To the Mama who fears she's failing at mothering right now, I want you to know how much you matter.
I know there's so much pressure on you right now. Even if there weren't external pressures, added demands, and responsibilities on you, chances are, you're likely putting so much pressure on yourself to be everything at all times to your family. To absorb the stress, and protect from worry, and to hold it together.
All. Day. Long.
And the background noise as you go through the day, likely a whisper and sometimes louder as a scream, is critical, judgmental statements, reminding you to be perfect, to always get it right, highlighting your flaws and shortcomings. Telling you even at the end of the day when you're exhausted and accomplished so much, that it wasn't quite enough, and you could have done more.
And even as exhausted as you are when your head hits the pillow for bed, you toss and turn, thoughts racing through your mind-wondering, what did you forget, what needs to be done, what could happen in the future, fearing that you're somehow you could be failing as a mother.
Here is what I want to you remind you of mama-
Your child needs YOU.
Not a perfect version of you.
Exactly as you are, in process, as the amazing human being, you already are.
Your child does not need you to be like someone else. Like someone you think is a 'perfect mom.' You know the one who you may be comparing yourself to, feeling as if your failing at motherhood, falling short in some way, and uncertain how it's all going to show up later in your child's life.
I also want to remind you...
Perfect moms are a MYTH.
An ideal often created within our minds, perhaps reinforced through messages and expectations from others and society.
There is NO perfect mother.
But what there is, is YOU.
The mother, your child needs, loves, and adores. And knows not how to see you in flaws, but measures you through love.
Here is the amazing perspective I want to share with you about motherhood: as a clinical psychologist with a lot of experience providing therapy, not just years, more like decades. I can tell you this-when a person I support comes to me and wants to talk about their childhood or what it was like growing up, or what they wish was different with their mom, rarely and if ever, have I heard someone say: I wish my mom weren't my mom.
What they do share though is this:
- how much they love their moms
- how they may have been confused or hurt by events that happened growing up but continue to want to understand themselves, work through conflict, and move forward in their lives
- how they wish their mom took care of her physical health and made more time for fun
- focusing less on the responsibilities and sacrificing her well-being
- how they wish their moms took care of her mental health, went to therapy and considered medication as recommended by a health professional because they could see she was avoiding her suffering and pain in her life
- that she would see her potential and strengths instead of focusing on her flaws
- that she would talk kinder to herself
- that she'd stop drinking alcohol and address the pain in her life
- that she'd forgive herself for the mistakes she made and move forward to live in the present and not the past
- and most importantly, they don't want a new mother; they love the mother they already have
Somewhere along the way, we forget how pure a child's love is for a parent, and we begin to measure our self-worth in actions, accomplishments, and achievements, believing we have to prove or earn our worth.
For a moment, step outside yourself, and imagine your child's perspective, thinking about you, their mom. Not the mom you are when setting a limit or enforcing a consequence or in a moment of frustration with one another. The mom I want you to focus on right now is the mom your child calls out to for reassurance after a nightmare. Or the mom they seek out for comfort when they've fallen off their bike or gotten hurt. And the mom they love to be around, even at the end of the day, when they ask for one more book or delay bedtime with questions about the adventures planned for tomorrow. They hold in their heart the the mom they want to be around as often as they can, and when they don't, feel reassured with you nearby, or able to reach out and connect with a simple text or call.
This is the MOM your child holds in their heart.
The part of you, I want to remind you of is the mom your child sees, filled with unconditional love, a nurturer, protector, helper, comforter, and the foundation of their heart.
Focus on what is true, that you are love, and your child doesn't know the language to measure your worth as a mama, because YOU are already everything to them.