Why as mothers do we never feel good enough? Why is there always that nagging doubt telling us that we’re failing and that we could be doing more for our children? No matter how many amazing things we do for our families, we always focus on the things we’re not doing. If we do a hundred amazing things in a day, that one thing that we didn’t have time for plagues us for hours, even days!
It’s like as women we feel that we need to do everything and do it all perfectly. We just have to show the world that we can do it all and that being a good mum is a breeze. Well it’s not, and we all know it’s not. It’s amazing yes, it’s the best thing I have ever done without a doubt. It’s beautiful, rewarding and great fun, but that doesn’t stop it being tough. There is no such thing as a perfect mother, that woman doesn’t exist. Facebook and Instagram would have us believe otherwise, but it’s just make believe. She does not exist! But that doesn’t mean you’re not the perfect Mum for your child, perfect for them and perfect to them. Just allow yourself to be real, to be you and that is totally enough.
When us mums have a bad day we really go for it!
I had a pretty intense day last week; I allowed everything to get on top of me pretty much all day. I was sleep deprived and emotional, and it was just one of those days. Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often because it was exhausting.
Firstly, one of my biggest guilt triggers is the fact that River gets no therapy; it’s just not possible here. And even though I know that the positives of living in Africa for outweigh the negatives, I still worry that I’m not giving him what he needs. Well on this particular day I’d been running around all day, with the kids in toe and I just didn’t have time to fully focus on Rivers exercises or activities. Now I totally pushed aside the fact that he’d still had loads of social interaction and had been physically active all day. I completely ignored the fact I scour YouTube constantly looking for videos of physio and speech exercises, I read every article and every book and am always listening to other parent’s experiences. None of that even entered my head, and instead of praising myself I fixated on the fact that for a rare day I just didn’t have enough time.
It got worse then. We got home at dinner time and I had nothing prepared for dinner, so the boys had sandwiches. I actually managed to convince myself that it was a really terrible thing for them to have sandwiches and that I was a really lazy mum. Even writing it down I can see how ridiculous I was being. I didn’t stop to praise myself for every other meal I cook for them from scratch, every single day. As much as I would love to have an emergency packet of #fishfingers in the freezer, its Africa and Birdseye is a long way off. I didn’t stop to remember all the healthy recipes I search for, or the ridiculous amount of my life that I spend in the kitchen. I was too busy berating myself for making a bloody sandwich! You’d think I’d been force feeding them fast food constantly for weeks the way I was dramatizing it to myself. It was pretty pathetic looking back, why did I need to feel guilty for making my evening a little easier? The kids were more than happy; they were fed and didn’t think twice about it.
We really need to give ourselves a break
We give ourselves way too much to feel guilty about as it is, without adding such simple things to it that aren’t even an issue. The list is long! Stay at home mum, working mum, work from home mum; we all feel guilty one way or another. Breast or bottle, time outs or time ins, gentle parenting or strict parenting, routines or no routines. Too much screen time, not enough home cooked food, not enough art and crafts, not enough baking, not enough days trips, not enough family time, not earning enough money, not enough presents, not enough travel. Its goes on and on and on. Not enough, not enough, not enough. Well I can tell you something pretty confidently, in your kid’s eyes you are enough. You are actually more than enough, to them you are perfect and you are just Mum. It’s just a shame we can’t see that.
To be fair, as women we really don’t help ourselves, always ready to criticize each other and pinpoint everything we are doing wrong. Whether it’s parenting, how we act or the way we look, a woman’s worst enemy is other women. Why do we feel the need to judge each other constantly? It’s so easy to convince yourself that you’re a shitty parent when there is always another woman waiting to agree with you. If we’re not doing something the same way as another women, then we have a terrible habit of believing that the other person is wrong. Why? Why do we do it? Well my guess is, and I’m no expert, but I’d say it’s because it makes us question ourselves and the decisions we have made. If somebody else has decided to do things another way, then does that mean we’ve got it wrong? Does it mean that everybody else is doing the parenting thing right and we’re not doing the right things for our family? The reality of course is that every family is different and everyone has different circumstances, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities that are unique to them. What works for one family will not work for everyone, and people need to be left alone to find their own way without judgement.
Be confident in your choices and let people have confidence in theirs
I’m lucky that I’m a confident Mum and have never really cared what people think, and I’m very comfortable with the decisions I make for my boys. To be honest, I was never going to listen to other people’s opinions or advice as I hate being told what to do, and pretty much always think I’m right ha-ha! It’s true I’m afraid. But that aside, I’m fairly confident that that out of all the things I’ve done in my life, being a mum is probably the thing I’ve succeeded at the most. And that doesn’t mean that I think I’m perfect, I’m far from it. I have bad days, I have doubts, I have guilt trips and I worry all the time. And just because I am happy with the way I’ve chosen to raise my boys, that doesn’t mean that I think its right for everyone. I haven’t had a night without a child in my bed for over 5 years and have been breastfeeding for the same amount of time (my relationship with my husband is great before anyone wonders about that). No way do I think that’s the way everyone should be parenting and no way do I judge anyone who doesn’t do those things. At the same time, I don’t think that anyone else has the right to judge me for my decisions either. My sons are happy, healthy, content, secure and confident, and that’s proof enough for me that we’re doing just fine.
Do yourself a favor and remind yourself how amazing you are
Anyway, I’ve gone way off where I was heading, so back to my bad day. I was totally drained by bedtime, my husband couldn’t quite believe I was worrying about things so stupid and had managed to get myself so worked up. He reminded me that instead of focusing on the small amount of negative, I needed to remind myself of the huge amount of good. To put it bluntly, I needed to big myself up a bit! And he was right, which unfortunately he usually is. So that is exactly what I did. I wrote a list of 10 things that I do for my family that makes me an awesome Mum, and I recommend you all do it. Do it right now and remind yourself that you are doing a good job. There is no time like the present to give yourself a confidence boost, and then stick it to the fridge as a reminder every time you open the door. Actually, I’d love to see your lists so post them on here!! Let’s start an epidemic of ‘I’m good enough’ Mum lists.
So here’s mine –
- I’m relentless in my research into River’s development and will do everything I can to help him reach his full potential
- I cook home cooked food pretty much every single day (except sandwich days of course :-/)
- I set up craft projects and do school work with Skyler
- I play with my kids all the time!
- We travel. I want them to see the world and I want to give them that gift.
- I am with my children 24/7. We don’t have childcare and I am the person that provides for their every need.
- I always put my children first, whatever it is they always come first
- I make my children happy. They are smiling when they wake up and they are smiling when they go to bed. They are happy more than they are down and enjoy their lives
- I keep their home tidy (ok that’s a bit of a lie as I have a cleaner, but I still feel like I’m constantly cleaning up so it totally counts!!)
- I listen to my children and I respect them. If they have something to say I listen, and I will always be the person they can come to with their problems.
So there you have it, my list to remind myself of just how I do for my family. Do the same and remind yourself just how much you’re worth to your children. It’s so important to remind ourselves that we are good enough. WE. ARE. ENOUGH!
You are enough.