INSIDE: It’s all too easy to judge how good a mother we are by all the things we’re not doing for our kids. But we’re all a much better mum than we give ourselves credit for. In this post, I’m sharing why and my own struggle with knowing that what I’m doing really is good enough.
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I like to think I do as much as I can with my kids. That I’m being and giving them everything they could possibly need and want from me. Most days I achieve this. But there are some days where I feel like I don’t. Days where I feel like I’m failing miserably. Days where I compare myself to other mums and what they’re doing. And sometimes it makes me feel like what I’m doing isn’t quite good enough. That I should be a better mum.
You see, there are the soccer mums and the organic mums. There are the mums who help at every extracurricular activity and the mums who are always bright and breezy in the morning. There are the mums who help out with reading in class and the mums who make the most amazing costumes for dress-up day.
But I’m none of those mums…
Harrison doesn’t play sports after school, his packed lunches aren’t always the healthiest and I don’t help out with school trips. I choose not to buy his class photo every year. I often forget to pay for cooking classes and I regularly read the school newsletter two weeks too late. I’m far from a fresh-faced playground mum too. If I’m lucky, my makeup gets thrown on in the last 30 seconds before I leave the house – usually at the same time as hunting for Harrison’s shoes and coat whilst simultaneously trying to get the dog into the kitchen.
Until fairly recently, these things really bugged me. I felt like Harrison was missing out by not playing football or rugby. I felt like it was about time I made some of those amazing-looking lunches I’d saved on Pinterest but never actually tried. That I should be going into class to help him and his friends read and swim. That I should be calm and collected when we left for school each morning instead of it being a mad, fraught rush.
Being the best mum I can be…
When I thought about all the things I wasn’t doing compared to other mums it would make me feel like a failure. I would beat myself up and tell myself I needed to try harder. That I needed to be a better mum. But then I read a post that made me realise I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. It made me realise I was doing a much better job than I gave myself credit for. That I was a better mum than I thought I was. That it was the things I was doing that mattered. And that what I was doing WAS enough.
In the post, It’s what I don’t do that makes me the best mom I can be, Elizabeth Spencer shared every one of the parenting things she wasn’t doing. She explained that by not doing these things, she has the time, energy and passion to be the best mum she can be.
Knowing what really matters…
Reading her post made me realise that all the things I was doing mattered SO MUCH MORE than all the things I was beating myself up over not doing. All the things I am doing far outweigh all the things I don’t do. Harrison might not do all the extra-curricular activities. I might not go on all the school trips with him. But I do:
- Tell both my boys they’re my world.
- Always greet them with a smile.
- Tell them how proud they make me.
- Hug them every opportunity I can – and I wait for them to let go first.
- Squeeze Harrison’s hand three times when we hold hands – our secret code for ‘I love you‘.
- The last thing I say every single day when I drop him off at school is ‘have a good day, I love you‘.
- The first thing I say when I pick him up is ‘how was your day, what did you do today?’.
- He still has regular visits from the Tickle Monster and Huggle Monster and we’re silly until we’re both fit to burst with giggles.
- We make yummy family breakfasts together on the weekends.
- We spend the first hour on a Saturday morning snuggled on the sofa watching cartoons before everyone else is up.
- I write him notes and leave them at the end of the bed for him to find in the morning.
- We go for a hot chocolate and brownie at our favourite cafe once a week.
- And every night, when I go to bed, I kiss Harrison’s forehead, stroke his cheek and whisper ‘I love you‘ in his ear
On being a better mum…
It’s so easy to focus on and beat ourselves up over all the things we’re not doing when we’re trying to be a good parent. The things we think we should be doing that would make us a better mum. But Elizabeth is right. By not doing EVERYTHING we’re freeing up our ‘time and energy and passion and enthusiasm‘ for the things that matter. And, when we acknowledge all the things we ARE doing, we realise that we have this parenting thing nailed far more than we give ourselves credit for. That we’re so much more a better mum than we think we are.
There will always be things I think I should be doing, but I’m happy in the knowledge that all the things I am doing totally outweigh the things I’m not. And it’s the same for you too.
And so, next time you find you’re judging yourself over all the things you don’t do, stop those thoughts in their tracks. Make a list of all the things you ARE doing instead and give yourself a pat on the back. Because you’re doing great and you’re already a better mum!
Until next time…
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