This is for you. The woman who made a choice in her early twenties that no longer fits, but you feel that you can’t change it without attracting criticism for being weak, and that you should be happy with your lot in life.
This is for you. The woman who bumped her car into a post this morning and had to dodge the “female driver” comments thrown in your direction whilst you were trying to get help.
This is for you. The woman who has chosen not to have children. The high flying career that you accidently fell into was not a case of an “instead”. It was unexpected but either way you made your decision based on your preferences and you’re quietly fed up of the commentary that goes along with your choice and comes from semi-strangers. You’re waiting for the days to pass until people start to assume that you have grown up children or that you left it too late.
This is for you. The woman bent double over laundry every day of the week, packing seven lunches for your husband and children but making a banana last you all day as you count the pennies left over after your grocery shop.
This is for you. The woman desperately trying to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans two days after giving birth so that when your visitors turn up they won’t pass comment on your size, even though you have spent the past nine months feeling sick and sore.
This is for you. The woman who cries silently at the end of the day because life isn’t quite what you expected but you have to put your brave face on every morning and pretend not to mind.
This is for you. The woman who feels as though she is the second choice. You’re not. Don’t put yourself there.
This is for you. The woman with an invisible illness that other people think is nothing more than you being dramatic or a hypochondriac.
This is for you. The woman who was raped and somehow it became your fault for wearing a nice dress and applying makeup before you went out.
This is for you. The woman who gets passed over for promotion because you’re in your early thirties and you must be due to start a family any day now and your female boss can’t stand the idea of covering your non-existent maternity leave.
This is for you, the woman who had to leave her crying baby at nursery when they were just a few weeks old in order to go back to work and prove to her male colleagues that she was up to the job.
This is for you. The woman who is expected to do all the cooking and cleaning whilst your partner takes a nap on the sofa.
This is for you. The woman who becomes pregnant unexpectedly and is accused of trying to ‘trap’ her man.
This is for you. The woman who falls in love with another woman and is subject to behind-her-back comments about what must have happened with a man to have ‘put her off them’.
This is for you. The woman who gets up at 6 am every day to go to work, arriving home at 9 pm and never seeing her family Monday – Friday. Feeling guilty every moment that you’re somehow less of a wife, partner or mother. You’re not.
This is for you. The part time worker who feels less worthy of a Friday night take away, even though you spend your hours at work worrying about all the things you need to do, and when you’re not at work you juggle the household and the demands of your family which is equally tough.
This is for you. The woman who stays at home and is told that she is half the woman she would be if she had paid employment too. That being at home is not hard work and that you apparently have no idea what that even means anymore.
This is for you. The woman whose children have all moved away and you pretend not to mind.
This is for you. The woman who suffered miscarriage after miscarriage trying for a second baby and feels ready to scream when you’re asked if you are going to have ‘any more’.
This is for you. The woman who watches her husband go out night after night with his friends whilst you’re left at home, not invited because he says that you won’t fit in.
This is for you. The woman who stays up late worrying about managing different appointments, and caring for each member of your family but never for yourself.
This is for you. This is for all of you. Whatever life may throw at you, you’ve got this. Your strength is incredible. Inspirational. Motivational.
This is for you. Thank you for always being more than anyone might say you are or can be, thank you for inspiring me to be the strongest version of myself that I can be. You are not weak. You are not second choice. You are you. And that, is perfect.
Dedicated to all the women in my life.
May you be like a tree, with branches reaching high and wide towards hope, and roots digging deep, keeping you secure.
The Tale of Mummyhood