Monday, 4 August 2014

Not the perfect mother

I've come to the realization I'm not the perfect Mother. And, I hate to burst your bubble but you're not either. So why do we fill ourselves with so much anxiety trying to achieve something that doesn't exist?

Since becoming a Mother, my lack of perfection has created me no end of frustration and anger at myself.  My perceived failings have no end. From having to give up breast feeding, to forgetting Sticky's feedbag, to not doing enough tummy time. There's always something I'm not doing right, not doing enough of, or not doing good enough.

I constantly question so many of my actions. Should I be changing her nappy more often? What bad habits am I creating by bringing her into bed with me? What will be the repercussion of picking her up when she's screaming and rocking her to sleep? The endless mind chatter drives me nuts.

But, as Sticky grows, and I see her thriving, I realise I need to let go, lower my expectations and congratulate myself on the good job I'm doing. I've started giving myself permission that it's all ok.

It's ok that sometimes her clothes aren't colour coordinated. It's ok that I take her out of the house with tomato sauce on her sleeve. It's ok that I cuddle her and soothe her when she can't sleep. It's ok that I feel frustrated and exhausted after she's been crying for hours on end. It's ok that sometimes I just want to stay in bed. 

It's all ok because the things that frustrate me aren't important. What's important is that she feels loved, protected and secure. What's important is she feels confident enough to venture into the world and try new things. What's important is she's happy to see me when I come home.

In the times I'm tempted to berate myself, I must remember all of the things I am doing right. And those are the things that will have the greatest impact in shaping her life and the things that mean the most. She won't remember stains on her shirt or socks that keep falling off. But, she will remember kisses, hugs, comfort, support, encouragement and love.

Actually, now I think of it, I'm reminded of a Garfield mug I had as a kid. It said "I'm not perfect but parts of me are excellent." So I think being an imperfect Mother is ok. I'm more than happy being an excellent one!

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