Constance Hall’s VERY accurate new mum truths : “You’re gonna get angry”

Constance Hall had a wee baby name Raja (not Roger) not so long ago, and this new addition has sparked some fresh feelings about an age-old chestnut – the mental load that mums carry in families.

“You’re gonna get angry”

As foggy exhaustion hits next level for this blinking busy mum of seven, she’s somehow maintained excellent clarity when it comes to women’s roles in the home. While she’s at pains to stress how much she appreciates and loves hubby Denim Cooke, the invisible inequality she’s keen to discuss weighs pretty heavily – and it’s something almost all mums endure.

“The first time you have a baby you’ll notice a few injustices … The second time you have a baby you’ll be used to them … And the third you could accept it or you could just move out,” Constance wrote on social media. “At some point, unless you’re the exception and in an extremely progressive relationship, you’re gonna get angry.”

Science says?

A whole lot of things come into play when it comes to mums assuming the ‘default parent’ position – or shouldering the so-called ‘mental load’. The demands of breastfeeding, entrenched ideas about male and female roles in the family … heck women even have their newborn baby’s cells floating around in their bodies. For the rest of their lives.

There is no doubt mums are connected to their kiddos in ways that dads aren’t. While this is a brilliant and special bond, should women be expected to carry more of the load or assume the ‘default parent’ position because … science says? 

Constance thinks not. 


Read more about Constance Hall:


In her recent post, she pointed out some entrenched patterns that continue to paint mums as the ‘default parent’ – and that even the language we use when talking about mums and dads caring for their kids varies pretty drastically between genders.

“I carry the mental load of our baby. I know when he’s hungry, tired or needs a bath. My husband will happily bath him, or cuddle him … when he’s asked. When my husband is holding him friends ask to take over, if he cries … they give him back to me. When he’s smiling my husband picks him up, when he’s grumpy he gives him back.”

“The other day I was giving my husband a kick up the arse to get ready quicker so we weren’t late and he turns to me and says … ‘Calm down, I’ve been looking after the baby all morning…. for you.’ Wait what? For who? Oh me? Doing me a favour? Hang on should I get you some cash? What’s the rate for a babysitter these days, $16 an hour?”

Con notes that women don’t have the luxury of moving freely once they’re mums, because they’re seen as a sort of anchor for the whole family – and that maternal gatekeeping is often a necessary sanity-saving strategy.

“When I need to leave the house without the baby I must book it in, ‘darling I’m going to the shops, you have Raja, I’ll be 20 mins … If I ask my husband to change a nappy he’ll happily do it … but asking often takes as much energy as changing it … so why not just do it myself.”

Mums under pressure

All this defaulting, all this overloading conspires to exhaust mums and make them feel/behave in ways they’d much prefer not to. It’s pretty impossible to be yourself when you’re constantly under pressure or in survival mode. The cumulative stress takes a toll and transforms women into People Who Are Constantly Reacting Or Seething Or Just Plain Freaking Out!

Constance is keen for things to change – for all mums – so that women can return to being the sort of person they truly are, at heart and families can be MUCH happier.

“I don’t say this to bag blokes. I say it because equality doesn’t mean shit if it doesn’t start in the home and what better place to start showing your kids what equality looks like then when they first arrive on this beautiful world. I say it because I don’t want the stats to keep growing on relationships breaking up in the first year of a baby being born. And I say it because I wouldn’t be such a grumpy c*nt all the time if my brain wasn’t completely f*ck-eyed single handedly micro managing every member of this god forsaking family!!!!”

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Some bloke messaged me on instagram the other day. It’s always interesting when blokes message me.. occasionally it’s to tell me that their wife loves me and that they think what I’m doing is awesome.. but usually it’s a) to have a crack or b) to have a go. This guy was the latter… “Constance why do you have to get your tits out on camera to feed your baby… have some respect for your kids and your husband….” So to answer his question, I have to have my tits out to feed my baby because he does this thing called Breast Feeding- so fucking weird, the baby literally feeds off my breast!! It’s so hard to do through clothes… Babies love it, I love it, It’s proven to be nutritionally very beneficial.. I’m raising my children in a world that will hopefully finally desexualise breasts so that mums and babies are free to feed in public with out the scrutiny of someone like yourself feeling awkward because its giving him a stiffy.. 🤷🏽‍♀️ You know, free to do it anywhere we want, like ya know… every other mammal on Earth…. Which is why in fact I have a lot of respect for my children. And as for my husband.. What the fuck has any of this got to do with him? 😘

A post shared by constanceandtribe (@mrsconstancehall) on

Expect better things

Honestly, she’s sparked a really important discussion. How we balance encouraging men to be equally involved in their kids lives without women having to micromanage bits of this process is a tricky dilemma.

At the moment society tends to deify men who pitch in, praising them for doing things women undertake by default.

“Look a man is pushing a pram, what a champ!”

“Check out that man caring for his own child while his wife does the family’s shopping! Isn’t he amazing?!”

Man feels > Woman feels?

There’s also a real trend to tread more lightly around men’s feelings because they’re somehow ‘bigger’ or more potent than women’s’. (At least men are trying! Let’s encourage the men! Look at him feeling a thing!) women’s’ feelings? Run of the mill, kind of hysterical, hormonal etc.

And look … while it’s truly brilliant when men share the load, giving them a medal when they do, simply confirms that it’s unusual and might be ‘women’s work’.  

It’s truly time to expect dads to take an equal role in their kids’ lives – and to not make a big deal out of it when they do.  

And dear god, if a woman or a woman who is a mum is appearing to be fed up to the back teeth, it will be for good reason, so listen – and help! (Without needing a medal, plz!) 

Thanks to Constance for raising such a vital topic.

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The first time you have a baby you’ll notice a few injustices.. The second time you have a baby you’ll be used to them.. And the third you could accept it or you could just move out. At some point, unless your the exception and in an extremely progressive relationship, your gonna got angry. I carry the mental load of our baby. I know when he’s hungry, tired or needs a bath. My husband will happily bath him, or cuddle him.. when he’s asked. When my husband is holding him friends ask to take over, if he cries… they give him back to me. When he’s smiling my husband picks him up, when he’s grumpy he gives him back. The other day I was giving my husband a kick up the arse to get ready quicker so we weren’t late and he turns to me and says.. “Calm down, Iv been looking after the baby all morning…. for you..” Wait what? For who? Oh me? Doing me a favour? Hang on should I get you some cash? What’s the rate for a babysitter these days $16 an hour? When I need to leave the house without the baby I must book it in, “darling I’m going to the shops, you have Raja, I’ll be 20 mins” Nobody reminds me that I have my baby when they leave. If I ask my husband to change a nappy he’ll happily do it… but asking often takes as much energy as changing it.. so why not just do it myself. And guess what.. my brain fried. I dont say this to bag blokes. I say it because equality doesn’t mean shit if it doesn’t start in the home and what better place to start showing your kids what equality looks like then when they first arrive on this beautiful world. I say it because I don’t want the stats to keep growing on relationships breaking up in the first year of a baby being born. And I say it because I wouldn’t be such a grumpy Cunt all the time if my brain wasn’t completely fuck-eyed single handedly micro managing every member of this god forsaking family!!!!

A post shared by constanceandtribe (@mrsconstancehall) on

 

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