Being a Mum Can Be Bad For Your Health
The woman in front of me looked stressed, her eyes glanced from the pile of eighty five gram tins of tuna she had piled onto the conveyor belt, past me to grocery aisle behind us. She was careful not to look me in the eye, as is if there was some unknown shame she was trying to hide. Along with the tuna there were other tell tale signs, a three litre container of milk, a twelve pack of jam filled donuts attractively package in a cellophane covered white cardboard box and a jar of no name peanut butter, this woman was a mother.
Now, let me tell you, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I too am a mum. Her face told the whole story, it was nearly five o’clock, she was still at the shops and she hadn’t prepared tea. Oh the panic attack of it all. I remember those days, the anxiety I suffered if I was still at the shops at that time was intense. As mothers we often placed huge expectations on ourselves. If we don’t get it right our kids will be failures. If we’re late for one dinner everything will come tumbling down. Aaarrgh!
“Have you forgotten something, do you want to go a and get it, I can wait?” I could see her mind ticking off all the things she should have grabbed. It was no skin off my nose I had all the time in the world. I live alone, my children have grown and left home. What’s more I am finally cured of that awful panic, but it took a long time.
“No that’s okay, it can wait” she said but her eyes still held that haunted look.
“Your worried about getting home aren’t you?” I couldn’t help myself.
“yes” she said hesitantly, embarrassed at the thought that her secret was revealed.
“I know that look, your worried that the kids are at home and nothing is done? I remember feeling the same way” As soon as I spoke I could see her physically relax, amazed that someone knew how she felt.
In nursing homes they have a term for dementia patients who go a bit loopy at the end of the day. They call them sundowners. The funny thing is it is often women and it happens at that time of the day when everything gets crazy, kids come home, your trying to cook, there’s homework and fighting, very busy. Those poor old women are probably suffering post traumatic stress syndrome simply because they to were mothers.
I turned to this mum and told her the best advice I could give her.
“I have one thing to tell you, don’t stress, they will survive. If they have to have a can of tuna and a glass of milk for tea, it’s not going to kill them. Just don’t stress.”