First things first – let’s clear up the fact that there is no such thing as a “perfect mother”. Motherhood is an all-encompassing journey that will take you through the highs and lows of life, all while learning invaluable lessons along the way.
In our society, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to others, which extends to many different aspects, including motherhood. Society has constructed the “perfect mother myth” which tells us exactly how a mother should be and the stringent dos and don’ts of parenthood. Of course, there are some basic recommended rules to follow, but not everything will be smooth sailing from day one. So, are you living in the “perfect mother myth”? Here are four signs to look out for …
Your neighbor’s child has a private French tutor and Japanese tutor, she also goes to 5 different recreational classes a week, and they’re going to South Africa for the summer. You feel like you’re not providing the best for your child, and this constant comparison is becoming stressful. It can be difficult not to compare yourself to fellow mums, but it’s important to remember – every child is unique and every family has different values and circumstances. There is no single set of rules of what’s best for your child and your family.
After pregnancy, it’s natural for many women to feel strongly connected to their child, especially after being in the womb for nine months. Your life seems to revolve solely around your child and you go to bed every night exhausted. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Listen to your body. What does it need? Keep yourself hydrated, eat well, get enough rest and sleep, and stay physically active. Sounds impossible? Learn to ask for the help you need and do the things that give you peace.
You may see your friends or those influencers always at their best on Instagram. Truth is, we all have our struggles and tears. Even if we could be that “perfect mother”, that wouldn’t actually be the best thing for our children, because it takes away the opportunity to not only experience the full complexity and richness of life as a human being but also takes away from our children to witness their mothers in their full humanness by asking ourselves to only present one piece of ourselves, to our children and to the world. As British Pediatrician and Psychologist Donald Winnicot said “The way to be a good mother is to be a good enough mother”. Babies and children need their mothers to fail them in tolerable ways on a regular basis so they can learn to live in an imperfect world.
As mothers, it’s so easy for us to believe that we have to do it all. Motherhood is not a one-person job and asking for the support that you need doesn’t make you a failure. I believe that in our life journeys, there’re seasons of giving and receiving. As we enter the season of motherhood, I want you to know that it is ok to be in a season of receiving and be able to accept help graciously.
Author: Janice is a Psychotherapist, Counsellor, and Certified Motherhood Educator, with Maternal Mental Health being her keen focus. As Hong Kong’s first Certified Motherhood Educator, She is deeply committed to guiding women through early motherhood and provides mental health support to expectant women, mothers, and couples adjusting to parenthood. She adopts a variety of evidence-based approaches according to the needs of every unique individual, including CBT, Mindfulness, Play & Art Therapy.
This article was independently written by a third person or organisation. The opinions expressed in this article are of those of the authors. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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