by Sally Cameron, midwife, mother of 2 and co-owner of earthbabies . I am passionate, creative, trying to be Green unschooling single mom. It’s a journey
Being a mother is a life changing role that nothing can prepare you for, no matter how much you read, or plan, or try to get mentally ready for.
Perhaps the biggest part that we are ill prepared for, more than the sleepless nights and the change in routine, is two emotions that no one really talks about; guilt and doubt.
It does not matter how competent you were at any job, or the high powered position you may have held, or how confident you were, parenting is a job where the stakes are higher than anything you will ever have done before, or will do again, and the worst part, is that there is no manual. Sure there are plenty of how to books, with all sorts of ideas, but the small people we get, are each individual, unique and different to any other child, so any manual is at best a guess, and may not suit you or your child’s temperament.
The best option you have, is to find what seems to work for you and your child or what you believe is right. Then you land up defending this method to all others because the outcome is so important. You can’t be wrong because then your child’s future is at stake. And while you will defend what you do, to the death, the doubt will gnaw at you in the quiet moments –“ have I really got it right?” If you are right then they should turn out okay, and if not then others will look at you and shake their heads and say; you were too strict or too lenient, too permissive or too dominant, you crushed their spirits or you let them run wild, you worked or you stayed at home.
I do not think we all need to parent in the same way but we need to acknowledge that at best we are all guessing and trying to get it right. Maybe if we defend less and share our insecurities more we may be able to learn more from each other and grow as parents, rather than tear each other apart by defending what we do, tooth and nail.
This Mothers Day, add a healthy dose of ‘cutting-yourself-some-slack’ and go out and enjoy the things that make this job, no matter the difficulties, one of the best and most rewarding things you will ever do. Shelve the guilt, ignore the doubt and revel in the joy, those pesky emotions will be there waiting for you again on Monday…
Happy Mother’s Day.