Be honest and go easy on yourself this Mother’s Day.
Sometimes, somewhere in the fog of sleep deprivation, the bombardment of bewildering, contradictory advice and the craving for perfection – life feels overwhelming. We should be raising a perfectly adjusted child/children with our perfectly balanced parenting. We demand perfection of ourselves, even when we don’t realise that is what we’re demanding. It often feels particularly prevalent on days like today.
But what if I told you that you will only ever achieve progress, and not perfection? What if I told you that being a parent almost programs you to feel terrible, soul destroying guilt? A guilt like no other. You! Yes, you! Sitting there in abject exhaustion, looking at a home that has clearly been turned upside down in some kind of botched burglary attempt involving custard creams and Duplo. You have caffeine in one hand, phone in the other and the feeling of Parental Ground Hog Day looming when today’s celebrations are forgotten. You likely won’t share this part though, just a cute picture of baby with a new jumper on that Auntie Lillian knitted or the bouquet of pink tulips your partner bought this morning.
Honesty isn’t something you find in vast amounts among many parents, or let’s face it, on social media. Some people are of course – and closer and trusted friends hear when it’s tough i’m sure. But generally speaking many want to at least look like they have their shit together, despite the fact that nobody has it or at least they did for three weeks and then it went to pot again. It’s an unknown dimension, parenthood. We’re all fumbling our way through the darkness, much of the time on instinct alone.
It gets easier of course, or you get more resilient, or maybe you just get more experienced, and with that, confident? Or you just don’t give two hoots when you’re walking through your local supermarket, milky bap flapping in the breeze as your baby unlatches whilst you *thought* you’d mastered feeding in the carrier? Ha! Think again, my friend.
I will take a bit of time to pigeonhole myself now, always love a bit of pigeonholing, me. I’m a breastfeeder. I believe in attachment parenting principles. I believe in a gentle parenting ethos. I don’t follow all of these practices, but I agree with most. I try to be patient and kind and put my children first. I am all of those things, but I’m also a human being. I get it wrong, I get angry, I sometimes feel like I’m failing, I frequently second guess my decisions, not even because of anyone else’s input. Just my own trusty internal self criticism.
Being all the things labelled above leaves me somewhere between trendy and a bit weird in my local Children’s Centre. Living somewhere between an ivory tower and an imaginary hippy commune with all my Facebook crunchy mum friends. But the honest truth is, I’m just a mum like everybody else, and I find it *really* hard sometimes.
So shall we all have an oversharing session this Mother’s Day? The triumphs AND the crappy times? The real story behind some of those seemingly perfect status updates today? And if they were perfect feel free to share too.
Hi, my name is Liv. I’m 29 and a mother of a 1 year old and two year old. I recently completed therapy for Post Natal Depression which developed in my second pregnancy. Most of the time I love breastfeeding, but sometimes I’d appreciate it if my breasts weren’t used like a cat’s scratching post. I’m often winging it. I often don’t reply to messages until really late. I gave up work to raise my children, sometimes that feels fortunate, sometimes it feels like an albatross around my neck. I have impossibly high standards, which you’d never guess if you saw the state of my dining room floor. This is a picture of my children playing this morning. They are covered in paint, muddy but happy. I haven’t potty trained my first properly yet, and my second is currently eating crisps and watching Hey Dougie whilst I finish this blog post.
What’s your “Mother’s Day Truth” today? My only request, be honest and go easy on yourself.
Happy Mother’s Day.
By Liv Betts