Anyone else feel like they’re muddling through motherhood (or fatherhood)

Family life

A friend of mine recently became a mum for the first time to the most gorgeous baby twins. I asked her by text how things were going. Now usually when people ask this kind of question, the reply is the obligatory “great, really well, we’re really happy,” etc.

But this is how my friend responded.

“I’d like to say they’ve settled into a routine; allow us plenty of sleep and it’s all a piece of cake… but that would be a lie! Generally though they’re amazing, and despite the fog of sleep deprivation we seem to be muddling through ok!”

Maybe it’s because I’m already a mum, or maybe it’s because I’ve known her a long time, but I felt nothing but admiration for my friend that she felt she could be honest enough to say that as wonderful as new motherhood is, it’s not without its challenges.

The fog of sleep deprivation and trying to fathom out what your baby needs is challenging with one, never mind two. But it’s her phrase ‘muddling through’ that really struck me. Because isn’t that what most of us are doing when it comes to parenthood?

I know I still am – and that’s what I told her. My children are six, four, and two and muddling through is still my best philosophy.

When I became a mum to Little Miss E, almost six and a half years ago, it was the happiest moment of my life. However, I remember wondering how everyone else seemed to instantly know what they were doing when I was so unsure. It’s only in hindsight, I realised that they probably didn’t know either. It’s so easy to look at other parents and think they have it sorted; that you’re the only clueless one. Especially when every random stranger in the supermarket or the park feels the need to tell you what your child needs. “He/she’s cold/hungry/tired/hot,” they say when they hear a baby cry. You begin to doubt your instincts.

There were days in the beginning when I couldn’t even get myself dressed before midday, and my husband would come home from work and wonder why the breakfast things were still on the table. I used to wonder why I was so crap at this parenting thing compared to everyone else. I second guessed everything I did. Was I feeding her too much, or not enough? Was a routine a bad or a good thing? Was she over-stimulated or under? Were her nappies normal? Could you cuddle a baby too much? How many layers should she be wearing? I had never done this before and I had no idea.

But, the more I was honest with my friends, the more I realised that most of us are winging this parenting thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

People quite often presume that because I have three children, and I have both genders, and I write about parenting, that I somehow magically know what I’m doing. Ha! If only! Believe me, I don’t! Granted, I’m a lot more confident third time around and there are things that phased me at the start that don’t worry me now. But I have days, lots of days in fact, when this parenting thing baffles and frustrates me. Each new stage brings fresh new challenges that you’ve not come up against before. Just when you think you’ve cracked a it, your child has a developmental growth spurt and everything changes again.

And if you have more than one child, you’ll soon realise each is different to its siblings and brings its own fresh challenges too.

Although I parent my three children similarly for the most part, sometimes I need to do things completely differently with each of them. What works for one, won’t always work for another. I am continually working this out, growing as a parent as my children grow. Muddling my way through, figuring it out as I go along.

I notice it when readers of my Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page message me with questions about parenting. On toilet training, for example, or a child who doesn’t want to clean their teeth, to give but two recent examples. The very thing that one mum says is her saviour often didn’t work for someone else’s child.

There really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to parenting. Ask other parents, read the books and the parenting forums. Sometimes you just have to go with your instincts and see where it takes you. Try something out and if it doesn’t work, then try something else.

But never be worried that you are muddling through motherhood – because I promise you, the rest of us are too.

04 05 2016 Muddling Through Motherhood

Can you relate? Do you sometimes feel like you are muddling through parenthood? Let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy

For all my posts on parenting, visit the Family Life section of Cardiff Mummy Says.


18 Comments to Anyone else feel like they’re muddling through motherhood (or fatherhood)

  1. Oh this is so true. I definitely feel like I’m muddling through it all – on the rare occasions when I feel like I have things a bit more together, that lasts about a day and then we move into a whole new phase, with whole new challenges and I start all over again. Each time I look back, it seems to have gone OK so that’s the main thing (hopefully that will keep being the case!)

  2. I think I’d be more worries if I didn’t feel like I was muddling through! It is just one big learning curve for all of us – noone has it altogether all the time!

  3. I definitely feel like I’m muddling through, more so since I’ve had my second child. I just seem to get through the day the best I can. My girls are 1 and 3 and people tell me it gets easier, but it’s hard to see that when your living it x

  4. My daughter is now 5. I only have one and most times I still wonder if we’re still doing it right. I guess all parents go through this at one point or another. Yes, I definitely feel like I’m muddling through this whole thing called parenthood. x

  5. Yesssssss! I am pretty much bumbling along, cocking up sporadically and generally hoping that there is enough wine in the world to see me through until they are grown ups, with the ideal that they won’t require too much counselling come the time they leave home…. H x

  6. This is a great post and so true. Well done to your friend cause if I’m honest I used to lie when people asked me with my first how I was doing etc. I learn new things every day and I’m totally winging it lol x

  7. Oh yeah, always muddling through! Second time round I don’t care as much though as I know we’ll figure it out and we@ve managed to keep the first one alive!

  8. I am still muddling through and have been a mum for almost twenty years – with four children aged 19 – 3 years old. Your friend was refreshingly honest. I think there is pressure to be a ‘perfect mum’. Which I am far from! Kaz x

  9. I am most definitely muddling through! Its funny how others see it though as I often have comments about being super mum etc. I mean, yes I have 4 kids and I work but don’t we all do what we do to get through and provide for our families? My little sister recently had her first baby and after a tough birth she has found the introduction to parenthood really hard. I’ve spent many an hour chatting to her and reassuring her thats she’s doing really well (she really is!) and she often tells me she thinks I sail through and she wishes she could be like me… none of us know what we’re doing. And we should be more open about that. I’ve had so many rough days and thats one of the reasons I like to write about them because we can’t have perfect lives. Perfect lives would be boring! I feel a new blog post coming on! xx x

  10. I think we’re all muddling through! None of us are perfect at this, heck you can’t predict what your child will do next to throw you off course. We’re all just doing our best, which is enough 🙂 xx

  11. Any parent who claims not to be muddling through is fibbing! Martha’s 5 days old, Toby’s coming up 22 months and I’m winging every moment of every day, wondering how the heck I’ll wing it when hubby is back at work after paternity leave!!xx

  12. Sarah Ella (Mumx3x)

    Yep I can relate. I feel exactly the same but it’s normal I think. I’m constantly questioning myself but my children all happy and healthy so I must be doing it right 🙂 x

  13. I agree. I remember when I first became a mum 16 years ago (when I was 19) I wondered how all mothers I knew, and saw about on my travels, did it, or did any of it?! – I had a new found respect for all parents in the world that was for sure.

    I can’t quite believe I then went on to have 4! … If the ‘then’ me, saw the ‘now’ me, she’d think I was a superwoman.. (and that’s basically because I am!)

    I think we grow into the role of Mother or Father. and like anything its a craft that you work on and develop as the years role by,. It teaches you great patience and understanding too … not to mention the fine art of ‘muddling’! … these days I can ‘muddle’ till the cows come home!
    lovely, thought provoking post.
    (And my god, I may have 4 of my own but I hold my hands up to parents of twins – well done to that friend of yours!)
    Anna x

  14. I always feel like I am muddling through! I have 3 kids, including a set of twins and I look back and feel the first 5 years of their life was a blur, and that we just did what we had to do to get through and make things easier for ourselves. However everyone was happy!

  15. gymbunnymummy

    Oh gosh yeah, I’m muddling through. My littlest man has Autism so I’m completely learning new parenting rules!

  16. Oh, my God! Everyone does, I’m sure. But it’s amazing how little any expects how hard it is going to be. I spent weeks just staring at the little one in his cot, months pushing him around in his buggy, before I started getting used to my new normality.

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