04 December 2014
I am a clever person. I did extremely well in school (dux of college), at university (three degrees) and I’ve always been considered a devoted employee who learns and adapts quickly. In fact, I have that in my resume under a heading ‘Personal Qualities’ – ‘a quick learner; flexible and adaptable’.
So why, I would like to ask, has motherhood been such a challenge?
I am now a mother of three (11, 6 and 2 years old) and I’m not all that convinced it’s gotten any easier or I’ve gotten any better over the years.
I often wonder if I had applied for the ‘job’ of being a mother, if I would have done better… Perhaps I would have been more organised, researched and structured. Perhaps I would have had each day perfectly mapped out with excellent educational activities and integrated life experiences. Perhaps I would not have allowed myself to be distracted by other things when I was with the kids like phone calls, housework, grocery shopping or my job. Or I would have dealt with tantrums or moods better. Or wouldn’t have minded when they’d made a mess. Or I would have let them join in with the cooking because my focus would have been on them having fun and learning a skill rather than just cracking on and getting the dinner ready. Or I wouldn’t have let them watch as much TV. [Insert just about anything else here that has made you feel guilty after the fact].
Over the years, I have found I’m not alone in my grievances. Motherhood seems to be a role plagued by constant worry and guilt. In fact, of all the other mothers I have come across to date, I have not yet met anyone who has been confident in themselves as an ‘excellent mother’. Why??? We all want what’s best for our children. We all make sacrifices because of our children. We all love them unconditionally. Is that not enough in itself to make us excellent mothers?
So here’s my big secret that I would like to share with you…
You are already an excellent mother.
And the more you actually believe it, the more excellent you will become. In fact, there are only three simple ‘Rules of Excellence’ that you need to follow in order to guarantee that you will stay excellent…
Are you ready? Read carefully.
Rule #1: Don’t worry. Chill out. You are already an excellent mother. You do not need to preoccupy yourself with all the little fears and distractions and guilt-trips that might enter your mind. In fact, it is often exactly these that make you more uptight and less awesome. The more you relax and ‘go with the flow’, the more excellent you seem to become.
Rule #2: Always remember you are not alone. Whatever you feel as a mother, someone has felt it before, and someone else is also feeling it right now. Everything from extreme happiness, love and pride to feeling like you are going to scream or cry or rip your hair out with frustration or simply just pass out from boredom. It’s all actually normal.
Rule #3: Make enough me-time. This not only includes making sure you have enough sleep and rest, but also enough time to do something you enjoy doing – be it catching up with some friends to have an ‘adult conversation’, having a coffee without interruptions, reading a book, watching a movie, going to the gym or just going for a random drive. Whatever you feel you need to top up your own tank. You just can’t be great for other people if you’re not feeling great yourself.