“Being a mother is NOT about being a martyr and giving up everything that makes you happy. It is NOT about sacrificing your own identity to that of your children. It is NOT about being oppressed and unhappy”
from Sleepless Night by Veronica Foale
This statement, for me, is one of the most profound statements I have read on motherhood. It is also one that few mothers understand.
I recently joined a group of moms mainly to try and build up a new network of people. But within a week of trying to participate I actually couldn’t do it anymore. It is also the same reason I left a parenting forum I was part of.
I am a mother and as a mother my children do come first but not at the expense of who I am as a person.
I personally do not see the value in the breastfeeding vs. bottle and Caesar vs. natural debates that ultimately end in harsh words and unfair judgment! I had two Caesars and did not enjoy breastfeeding at all so did it for a very short time and not exclusively! SO WHAT? How does that affect anyone else’s child? I made the decision and I will deal with any consequences of it! If and when a new mom asks for my opinion I will give them just that – my opinion of what worked well for me and my children.
My opinion is not gospel. It’s not necessarily right nor is it what I expect you to do. I rarely justify my decisions but I do find that when I am around other mothers I often feel I should justify why my kids eat cake for breakfast and both still have a sports bottle at night! It annoys me no end.
Parenting is scary and even if you follow the crowd there is a strong chance you will still get it wrong. There is nothing like a screaming newborn or a tantruming toddler to bring a grown person to their knees in a ball of insecure misery! If you have a child you have been there! So why not trust yourself and follow your instinct and to hell with everyone else.
When 2 or more mothers find themselves in a space together its like they loose all sense of self and turn into competitive freaks who think by giving up their happiness they are ensuring their kids happiness. This is in fact the exact opposite.
A friend of mine tells me often that the only way kids learn is through what they see. If a child sees its parents functioning as whole people, having interests and hobbies and activities outside of them – they will learn to balance their lives. When a child sees their parents devoting time to each other – they will learn to do the same with their partner.
You can not teach a child to be happy – you have to be happy!
So this mothers day be happy! Enjoy your child as they are. Leave the house as it is. Put away your boobs, bottles, flash cards and Baby Whisperer and just laugh a little bit!