Marley and Mum​

Making the world better one smile at a time


The Metaphorical Mask – Carnival Time

So we’ve recently just celebrated the Carnival holiday and it’s such a fun time to experience here in Portugal and all over the world. The beautiful costumes and the handmade floats which must have taken since last year. Everyone dances and has fun in the streets and it is just such a communal and happy time of the year.

I love the Carnival music and actually Portuguese music in general. The Portuguese population have an incredible way of moving to music so naturally. But literally every single local person I have met can dance. It’s fantastic to watch but hideously embarrassing when an English bloke, or "bife", gives it a go and looks like a drunken orangutan!

Asides from the English’s inability to move their hips without resembling a convulsion, Carnival has led my mind to also think about disguise. Masks in particular. The feathers, the glitter and sparkle making you unrecognizable for a day. However what about the metaphorical masks? The ones we wear every day.

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Which mask do you wear?

All of us use a mask and we might even change them for different occasions. For example the dolled up mummy mask, the productive put together working mum mask or what about the yummy mummy mask. The one with complete serene omnipotence whilst controlling our children and doing our domestic duties... Don’t kid yourself, we all have one!

Effectively we are all pleasers to society – using our masks to unconsciously seek approval for the position we are practicing. We don’t reveal too much as that gives others more power. The fear of rejection surrounds us all so we don’t remove the mask.

So my theory is as we grow and develop in ourselves we develop new masks. It’s exhausting keeping up with trends, fashion and cliques but we all tend to do it in our own way.

I feel the motherhood mask is one of the hardest. It starts so early, in my opinion in pregnancy. Apparently we all have to have this ‘glow’. I’m sure for about a day we do look great but if I remember rightly it didn’t last. So what about the rest of the time, when we feel tired, sick and overwhelmed? We become afraid to express that pregnancy isn’t always a walk in the park to not unmask the ‘glow’.

The jiggle of motherhood

Then the jiggle of motherhood. For me personally my mask is a complicated one at the moment. With Marley being poorly and my transition into caring for him full time the mask tends to revolve around protecting others. People ask me how he is at the moment and if I’m honest it has been a really hard time for us. However if I’m in the supermarket and an acquaintance asks me how things are if I say things are good, I’m being too positive and unrealistic. However if I broke down in a blubbering mess I need to have more faith and not be so negative... No win. So that is the mask I’m currently juggling.

We all need to be more secure in becoming more vulnerable and losing our masks from time to time. The happy mummy masks we have plastered on can come down sometimes. We don’t have to have a cheesy grin every time we scrub the toilet or adore going to bouncy castle birthdays. We don’t have to believe gluten free bread taste fantastic. Let’s all be real!

I’ll be the first to admit I used to really roll my eyes with the masks you see floating through social media. The party mum – trying to prove she’s still alive and vibrant. The organic mum – who swears she doesn’t crave some fries. The worker mum – who can’t wait for gin o’clock. But now I realize there is nothing wrong with us all having different masks which help us get through our days. We should never push our masks onto others however what mask we choose to wear is completely down to us.

Forgetting who we are

Through carefully controlling our emotions and feelings through our masks we lose our true selves. I reached this breakthrough through the realization that I want to be the kind of mum my kids are proud of and they learn to be their own people. There are too many obstacles to live behind the mask. We are all so lucky and need to be grateful for what we have.

So what I’m trying to do now more than ever is use that breakthrough to breakdown the masks. I never want to forget how to cry and be vulnerable, laugh so much you look silly or show excitement over the little things. It can be so easily lost through the mask of constantly updating social media and we need to keep checking we all remember how to be the unmasked mum.

I used to wince when I saw a mother loose her temper in public and shout at her misbehaving child. Now I applaud them. Our children need to recognize that we as parents also have imperfections and it’s ok to demonstrate our emotions. They need to know they can’t get away with that tantrum in the fruit counter just because the chap from across the street is watching and judging on how we parent. Who gives a monkeys?!

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If I open a bottle of wine with my girlfriends and let them know how things really are. If we take down our masks together we recognise the support we can give each other and really why we became friends in the first place.

I’ve learnt not to judge as we have no idea what someone else is going through behind closed doors. We don’t know why someone is wearing a certain mask; neither should we make them take it down.

 Everyone has their own coping mechanisms and we don’t know what they need to protect through it.

Positivity is always a must and we should try and be as real with our motherhood as possible whilst reflecting our true selves and protecting our vulnerability.

Whatever mask you have on today. Remember you are a super hero. Show the amazing inner you and make the mask you wear something healthy which allows you to be a real super mummy.

Check out 'Masks' on our YouTube channel!

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