How many of us have said that just after having a baby and not meant it at all? Two simple little words, one very big fat lie.
This week Cardi B revealed she has decided not to go on tour with Bruno Mars six weeks after the birth of her daughter. In a candid statement on Instagram, she wrote: “I think I underestimated this whole mommy thing.”
When I read it I didn’t feel sorry for her, I didn’t think “ooh, she’s not doing the working mama movement any favours”. Nope, I thought “good on you lovely”!
I was guilty of pushing myself too far in the first six weeks of motherhood. I expected to slip into it naturally and to just feel right at home in my new role.
Instead I was utterly overwhelmed, couldn’t get to grips with breastfeeding, and as a result spent many weeks expressing and feeling horrendously guilty, and knackered.
But it’s not something that I cared to admit to the world at large. I didn’t want to say “fuck me this is absolutely awful” on Facebook.
I did what we all do. I posted cute pictures of my baby and wrote about how in love with her I was. Which was totally true, but I omitted the truth about how difficult I was finding it to adjust.
My eldest was actually a really good sleeper from an early age. Despite this, I worried over her daytime routine and panicked if anything set it off track. I feared that just one day away from the routine would screw up her sleep for life.
Even when I returned to work after one year of maternity leave, I didn’t really feel ready. Life had changed so dramatically, and I still hadn’t figured out what the hell I was doing.
In truth, I would say I didn’t settle into my new mummy role until around 18 months in when I was heavily pregnant with baby number two and finally relaxed the routine a little. I at last allowed myself to go with the flow, rather than sitting on the edge of my seat all of the time.
It would have been easy for Cardi B to simply cite that old classic “personal reasons” in a bland statement about her decision to pull out of a very important tour.
But she didn’t. She explained she wasn’t physically up to the demands of being on the road and performing, and that she couldn’t face leaving her baby behind.
In a world where so many headlines praise new mums for their “stunning post-baby body” and there is so much pressure to “get back to normal” after giving birth, it’s incredibly refreshing to see someone with such influence saying: “I’m just not ready yet.”
So that’s why I think we could all do with taking a leaf out of Cardi B’s book of honesty.
It’s OK to admit that you are not loving motherhood all of the time.
It’s OK to admit that it’s harder than you thought.
It’s OK to admit you’re not sure you know what you’re doing.
It’s OK to admit you’re not ready to go back to work.
It’s OK to admit you need a little extra help.
It’s more than OK to tell people you underestimated this while mummy thing.