I don’t think I’ve ever done something so hard as being a mom in my entire life, to be quite honest, even if I’m going for natural parenting. It can be a truly wonderful experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the
world entire universe, but some days… Some days you just need to remind yourself of a few things. Such as these.
1. It’s OK not to be perfect
The fast lane to insanity is trying to be the perfect mom, so delete the mental images of you with a nice hairdo in a clean kitchen, smilingly making dinner with your little helper, and do that right away. I mean now. If your hair is a mess, fine – no one cares right now. And we all know how that kitchen floor will look in about five minutes from now, right. Just… let it go. Relax.
2. Being perfect is the absolutely worst thing you can be anyway
You know, your main mission in parenting is to prepare your offspring to face the world on its own one day. That world is not perfect – far from it. And if you, against all odds, should be able to go through your mothering days in a perfectly flawless manner, you would fail miserably in the end at any rate, as you would have provided your hopeful one with no tools to cope with Real Life.
3. This above all: to thine own self be true
Would you trust a person who smiled at you through clenched teeth while their eyes were shooting lightning in your direction? No? How about a person that exploded in your face last night, and then went on to explaining to you how they felt and what was going on, and maybe even apologizing to you for their bad behaviour? If that person smiled at you, wouldn’t you know for sure it was the real deal? You are entitled to your feelings, even the bad ones, as long as you do the right thing afterwards and as long as you also make absolutely sure to also show your positive feelings – in abundance!
4. You are, in fact, a role model
The way you live your life will forever stand as a model for your child. What do you teach him about women if you’re a slave to him and his dad? What do you teach your daughter about her right to take care of herself and to set some clear boundaries? Do you show her how to do the martyr routine, or do you set a healthy, self-caring example by saying «Enough now. I need a hot bath, and I shall have one. I’ll talk to you in 30 minutes»?
How about the way you handle your own emotions? Do you portray someone who is comfortable with them, or do you demonstrate someone who tries to keep them locked up at any cost – even your child’s emotional development and well-being? Chances are, she will imitate you, so make sure you set a healthy example to follow.
5. It’s OK to ask for help
You need to take care of yourself to be a good mom. Sometimes that means leaving your kid alone in front of the TV while you take 10 minutes out with a cup of tea. Sometimes it requires a lot more, and then you need to ask for help. You know, this day and age has us living in a setting which is not natural to us. We are wired to live in a village, with our tribe, and our kids would dash to and fro, playing here, eating there, and then running off again. We are not meant to stay in a one-to-one relationship with our children day in and day out, and that scenario can certainly take a toll on us, especially if we’re on the endless quest for non-existing perfection.
So for the love of everything holy: ask for help when you need to. Leave the kids with their dad for a few days (if you’re done breastfeeding and he can handle it, of course). Ask if a friend can look after them while you go swimming, or let them sleep over at granny’s while you and their dad share a bottle of wine in a nice restaurant.
And lastly, please remember:
6. There is nothing wrong with you wanting to be alone every now and then
In fact, it would be a tragedy if you didn’t. That would defeat the whole purpose of you trying to raise an independent individual – they are supposed to grow up, you know, and they will leave you behind while doing so. It’s inevitable that it happens, and you wanting to be alone as your children grows up is a completely natural part of this process. This ensures that you will not suffocate them and hinder their growth. It would be impossible for you to let them go, if you were still in a cuddle-your-wonderful-baby mode when they needed to leave you behind.
Trust the process. It goes both ways, and you are growing right along with your child. Just as it should be.