We're extreme mothering right now - we deserve that scented candle

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"I don't deserve a beautiful Mother's Day this year," my colleague Jane wrote in a piece earlier this week. "Lockdown has made me insufferable."

The mama-of-two continued: "I've been a terrible mother in lockdown. "Snappy, scratchy, inattentive, possibly sobbing. 'Mummy's busy' has been a constant catch-cry, and bedtimes have been awful."

She's not alone.

While many of us have appreciated the slower place of self-isolation, for the majority of mums, the last few months have been an absolute sh*t show.

We're exhausted. We're grumpy. We're growing extra eyebrows and sprouting grey hairs on the daily. We're more stressed than we've been in months or years - perhaps ever.

We are homeschooling kids who miss their friends, kids who are clingy and anxious or bouncing off the walls.

We're walking the tightrope of "Oh dear God this is all too freaking hard. Who needs maths? I still don't know my times tables. They'll be FINE. Just RELAX.". And the guilt and worry our children will fall behind. 

We're juggling our own jobs from home and trying not to yell at our partners' too-loud Zoom meetings.

We're doing it all while single-parenting. 

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We're giving birth IN A PANDEMIC, with only one support person by our side and no visits from friends and family. 

We're watching yet another episode of Bluey with the toddler while bouncing a crying baby on our hips in an apartment that feels smaller by the day.

We're deciphering the will-they-won't-they-can-we-can't-we of guidelines and rules and recommendations. 

We're dealing with job losses, financial stress and the ongoing uncertainty of what life will look like on the other side.

We're grieving miscarriages without our villages to wrap around us and coping with IVF delays. 

We're dropping into a commando crawl in front of our kids' online extra-curricular Zoom classes to get to the fridge for wine (maybe that's just me).

We had minimal time for that ever elusive "self-care" before the coronavirus and now it's non-existent. 

We were burnt out already and now our brains are so crisp around the edges it's impossible to think straight. 

We are extreme mothering, mumming at an Olympic level without the training, dietician, and sports psychologist cheering us on. And no gold medal or ticker-tape parade. 

We're limping to the finish line of iso, some mums still nursing the fresh trauma of the bushfire season. 

If you've read any of the emails flooding your inbox recently, you'll know we're living in "unprecedented times,"  "uncertain times", "strange times". There's no rule book for parenting in a pandemic. We're making this up as we go. And it's other-level exhausting.

We don't feel like our best selves at the moment - and that's exactly why we need to be taken care of. There's never been a more important time to celebrate the sheer grit and strength of becoming and being a mother, of the grief and pleasure, the highs, the lows and the love - all that love. 

So to my dear colleague, Jane, and to anyone else who doesn't feel worthy of a special Mother's Day this year: my darlings you absolutely do.

We deserve a scented candle, a coffee in bed and a handwritten card - at the very least.

We've earned it.

You've earned it.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day, Mama.