Mother Envy.

Everybody knows about Mother Guilt - but what about Mother Envy?

Mother Guilt comes when you feel as though you aren't doing right by your children - Mother Envy comes, I think, when you feel you aren't doing right by your self.

I've been feeling a bit of Mother Envy lately; while sitting here more often than not still in my pyjamas at midday, with eyebrows that could be mistaken for a pair of caterpillars that took a wrong turn at Albuquerque... I've been looking at photos of other mothers, reading their blogs, watching them on television and even; on the occasional hurried excursion out of the house wearing baggy maternity pants because they're too big yet my old pants are still too small, sporting a jaunty splash off baby puke on my shoulder; observing them in their natural shopping environment....

Some of them have teenagers, some of them babies, some of them primary school kids. Some have immaculate make up; others don't seem to have any at all. Some look as though they've been working out for years, others look as though they're not against a nice glass of vino in the evenings; but what these women all have in common is their aura; their presence of self... These chicks have got it together and I am in awe.


(Just in case you are lacking in Mother Envy – tell me you don’t wish you were Liv Tyler, above…)

Not the nice kind of admiring "I should follow your fabulous example" kind of awe, but the "...look at you with your fancy necklace and sparkling eyes, I don't like you at all!" kind of awe.

I want to be them. I want to be able to sit down with my two immaculately dressed children at 9.30 in the morning, order a coffee and a babycino and mentally check off the list of 23 chores I've already managed to get through that morning. I want people who glance my way to see a confident, relaxed woman, with her own style, happy in her own skin, who also happens to be the poster mother for parenting magazine.

I know that is never going to happen, but I feel the green eyed monster fidgeting about inside of me all the same, because, well, they make it look so easy...!

I'm not talking about arrogant young trophy wives here either, I'm talking about confidant, perfectly natural women, who are more often than not "older"...

Some live on farms, some look like hippies, some look like they would not be out of place amongst the sharks of the corporate world….

I wonder if that could ever be me. I wonder (hope) if they were ever like me, unsure, bumbling, awkward and often frazzled..? I was confidant in who I was before I had Miss Punk. Before I was pregnant with her more so, I was pretty much happy with the things I did and the person I thought myself to be, but with my changing body, my self-image began to change too.

The things I did or could do began to change, and now, as a stay at home mother of two living in a small country town, knowing no-one, I seem to be a million miles away from the city-dwelling, late-night-working, going out drinking with friends loud mouth I used to be, and I feel like I don't really know how to be this person yet.... not do I feel I am quite the mother I would like to be yet.

I wonder if it's something I can learn, or grow into?


Do you ever get a touch of Mother Envy? How did you reconcile the you before children with the you after?

….and if you don’t feel this envy ever; if you are happy and content and ‘together’ all the time, with an easy smile, pleasant children and a cute new jacket…. I don’t think I like you…


  1. Ahem, you wouldn't have felt an ounce of mother envy if you'd seen me with my 3 screaming "darlings" in the queue at Medicare today, the ones who look effortless are just pretending :-p

  2. Believe me, after years doing this job (MCH nurse), they are all lying! The ones who are immaculate etc have poor attachment with there babies; bad relationships with their partners and families; and probably no sex life either. Women are really good at putting down other women, I think- and don't forget nannies, grandparents, antidepressants etc, all the 'help' they get. You are the 95% of the population who is what mother's look like!!! Enjoy your babies and don't give a crap what anyone else does!

  3. I think the reality is that we all have good days and bad days. On the bad days, some people are better at pretending it's a good day than others. I've learnt to take outward appearances like a grain of salt in this mothering game. When the layers are peeled away, we're all the same. Best wishes for loads of good days for you, Vic.

  4. I had a moment the other day walking by the mirror...I looked ack! No time to look away nor pretend I hadn't seen. I said out loud to myself, "ugh, your not even trying." So what did I do? I went out and bought a box of hair color and a new mascara. The hair color was 'Egyptian Plum', I told the Mr. about it over the phone and he thought I said, 'Egyptian Slum', to which he replied, "Oh, that sounds awful!" So you see, I am now the mother at school with the pants that may or may not be pajamas, but at least I have hair the color of a slum! (which if you're wondering, is vaguely purple).
    One day at a time eh?

  5. Dude, we are all unsure, bumbling, awkward and often frazzled.

    We always compare the strengths of others against our weaknesses.


    Spencer is only 2 months old. Give yourself a break lady. *Hugs*

  6. I always have mother envy.... I always feel like I'm just pretending to 'play' mum....I'm just trying to fake it till I make it!

  7. One day at a time. Small town living can be hard.

    I do also force myself to dress to go to town, not fancy, just neat. I am trying to be one of the parents you talk about. Sometimes I think I manage, other days I toss both kids at the Mr fast and run out the door for some sit in the garden quiet time.

    Every day is not a sure thing, but as both children get older it does get better.

    I don't know what you see when you look at yourself, but when I think of you I see a bright, happy person who tells it how it is and loves her family. You are awesome, believe me, I know :)

    Now go and sew yourself a new wrap skirt that will fit you now, and while your belly sorts itself out, and pick a bright fabric to cheer you up too, or maybe a baby spew colour would work well to hide any spit ups...

  8. i wish i could be more useful here but i am not a mother. i can imagine though what it's like, and i've spoken to my friends about it. i agree with Bec, they are all pretending. someone who has the time and money to look perfect and have perfect looking kids, and to have great new clothes or what ever, isn't spending anytime with their kids. what's more important? playing with your kids, giving them an amazing childhood or worrying about how you look to other people (that you don't even know)

    another thing i have learned about life and people in general (not just mothers) is that the most intimidating people are often intimidated by you.

    must be hard trying to find your new identity after feeling happy with your child-less identity. good luck xx

  9. Identity before children?? I think mine is long gone, and quite honestly, I barely miss it. I may have been even daggier before, if that is at all possible.
    But Mother Envy - yep get that too. Though I feel that the older I get, and the older my kids get, the less I care - I suppose I am starting to grow into myself and be happier with who "I" am.

    As my MIL often said to my DH as he was growing up: "don't compare yourself with others, or you will become vain and bitter" lol

    Enjoy being the mum of a little baby - as you know, they grow way too fast.

  10. No, never ever had mother guilt & certainly not mother envy. Seriously, if you have happy healthy children, everyone envies that!! You can see the most immaculately dressed children & a mother who is so uptight about presentation, she forgot to kiss, hug & love them!! Picture perfect is never how it seems. I always had my 4 dressed beautifully but with a twist of their own style in the mix, so they weren't out of catalogue, but you know, real!! I am not big on make up, so i've never worried too much about myself, however, now my eldest is starting high school & 4th one has been in preschool & school for 4 years, sure, i'm looking after myself, with exercise, facials & little indulgent shopping trips, why not?? I get lots of comments about how gorgeous & well behaved my children are, guess what, not perfect, my husband is constantly away on courses interstate or at war overseas, see never as it appears, visiting my parents is torture as my mother has Alzheimer's disease & has to refer to photos to work out which children are mine!! I'm suspicious of perfection, i like real, children who know how to have fun with a mother who goes to the park without a phone or coffee or high heels, who is there purely for the children. That was me, i'm happy with how i raised them & quite frankly, i think everyone is so caught up with themselves they don't notice anyway. You're doing a great job, your way, with your family, no one else can be their mother can they?? Love Posie

  11. Some days are better than others, but no one has it together all the time. Not even if they have a hundred of babysitters (although it would certainly make it easier).

  12. You are lovely just as you are, I can tell that from miles away :) x

  13. After 13 years I still don't have it together. :D I stopped going to playgroups and the mother's groups because everyone else was a better mum than me. All had sleep routines! I felt useless and worthless in comparison and still do at times. I try not to look at other mums and not listen to those who tell me how perfect they are at parenting because what people say in public and what they do in private are two very separate things. The mothers who seem to have it all together and will tell you how perfect they are, are the ones with the kids with the most problems in my child caring and teaching experience. They tend to project what they want to see on their kids not see the reality of their kids.

  14. Ah yes I do have those feelings too. There have been times when I feel like I am really getting the hang of things and then my children don't behave like I have taught them and I just think what the! It's a hard job but you're doing a great one. Your little ones are loved and cared for by their mama and that's the most important thing sweet. xo

  15. I think I have both Mother Envy and Mother Guilt and my pre-kiddo live is a dim and distant memory, in fact I'm not entirely sure if ever actually happened.

    As I was sitting in the park yesterday s (shivering coz it was 4oC) with no make up and hair scratched back in a ponytail, reading 'Siblings without Rivalry', I glanced over (or something like that honest) at the immaculately turned out Mother who was there with her beautifully behaved children and I felt my heart sink. Believe me you are not alone.

    In my heart and soul I think we are being unfair to ourselves - would spending all our energy on achieving magazine-like perfection make us or our families really, genuinely happier? I doubt it.

    Honestly we are selling our selves short by trying to be perfect in every way. We're only human. And we can only do our best...and no one can ask more of us than that. Even when we don't achieve our best we just have to make sure that we treat the new day as a new start.


    Now, stop beating yourself up and go and enjoy some pyjama time with your beautiful littlies - they'll make you feel more perfect and beautiful than cool clothes or amazing make-up ever can!!!

  16. When you're next in the supermarket, slam your trolley, "accidentally" of course, into theirs and see whether you see cracks in the veneer. Let's call it a social experiment. Research, perhaps. Let me know how it goes. I think you'll feel instantly better to see them go a little bananas and if not, you'll feel better for mowing them down. Win-win in my book. :)

  17. When you're next in the supermarket, slam your trolley, "accidentally" of course, into theirs and see whether you see cracks in the veneer. Let's call it a social experiment. Research, perhaps. Let me know how it goes. I think you'll feel instantly better to see them go a little bananas and if not, you'll feel better for mowing them down. Win-win in my book. :)

  18. Vic, lovely creative clever and talented Vic, why compare? you know nothing of what these womens lives are really like, do you? they may have help at home or may have been up at 530am? You just had a baby!!! Give yourself a bit of time to adjust lovey. I have read some of these comments and am shocked... anyway I won't go into what I think... but I do not believe for ONE second that someone has never felt guilty or envious of another mother. I really don't beleive that for a second. Sorry.
    When I see immaculately dressede children I wonder if they get in trouble for getting their clothes dirty???????
    What you are feeling is normal, everyone has felt it. Just be kind to yourself and focus on what you ARE doing well. Which is heaps I bet.

  19. Hugs, it took me a while to find my feet with two. And seemed to loose them again each time I move.
    I agree if you have happy kids, people will want to be you. I had a complete stranger congratulate me the other day and said that it was lively to see happy children with smiles and happy parents. We move again at the end of the year abd hoping for a quiet country location although I think it will be another city location: (
    Hang in there dear.

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  21. First of all, let me give you a hug, and let me uplift you a bit. You look like a gnome.

    And then let me tell you something: NO mother feels good all of the time. Not even Amanda Blake Soule, I guess :D.

    But you can do some things that will definitely make you feel better:
    First of all, Vic, GET THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR PYJAMAS! Put on something that you like, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and then drink a glass of cold water. Next, take a picture of yourself and put it on your blog. Then, let the lovely comments brighten up your day :).
    - Mission one: ACCOMPLISHED :).

    Let's see how you do.

  22. first) great post!

    second) many of the women that I know that wear makeup and are out of the house at 9am with it all together get out of bed at 5.30am! I am not willing to do that! A clean house and clean kids are their hobby! I just dont want to give up on my sleep or crafty pursuits

    third) I try in the little things. I wear jeans instead of tackies. I even made a couple of casual skirts for myself! I try and blow dry my hair. The girls hair gets a plait each night so that their hair is easy in the morning, the boys have a buzz cut ;) But I dont have a baby anymore either. I try and keep the caterpillars in check as well as the hair colour, but that has slipped of late... gotta get back to that! See I learnt a little something from the Fly lady LOL!

  23. Mother envy?
    A huh
    A huh
    Just like every other normal mother out there. Relax, enjoy the kids and just be you. I'm trying, some days I succeed, other days the envy drives me mad. Maybe one day I'll feel like it's all working, but probably not as every day the kids change and it's a constant race keeping up with them! I'm starting to accept it.

  24. Motherhood is such a journey and I'm a very different mother and person compared to 10 years ago. Yes, even after 4 children I'm still growing into it and striving to be the Mum I want to be.
    All you need to do is keep trying and if your standards are too high just prioritise what is really important, don't let your head become cluttered with the rest.

  25. Them that look the part are usually earning more than us, have hired help, or worse still are only beaming in that one, single, happy snap of thaat day.
    You're doing beautifully Vic. Stop being so hard on your beautiful Virgo self.
    The dames that write those magazine columns usually have their littlies in care and I wonder if they present their own guilt and failings in the articles they write?
    You too will one day be like me, a fabulous great grandma, who survived all the guilt, the envy and other twaddle.
    Now as I watch my granddaughter being a Mum I realise you gorgeous Mummy's have so much more to deal with courtesy of the media! I made all the mistakes, blundered through, but my girls love and adore me for who I am today and for them and for me that's what counts.
    Hang in there Darlingheart, you're fabulous, you're doing your ultimate best and this episode soon will pass ;) xo.

  26. Oh Vic, I know what you mean, but honestly Ithink its 90% perception. I nodded my head to everything you said but really I think the actual mummys that have thier shit together is a majorly small percentage! The rest of 'them' who LOOK like they do may have a really different story to tell. Dont forget too that quite often the ones spending all morning cleaning, showering, applying thier face and picking the best outfit for the day are the ones that are spending less time doing the really important things, like holding, snuggling, playing and bonding with thier baby!! I have had several people tell me over the years that they think I am the most calm, and cruisy mum they have met and I can tell you now that inside I feel like constant chaos! But you dont see that part do you.

  27. Brave post there girl! It seemed funny to me tough a there have been times when I have read your blog and thought "wow, this girl is so cool, so together" and I admit I felt worse about myself and wished I my blog was as cool as yours! *oh the embarrassment*

    You are very cool girl!
    You inspire awe too
    And you ALWAYS seem to get the best oppy finds (grrrr)....
    You make people laugh and think with your gut honest, raw posts.
    You share your creativity freely
    And you have just done something extra amzing - you have just made another life for this world

    I am so very glad you blog.

  28. Brave post there girl! It seemed funny to me tough a there have been times when I have read your blog and thought "wow, this girl is so cool, so together" and I admit I felt worse about myself and wished I my blog was as cool as yours! *she reddens with embarrassment at this admission*

    You are very cool chick (is that word allowed anymore) and You inspire awe too.
    You ALWAYS seem to get the best oppy finds (grrrr)....
    You make people laugh AND think with your gut honest, raw posts.
    You share your creativity freely
    And you have just done something extra amzing - you have just made another life for this world

    And these are just a few things that spring to mind by a blogger

    I am so very glad you blog.


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