There is an advert on the television at the moment where a lady says “you can’t be a good mother every day”.
Every time I hear her say it a lump pulls hard in my throat. What if I can’t be a good mother any day?
Truth is I have found things really difficult since my second girl was born nearly 6 weeks ago. Eden and I have always been so close, so “attached” and having this stranger come between that touch and interaction has been hard for her and for me.
I guess though, every mother will hear those words “you can’t be a good mother every day” and question if that is enough because we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. And that pressure is exhausting.
It’s a lonely road being a mum. There’s nobody there holding your hand through the decisions we make on a daily basis – what to feed our children, what to dress them in, how to engage them in play and educate them “appropriately”, a million more decisions including massive ones involving their well-being and health and perhaps the hardest one for me at the moment: how to react when they throw the multitude of challenges they throw at us on a daily basis.
I reacted badly today. It tipped over my bulging bucket of mummy guilt because I have reacted badly more times than I care to admit in the 5 weeks and 4 days since Jade was born.
I went to Playcentre in a mess. I saw the smiling faces of the women that have been so kind to me and Eden since we started there a few months ago and the tears streamed uncontrollably down my face. They shared their own stories of struggle, they gave me their empathy-filled cuddles and they took Eden off my hands for a while so I could simply breathe.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I have believed strongly that this is true since falling pregnant a second time and finally allowing some beautiful people into my life. I was so alone through the journey with Eden and all the struggles that came with it. I don’t want to (can’t) do that again.
Reach out. Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself and find your village. That would be the advice I would give myself if I could go back with the hindsight I have now. Being a mum is hard; whether you have one, two, ten… well ones, unwell ones, quiet angels or little monsters!
Eden went to bed tonight and said the cutting words – “I don’t love you” – as I tried to say goodnight. Can I assume she doesn’t know the significance of this to ease the heavy pain in my heart? Or do I take this as a massive kick up the backside to do better. Or is that falling into that aforementioned trap of putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect. Truth is, I don’t know the answer to that.
What I do know is that I got through today (with help from playcentre, then gran who took her so I could rest and my beautiful sister-in-law who came to play with her before tea; I don’t think I could have got through alone.) I got Eden through (or maybe my village did) and tomorrow is a new day – to not doubt my ability to be a “good mum”, but appreciate that “she” comes in many different “forms”. Yes there are definitely some standard things that make a bad mum, but there are many more and diverse things that make a good mum and we can’t stereotype her to this idea of a woman who can do and be it all (and never get things wrong or fall completely over), it’s unrealistic.
My sister-in-law actually shared the following picture a few days ago that really made me smile. Maybe if you’ve had the day like I have it will make you smile too…..
You’re doing OK mums ❤
Much Love x x