Tuesday, 1 May 2012

One cup of mother's guilt, please.

Every mother does the best job they can by making what they think are the best choices for them and their child/children.  But how many mothers come away from "mummy mornings" or a visit with a mummy friend feeling supremely inadequate?  Me!

"Oh, crap, I'm doing it all wrong and my child will never learn to [fill in the blank]."  Or "Little Johnny is the same age as my child and my child can't do XYZ yet.  I must be a bad mother.  I'm doing it all wrong and my child will fail at school and hate me when he grows up!"

Silly?  Yes.  Relatively truthful internal dialog of a new mum?  Yes again.

Every day I try my best and do the best I can that day.  Some days are more successful than others.  But in the back of my head is a little voice that tells me I should be doing MORE.  I should be TRYING HARDER to make all my daughter's food from scratch; reading to her even more; watching less television; getting outside to get dirty more; trying harder to teach her to feed herself and put herself to sleep on cue; and shouldn't she be walking by now; and she needs to know sign language because every kid around her is getting it hammered into them and I'm doing a bad job that she doesn't know any!  AND she uses a dummy to go to sleep.  And I use disposable nappies!  And, and, and...!  Argh!  Enough!

When I tell that voice to shut up, I look at my daughter playing on the floor.  She's happy.  She's healthy and smiling and laughing at tickles, calling the cat, chasing the cat, crawling at the speed of light and generally having a whale of a time... most of the time.  She grizzles when she's tired and throws her food on the floor and thinks it's very entertaining which drives my clean-freak self bananas!

There are as many parenting choices out there as there are colours in the world!  But as soon as you start looking at what you're doing and hold it up against someone else, you'll always come away feeling like you're doing something wrong - even if you thought you were doing a pretty good job before you walked into that "mummy friend's" house!  You could be doing 98% "right" but you'll kick yourself mercilessly for the 2% you could improve.  Why is that?

I think it's a mixture of not thinking I'm good enough to be as blessed as I am; but also from the immense strength of love I have for my daughter that I want her to be the best little girl she can be... and in order for that to happen, I need to be the best mummy I can be.  And am I going to be the best mummy I can be if I keep moving the goal posts on myself?  Am I going to be the best mummy I can be by teaching my daughter that you gauge your self-worth or success by comparing yourself to other people?  That you should always second guess yourself because of what other people do?  Can I get a HELL NO!

So next time you're hanging with your mummy friends (or talking dad talk over the barbecue with your mates) just stop and remind yourself of all the things you're doing right - about how happy / smart / funny your child is - and smile.

Be the best mum / dad / friend / aunt / uncle YOU can be - whatever that may look like.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Jen! You are doing so well! We all have our moments of not coping, crying, and like you said I'm not doing ----. Myself included. I have ironing that is still there after 4 days. I have a talk to my self. It's not what I do It's who I am that counts.

    I am forgiven by God, and I am His. I am a mother of a thriving toddler and baby. (I don't use happy because they are not all the time). I am a great wife who loves her man. I am gloriously imperfect.

    I enjoy the journey and fun special moments with my family while on the wild roller coaster of motherhood and life. Xx