Mothers are not allowed to complain about mothering.
We can complain about sleep deprivation or finding the school run and work juggle difficult, but complaining about mothering itself? Problematic.
Sydney writer and mum Kerri Sackville penned a column last week to say that after 20 years of nurturing, cleaning, mediating, washing, cooking, organising and mothering generally, she was tired.
Not tired of her three children who she clearly adores, but the many daily chores that mothers have to do.
As a mum of two boys born six years apart, I absolutely loved her honest writing.
I love my sons fiercely, their beautiful little faces and cuddles are the best in the world and when they tell me they love me, I melt.
And yet, as Kerri says, and yet….
This 'yet' is not about my unflinching love for my sons.
The 'yet' relates to the never-ending chores that come with being a mother. Unlike Kerri, I have only been a mother for 10 years, but I can understand something of how she feels 20 years down the line.
The years of shouting 'put your shoes on PLEASE!' every time we leave the house, the never-ending washing pile, the surly moods and tantrums (mine and theirs) the constant arrangement of playdates and after school activities.
Buying presents for their friends, remembering to pack sunscreen, picking socks up off the floor, booking dental appointments and sending up to date vaccination certificates to day care, is just a sample of what I mean.
When you are a parent, the daily chores never end.
I desperately wanted to have both my boys and they are much loved.
But wanting to be 'a mother' is not the same thing as mothering and it is 'the mothering' part that I have an issue with.
I am a mother, yes but I am also a woman with interests, needs and dreams outside of family life that I just don't have much time for.
Like many other mums, I find it hard to openly admit that the majority of tasks I do as a mother are time consuming, tiring and often boring. Yet I must do the daily sock-collection and a number of other barely visible yet crushingly dull things, because this is what being a parent involves.
But that doesn't mean I have to like it
I have learnt that being a 'good mother' in the traditional sense, is a little like being good at sport or good at singing.
Some women enjoy and are naturally good at nurturing or cooking family meals (as are some dads), but some of us are not.
I cremated the kids' sausages last week because I was so distracted by finishing an interesting work project and over the weekend I tried and failed a hack for cleaning the toilet that I read online because I was listening to a podcast and skim-read the advice.
There are Facebook groups and whole online communities dedicated to mums (and parents generally) that swap tips for shiny toilets, craft ideas to do at home and healthy recipes.
While I can appreciate these groups and communities – I would rather read a news article or a good book so probably on paper I am a fairly crap mother.
The parts of mothering I genuinely enjoy are often the silliest ones.
I love to wrestle, hug, dance and play forts with my sons. I also like drawing, organising holidays and dressing up with them.
I like socialising with other families and watching with amazement as my boys grow into interesting people with thoughts and ideas and loves of their own.
The problem with the aspects of motherhood that I like, is that they are clearly non-essential.
No one will fade away if I don't wrestle or dress up as a pirate.
In our household we are lucky that Jules works flexibly. He is the primary cook because he is good at it and he likes it. The other chores we manage together and we muddle them equally.
What I believe, as Kerri so eloquently wrote, is that so much of motherhood is about labour and it is tiring. Yet it is hard to say that out loud without sounding awful and uncaring.
As a responsible adult with children, I will of course keep contributing to the chores that keep my boys fed, clean and watered.
I do hope that other mums can relate however when I admit that it's wonderful to be a mum, but a lot of the chores that come with mothering, I could live without.