, I could give them the moon and they will still be saying “can someone come over for a sleepover?/what’s for lunch/you never buy me/let me do anything”.
    I feel like I’m drinking just that little bit more to help get me through and I know that wouldn’t be helping my 2am whale song and I feel like I’m on a very slippery edge.
    I have plenty to be grateful for, but I’m struggling to get out of the rut.

    • I was reading through the comments thinking I’m lucky to not have January Schmanuary, but what I do have is a short memory, ridiculously short. When I got to your reply my throat tightened. The endless barrage of kids wanting more & what they’ve been given isn’t enough. I think I’ll go back to forgetting their requests and holiday of disappointment which I’ve been told are the ‘worst holidays ever’ on numerous occasions.

      And to Beth – the photo of you staring into the camera is beautifully captivating. One of those photos that is like a painting where it captures the emotion and illicits a response.

    • It’s just the end of the holidays…you will get your groove back for sure! Feb fast is always a good idea too! I should be doing it again this year…x

  23. Trying to work full time, help run our family business and take care of our two kids – no childcare all summer long and I am really REALLY over taking kids to the office with me and having not an inch of space in weeks. School goes back on the 4th of Feb, just in time for work to get really serious. It is relentless.

    • It’s so hard – good luck next week. Hope you get some time to breathe before you throw yourself into work. Not likely I know but good luck!

  24. Emma Ellis says:

    Daughter one is practicing hard to be the fourteen year old she will officially become next month 🤬. Daughter 2 is still very much a little girl in all senses and regularly saves our sanity. I reached across to hug her and felt the little hard lump that has formed under her areola. It wasn’t there last week. Made me tear up. And I now have the irrefutable proof that she is starting on this journey. I already miss her 😭.

  25. My eldest (baby) has just moved out and started a traineeship, after 18 years or having her around nearly every day and even though I still have a 10 year old and 7 year old at home, my nest already feels as though there’s a big hole in it. Admittedly there is some relief in having one less person to wash, cook etc for it is a little lonelier and it’s only been a week and a half! I’m feeling a little anxious about my routine days kicking into play as this is the first year I will do it all without her and I don’t think I’ll truly know how much she helped me with the other children and with venting my frustrations and celebrating successes until she’s not there to do so. I know there’s the phone but it’s not the same. So I am definitely excited for her adventures ahead but at the same time feel overwhelmed by it all. They are not kidding when they say they grow up quickly!

  26. I am living in an alternative universe at the moment cos my sons friend was the Northern Beaches boy who so tragically lost his life – and it looks like exactly that – a very tragic accident. Some of his mates and his brother were the ones that found him and NOTHING makes any sense and life goes on for us all and I just can’t even breathe sometimes and I have no words. I am at work and I don’t even know why….

  27. Anon for this... says:

    I am living in an alternative universe at the moment cos my sons friend was the Northern Beaches boy who so tragically lost his life – and it looks like exactly that – a very tragic accident. Some of his mates and his brother were the ones that found him and NOTHING makes any sense and life goes on for us all and I just can’t even breathe sometimes and I have no words. I am at work and I don’t even know why….

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