Do you know what one of the most frequent search terms are for people finding Motherhood: The Real Deal through google? It’s typically about feeling like a bad mum. Yup, there are a lot of people out there feeling like a bad mum right at this moment. Maybe even you! And when we are faced with images of perfection across social media, it’s easy to feel like you’re not living up to the perfect mum dream….whatever that is! But here’s the thing – motherhood is just about being a good mum, not a perfect mum.
But what does that even mean?
Good mums have their off days, their days when they lose their temper, when they forget things, wish their children would stop yabbering on at them, when they wish they could crawl into bed and hide under the duvet. And you know what? That is all TOTALLY fine.
To be a good mum, you don’t need to have the house running like a dream, make Pinterest worthy cupcakes, play My Little Ponies/Lego enthusiastically with your son or daughter. As someone who has struggled with this endlessly during the early days of motherhood, I’ve pretty much figured out that to be a good mum you just need to….
You know the old saying – you can’t fill from an empty cup. I know those times when I have let myself run on empty it most definitely did not make me feel like a good mum. Instead, you feel tired, ratty and basically…spent. Self-care for mums is not a luxury, but a necessity if you want to be a good mum because we can only be a mum as we feel as a person.
Comparison really is the thief of joy. Every child is different, and I truly believe that you have to parent the child that you’ve got. To be a good mum, instead of wondering why they’re not like this, or why they are so different to such and such, just stay in your lane and accept your child for the wonderful unique being that they are.
I don’t mean you indulge their every request for attention every single minute of the day. Goodness knows none of us have the time for that! But just know that giving them just 15 minutes of your pure uninterrupted attention in whatever way shape or form is worth its weight in gold. Not only does this tend to improve their behaviour (kids act up when they crave your attention which in turn makes you feel like crap), but this connection will also make YOU feel good too.
When our kids are spilling their entire stream of consciousness at us, it can be really tempting to instead think about the bajillion things you have on your to-do list, or mindlessly mutter “uhuh”, “I see” when in fact you have no idea what they are talking about or would rather be checking your phone.
The thing is – kids know when they are being fobbing off, and it tends to make them feel a bit lousy – like you’re not interested in them. Instead, try listening to them using active listening with them. It also happens to be a great way to really get to know your child.
If you want your children to live a happy, healthy life, then the best way to ensure that is by living out those values yourself. By investing in yourself whether it be by practicing yoga, learning a new skill, taking up running, knitting or whatever it may be – this sends all the right signals to your kids. That you value life and all the amazing things it brings with it.
We always hear about how children should respect adults, but what about the other way round? I strongly believe that a good mum also respects her children – listens to their ideas and opinions, takes on their feedback (within reason!), and probably most importantly – apologises when an apology is due. After all, if you want your children to do the same back to you, somebody has to get this ball rolling….and that’s you!
I learnt this one the hard way – because it is so easy to take things personally in life. But know this – most people in life – including children – actually do have good intentions.
Often when we take things personally, it’s because we already have a sore spot from our own childhood or maybe feelings of inadequacy about something somewhere. To be a good parent, you can try to learn how to create a bit of space between what your child does and your reaction to it so you don’t take things personally – meditation is absolutely great for helping to facilitate that.
So after seven years of parenting, those are my seven ways to be a good mum instead of a perfect mum. Do you agree with the above? What else would you add? Feel free to leave a comment below and share.