“Motherhood is not a GCSE level examination that I can study for or ace at by following the textbooks or rulebooks. There is no one perfect guidebook and there is no such thing as a perfect mother (or parent)”
Motherhood – it’s a much lauded rite of passage experienced by many (duly blessed) women. Loving, patient and nurturing mothers are celebrated while short-tempered, agitated and anxious mothers are seem to ‘not-have-it-together’.
Can I tell you an honest truth? 80% of the time I belong to the latter. Every day is like a new challenge on Ninja Warriors; I used to start my day by anticipating meltdowns even before they happen so that I can deflect and prepare myself. It was quite a doom and gloom situation. Like dark looming clouds cueing an impending storm.
When your actions don’t align with what is expected of you as dutiful mother, that grand ‘ol mum-guilt starts to snowball. I had serious cognitive dissonance because I had grandiose ideas about the fantastic mother I’d be. The thought that I could possibly suck at that one role I thought I would excel at made me feel disappointed.
A mother’s disappointment, as I have since learnt is more commonplace than I had realised. Just do a quick google search or look at your fellow mama-friends’ Instagram and lo and behold, a community of mothers’ sharing their grievances and challenges. Thank god for #strengththroughvulnerability.
My one biggest learning in this parenting journey of mine is this – don’t be afraid to lean into your partner. Daryl is a fantastic partner and (in my opinion) a super dad. He can see when the wheels of doubt are doing some double-duty churning and inward dwelling. “What are you trying to prove and for who?” was a question he posed when I was regaling him about how there’s so much more I could be doing for our sons and I can I do more.
And that’s when it clicked. Do more, be more, achieve more – that’s great, but by whose standards and to what metrics? Motherhood is not a GCSE level examination that I can study for or ace at by following the textbooks or rulebooks. There is no one perfect guidebook and there is no such thing as a perfect mother (or parent).
It took me almost 2 years to come to terms with the fact that being present for my children and giving them my time is all there is to it. So simple, so dummy-proof.
I have since been at peace, knowing that I should confidently parent at the beat of my own drum. There are 3 main areas of focus right now for us at home, what with the on-going circuit breaker:
- Manners & Tantrums
- Potty Training
In no way am I an expert in any of this but I would like to share the knowledge and wisdom gleaned from articles/books I’ve read and from experience. Hopefully they will be of use to any of you who may be parents. Here’s my post on dealing with Manners and Tantrums.