I very rarely write about motherhood these days. Largely because this blog’s purpose was to be a safe space to explore my own interests and discover who I am beyond the ‘mum’ label.
Whilst I have a number of other roles in life – wife, friend, sister, daughter, employee, dog owner, ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ – my greatest (and most important) role has always been motherhood. It’s probably the one that rightly or wrongly, consumes most of my time and thoughts. For this reason, on occasion, I feel compelled to put thoughts to keyboard…
Back in the Day
When my three children were small, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with them. I use the term ‘fortunate’ loosely as daily life with little ones can be mind-numbingly boring at times! What I really mean, is that I was fortunate enough to have the choice that many don’t. Although I questioned my suitability to the role on a daily basis, deep down I knew it was where I wanted to be.
Right from the get go, I took motherhood seriously; I wanted to do it right (FYI I’m an enneagram 1 followed closely by a 6 – this might explain things a bit!). I bought all of the parenting books (I still have an entire shelf of said books) went on every available course and was pretty confident in my ability to parent. Even during some challenging moments with my feisty middle child, I thought I was doing a good job. In short, I had things (mostly) under control.
A Crisis of Confidence
Then my eldest daughter reached the age of 14 and things began to unravel.
My confidence as a mum nose-dived as a result and I was back to questioning if I was cut out for motherhood: Why had I not noticed sooner that she was struggling? Why didn’t I instinctively know how to help?
I wrestled with such questions a lot in the early days of my daughter’s struggles. On the whole, I think that I’m out the other side now but when a tricky day hits, I can overthink past actions like a pro. Before I know it, I’ve written myself off as a bad mother who is doing it all wrong.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, when a wise friend made what she thought was a passing comment, that the penny finally dropped…
A Lightbulb Moment
We’ve all made mistakes (none of us are perfect after all) but what I had never really considered, is what actually is right and who declares it so? In this instance for example, who decides what is right when it comes to parenting? I mean the books on my shelf contradict one another for a start!
The truth is, we do what we think is right at the time, with the small amount of information that we have (if only these kids came with their own personal handbook, hey?).
Why the ramble today? Because I know 100% that I won’t be the only one who has beaten myself up over something that went wrong (or what our heads say is ‘wrong’), or maybe turned out differently than we would have liked. Our instinct is often to look for blame and we are usually at the front of the firing line.
If that’s you, please take my (or my friend’s) little nugget above away with you today. It’s so simple but has helped me no end and I hope that it helps you too. We are all doing our best at this thing called life/parenting and we can’t do more than that.
Keep on keeping on my friends.