I’m not asking you to tell me the stuff you feel shame for, guilty over or embarrassed about. But I am asking you to be honest with yourself.
I don’t need you to see my perfect Instagram life or that life is all roses on my side of the fence. But I am asking you to see past all this and know we are all fighting the same battles.
There is no such thing as the perfect parent or the perfect life with kids. Well not at least in the sense that we all think about. Every single one of us has an imperfectly perfect life, inevitably flawed, at times broken, yet authentic and filled with love and always hope.
Too many of us are judging ourselves and self shaming because we don’t fit into society’s version of what a mum is meant to do, be, say, act and look like. Modern mums have it tough. I do believe we have many more challenges than other generations. The version of what is socially acceptable used to be a completely different picture, the image of a mum was focused on her being the primary carer at home. Now our vision of a mum is much broader and more flexible, which is liberating for women. But with that flexibility we have begun to fill more space with expectation. We are expected to be it all and have it all. The pressure on women is mind boggling, and that is because it is often self- imposed pressure. We need to be the mum that has the perfect Instagram life. We need to be fit and fabulous 6 weeks post-partum. We need to balance home life, a career and family without missing a beat. We need to take care of others before ourselves. We need to be gentle parents who don’t yell, smack or send them for ‘time outs’. We need to live up to this image that was created by a warped view of what being a mum is all about.
We need to drop the comparison – no other human being on this planet was created just like you. We look different, speak different, have differing opinions and approaches. We were never meant to be like each other, so stop trying to be someone you’re not and just be you.
We need to forgive ourselves – mums are so hard on themselves for any error in judgement or mistake they ever make. We convince ourselves that these moments will be stored in our children’s memory bank or that this one decision has altered their life path. Parenting is a lesson for both us and our children, don’t forget that. Forgive yourself because there is no point in holding all that judgement against yourself.
We so desperately need to practice self love – if we were a society filled with women who knew how to honour their sacredness and just love themselves how they are… we wouldn’t be influenced and swayed by society, social media and peer or family pressure. With self love you become grounded, centred and nothing can penetrate that love. No insecurities, comparison and self judgements will be able to stay with you if you believe in who you are and how special you are.
Now I don’t want you to think I’ve got this all worked out.
There are many days when I body shame myself. There are many days when I question my parenting abilities… probably too many days. There are even more times when I question my worth and don’t just love me for me. But this is all part of it for me… learning. As long as I can acknowledge where there is space for me to grow and develop, then I don’t consider any of these lapses in behaviour a failure. It’s just one more step along the way. So I may not have it all figured out, all of the time. But one thing I do know is that we are all on the same path just trying to work out what’s next. Not every mother will have the exact same journey as you, she will have her own struggles but none of us have it worked out. None of us are perfect. Every single one of us lives a human life and therefore will always make “mistakes”. Even those people with beautiful Instagram pages.
Take a look in the mirror sometime today and tell me what you see. Better still, let go of the comparison, invite forgiveness and try welcoming self love into your heart – and then tell me what you see.
I can almost guarantee I see a mum who most days never has it worked out.
Some days she feels calm, balanced and confident, yet other moments she is barely keeping her head above water.
A mum who gives her everything and sacrifices herself in order to see her children smiling and happy at heart.
A mum who is tired beyond the meaning of the word yet still stays up late with crying babes or ironing school uniforms.
A mum who desperately wants to love and appreciate her body, but who has trouble seeing past what she thinks her body “should” look like.
A woman who deep inside loves being a mum, but knows she lost herself in amongst it all for a while.
A woman who is amazing beyond her own belief, a woman who created and nurtured life, a woman who dedicates so much of herself to the growth, development and flourishing of another human being.
Can you see the perfect woman before you?