It’s a terrifying thing to admit to yourself that you’re unhappy. And it’s even more terrifying when you realise that it is almost entirely your own fault.
I’ve been unhappy for a really long time now, and I’ve blamed every person and every circumstance under the sun for it, when all this time I have had more control over my situation than what I ever thought I did.
For the last 5(ish) years, I can now openly, but more importantly, confidently say that mentally, I’ve been pretty messed up. And I can also openly and confidently say that, being a mum is fucking hard. And it’s fucking lonely. I don’t care if technically you have a tiny adorable spawn of satan attached to your leg for anywhere up to 24 hours a day, it’s still the loneliest time of a women’s life. Well, it has been for me anyway.
I completely get that I am not the rule, but I’m also not the exeption to the rule. I get that when the “My first pregnancy/baby” picture is painted, it’s generally not painted by a 19 year old girl who had a little too much fun at a music festival back in 2012. (Thanks Groovin’) but I also know that there are many others the same age, younger, heck, even older and that have their shit together way more than me, that would have to have felt the same loneliness and occasional lows that I had felt. It wasn’t until a week or so ago, I met and got chatting to a few other young, gorgeous, amazing mum’s, and they shared with me their stories of motherhood. Of postnatal depression, of money struggles, of unsupportive friends, of self doubt. You name it, we talked about it. And honestly, it was so freeing. I’ve spent the last few years feeling these things almost entirely alone, whilst being most of the time surrounded by people. Usually, I’m an open book, but motherhood is something that honestly sends me crazy with silence. It’s so hard not to sound unthankful, and to not sound full of regrets. Which isn’t at all the case, but it’s impossible to say ‘I don’t enjoy motherhood as much as I wish I did’ without somebody hearing it as ‘I wish I never had my kid’ which, is bullshit!
So, ya know what? I, Hayley Jenna DeAraugo/Williams, have not enjoyed parenthood as much as I wish I did. Taaa daaaa, free!
I’ve had days that I literally can not get out of bed, days where Charlie has had to hit my over the head with a loaf of bread and tell me she is hungry, because I simply just couldn’t get out of bed, out of the spiral of sadness that I occasionally ended up in. I have also had days, where I am so filled with love and pride that I couldn’t imagine my life any other way than what it is. since becoming a mum at the ripe young age of 20, there has been more hard days than easy ones. But also more love than I ever knew possible.
I’m in two minds about so many things at the moment, now that I am 24 and have a 4 year old. I have friends that are meeting the loves of their lives, getting engaged, married, going on the best freaking adventures in the world, and starting to think about having, or are having babies. And some of these things (mostly the adventures, tbh) I am so jealous of! I remember getting engaged like it was yesterday, and I remember exactly how I felt. I remember not having an engagement party because I was too embarrassed that people would assume that Josh had only asked me to marry him because he had accidentally gotten me pregnant. Which I guess is a tiny bit true, hahaha, but due to where I was mentally at that time, I was unable to enjoy what should have been one of the best times of my life. I thought I was being judged ALL THE TIME. Before I was engaged, I used to wear a vile Diva ring on my ring finger while I was shopping or at work, because I didn’t want people looking at me like a trashy teen mum. I thought a ring made me more worthy as a mother, as a person. Which it totally doesn’t btwz.
But now, I’m a guest at an engagement party or wedding almost every weekend, and to see that love honestly just makes my heart want to burst! I am so sad that I didn’t have that. That I thought I didn’t deserve that. I thought that I was done, a lost cause that was going to end up alone, that I had made the deiscion to have a baby and in the process, ruined some bodies life and trapped him into ‘loving’ me. So not the case, but as a terrified 19 year old I kind of got lost in my thoughts. I have one photo of myself pregnant, that’s it. I hated myself so much it still makes my skin crawl, I thought I was fat, disgusting and had absolutely no confidence. Usually I know I’m pretty great and a total hot bitch! But not pregnant. Pregnant I hated myself, would hardly leave the house unless it was to go to work, and I would watch teen mom on tv and cry my eyes out and wonder what the fuck I was doing. That was how I spent 9 months waiting for my little cherub to get here. And still, that breaks my fucking heart. I didn’t deserve that, Charlotte didn’t deserve that, and I have literally scarred myself into never, ever wanting to be pregnant again. I never want to feel how I’ve spent the last few years feeling, ever again.
And once you become a mum, friends honestly seem to vanish. When I was 19, I was literally drunk at least 4 days a week, always surrounded by people and thought that meant they were all my friends. When you have a baby, people flock to you. They’re like tiny cuddle magnets that people go crazy for, for about a minute. You see, the thing is, once you have a baby, shit changes. Duhhhhh. Sorry but no, I can’t still go out 4 nights a week. You know, the whole having a kid that sucks on your tit to stay alive thing really limits how much you can drink and how much time away from said kid you can really spend. I had Charlotte four months before I turned twenty one, so naturally all of my friends were also turning twenty one. And I missed them all. Bad friend? Potentially. But honestly, i was pretty fucking busy. I remember one of the only parties I went to in that first year, Charlotte was probably about six months old, was at her nanny’s house, and I was having a couple of drinks. I felt pretty good, was having fun. And annoyingly, it wasn’t even my friends birthday haha, it was josh’s high school friend, and I was a plus one. What I’m about to tell you would have never happened if it was one of my own friends. But, that night, the night that I had finally mustered the energy to feel a tiny bit like my old self, to express enough milk to leave my baby for a few hours, to feel confident enough to do it, someone who I, at the time, thought of as a friend said to me “what are you doing here? you should be at home, you’re a terrible mother. my gf is a way better mum than you and my kid is way better” maybe not in so many words. But that was the message that still sticks in my head. So, as a kid myself, that had been struggling a bit with my post partum mental health, lost the fucking plot. I decided right then and there, that I did not want this person that could say such an awful thing to me in my life, or anybody else that didn’t treat me how I deserved to be treated. So basically, I cut my circle in half. I’ve always suffered from pretty crippling anxiety about whether or not people liked me, I used to sleep with basically anybody that gave me the tiniest bit of attention and or had tattoos, because I wanted somebody to like me so badly. I always sort of lost myself in crowds or meeting new people, because I was so scared of people not liking me. But basically, it took having a kid to realise that I did not want to pass on those qualities to her, I wanted to raise the most happy, confident, amazing kid, and in order to do that I had to start practising what I preach. So, that was it. Anybody that didn’t put my kid first, or understand why I was so flaky on plans that first year, was out! And that added dramaticly to this ongoing loneliness. But, best choice I ever mad. Quality over quantity, people.
I already know exactly what I want for Charlotte’s life, and I can honestly say I hope it is nothing like my own. I want to give her the attitude to know that she deserves nothing but the best. I don’t want her to crumble at boys feet, desperate to be liked, like I used to. I want her to travel, god how I want her to travel. I want to travel with her. I want her to have a job, more skilful and special than my own. I hate telling somebody that I am a twenty four year old, part time waitress. Honestly, I know that I am destined for more than that, and I hope and hope and hope that I teach Charlotte to recognise that she is too. My mum had my brother when she was twenty, and me when she was twenty three. I remember her saying the exact same thing to me, that she wanted me to have more. Not in the sense that her, or my own, life has been unforfilled, we both ended up with the end goal, that everyone else is longing for at the moment, but we both missed out on a chapter. The chapter where you do the cool shit, date fuckheads that are awful, see the world, find yourself. So, by missing out of the but where I was supposed to find myself, I have kind of missed out on knowing who the hell I am. It’s an awful feeling not knowing your identity, because even though it’s what I’ve spent the last few years doing, being a mother doesn’t count as who you are. Obviously, people are going to disagree with me on that. And some people are totally happy to do the stay at home mum thing, call themselves mummy in third person and somehow manage to enjoy every second of it. But I can’t. I need more. I lasted two months on maternity leave before I had to get back behind that coffee machine. Making pretty pictures with milk on top of a deliscious little shot of liquid gold is something that I love to do, something I’m pretty bloody good at, but mostly something I had to get back to doing, ASAP. An adult conversation is something that you take for granted until you spend all day at home, smelling like off milk, which sometimes after work I end up smelling like anyway, with nobody to talk to but an adorable little ball of chubbiness that can’t talk back to you. It drove me bonkers. Bat shit crazy.
So now, I work more. Staying at home was honestly making me hate life, hate myself and hate Josh for getting to clock out for ten hours a day. Seriously, in my next life I’m being a dad instead of a mum, waaaaay easier! I’m a bit happier, I’ve made friends through work that I love more than anything! And that twenty hours a week, I can go to work, and even if half the time it’s my fake as balls customer service smile, it’s still a smile. At work, I smile! It’s not a job I love, but I like it and am so happy to do it. Part of me is still counting down the seconds until Charlie can go to school and I can go back to slayin’ ‘spresso shots on the reg, but for now, I’m happier working as a part time waitress than what I was as a full time stay at home mum. Hats off to the women who can do it, because I sure as hell couldnt.
I also read a book on my long long long trip back to happy, and I haven’t read a book since primary school. Like a Queen by Constance Hall, the absolute fucking genius, honestly that book saved me. She’s the modern day Ghandi for mums. Read the fucking book.
One of my biggest struggles has been with my husband, Josh. Jesus the poor lad has a train wreck for a wife! The thing I struggle with is, if I feel this shit and hate myself this much, how could you possibly not hate me too? How can you love a person that doesn’t love themselves? He does, somehow. I think! But it’s unfair on him for me to stay this unhappy. Something had to change, and step one of that change, was writing this. Not for anybody to read it, but for me to write it. Get some of that shit storm out of my head. I think it’s kind of worked, I do feel a bit better, a bit happier. Which is the end goal. To be happy, and whatever the flip I have to do to get there will be written about. This is Hayley, and her trip back to happy.