I don’t feel like a shit mum.
That doesn’t really seem like an outrageous statement but for some reason it’s one we never really hear mums say.
Earlier this year, Constance Hall’s Facebook update “you’re not a shit mum pep-talk” got such a huge reaction from the hoards of mum’s following her and it really bummed me out. I mean really? Are we mothers really beating ourselves up that much?
The answer is ‘absolutely, yes’ if you read the almost-3,000 comments on Constance’s post.
I’m a freaking great mum, I could list all the reasons why, but it’s really neither here nor there. I mean, I love my kids, I feed them well and protect them, that’s enough right? Don’t answer that, I’m good.
It seems we have just lost perspective, and by ‘we’ I mean mothers in general. When I was about three months into this mothering journey I innocently told a friend that I kept the heater on in the bedrooms at night (FYI, it was the end of June ) and I was thinking that this was why the lady-baby was waking up thirsty and wanting to be fed a lot.
My friend, clearly outraged, told me that leaving a heater on in the same room as my sleeping child was, “the absolute worst thing you could do.”
The worst thing? The worst? No, I’m pretty sure my friend was thinking of infanticide.
Seriously, what hope did I have of feeling like a great mum if this was the narrative coming from one of my closest friends? I didn’t even consider for a second that she was right, but I’m grateful that she was aiming her judgment at me and not at someone who would believe that poisonous crap.
Call it confidence, call it cockiness… I don’t know. What I do know is I know a lot mums would have questioned themselves instead of their nasty friend. And that’s pretty sad.
The thing that bothered me the most about Constance’s “you’re-not-a-shit-mum talk” was that one of my lovely friends had commented on that status along with 2,700 other mums, saying that she feels like a shit mum every day. That’s a whole lot of mums beating themselves up out there.
The thing is, my friend is someone who laughs and plays with her kids more than anyone I know and I would safely presume her two happy and healthy boys have never gone two consecutive days without a bath or a hot dinner. Man, those are some lofty goals that I don’t even bother aspiring to. She posts loving pictures of them daily and worries about all sorts of stuff that has seriously never even crossed my mind.
Yet she feels like a shit mum every day? What the actual? If a mum like that doesn’t feel like she’s doing a good enough job, what hope do the rest of us have? And on what criteria is my friend basing her shit mothering? And what should I be doing to reassure her?
It’s true that we women have a tendency to focus on the negatives about ourselves, but I think it’s time we put some ‘self-love’ into mothering too. There are so many things that each and every one of us gets right every single day, yet we let it all slide away the minute we do something that we don’t think is perfect. Enough! Stop it! Stop it right now!
Spend a day giving yourself a tick for every cuddle, every smile, every listen, every mess-wipe, every vegetable, every clean t-shirt, every tear-wipe, every matching pair of socks, every meal on the table, every Lego brick, every hand-hold, every high-five, every attagirl, every carry me, every shoe tie, every kiss-it-better, every be careful. Then give yourself 10 ticks for every ‘I love you, Mummy’.
Mums have enough people trying to question what we do without feeling like we should constantly question ourselves. I’ll say it again: I’m a freaking great mum. And I’ll bet you are too. Just ask your kids.
Do you feel like a good parent? Why/ why not?
- Why We Have a Family Happy List
- Should We Or Shouldn’t We Have Baby #3?
- How We’re Helping Our Anxious Child