Ditch Perfection – Let’s Just Be Good Enough Mothers
Being a mother is by no means easy. And this blog is for all Good Enough Mothers. I will not get into the nine months of pregnancy woes or the pain of labor and the birth process. Those are perhaps only the tip of the iceberg or a preparatory phase to the journey afterward, which is even more daunting.
I am a mother to a 10-year-old boy, and it has been one roller coaster ride for me. Every moment has been a new experience, a mixed bag, with highs and lows but never without that sense of happiness to see my little one grow a little every day.
Yes! I Have Been Judged Too
I must say that I am not a very ‘responsible’ mother in the most traditional sense of the term. Now being a responsible mother is a very subjective concept. But I have often been questioned, judged, or given unsolicited advisories about my way of bringing up my child.
Many times, I wouldn’t remember his exam dates; most often, I mix up with his books, never remember his syllabus, and almost always cribbing and complaining about assignments. My PTM meeting with his teacher gets over in maybe 2 quick minutes without a barrage of questions to his class teacher, or my efforts in making his EVS project or Science Project may be the poorest in the class. I may not be able to churn out the best of kid-friendly culinary delights, or I may not be able to wake up at the crack of dawn to teach him a disciplined life. But that doesn’t make me a bad mother or an irresponsible mother. Still, I can say, I am one of all the good enough mothers.
Comparison Is Not Good
His little joys make me the most joyful mother, and I love flaunting his little milestones, but I do not believe in any kind of comparison or any kind of additional pressure. I want him to have a relaxed and stress-free childhood and, I do not want to take loads of an outdated curriculum. Learning is not just about the pedagogy or about his grades in classes. It is much more than that.
When I gave normal birth, almost everyone applauded me for not choosing the C-section. When I breastfed my son, I got some more applause. But when I joined back work after 4 months, I started being questioned for my choice. I received endless suggestions about food habits, about his milestones, about diapers, about clothes, about this toilet training, and the list is endless. Oh yes, flak on my body weight is one of the many advisories too!!
Oh! You Enjoy Me-Time?
Another question is, how do I manage my ‘ME’ time? Oh, you leave your child and go on trips with friends, or you indulge in the social life on your own. You do a lot of parties. And the funniest of it being ‘How do you get time to be so active on social media?’ I am a mother; for god’s sake, my life isn’t over!
In this process, many people don’t realize that they are in a way indulging in mom-shaming. With due respect to all the concerns and goodwill, a mother will know best how to take care of her child. Check out this beautiful yet inspiring tale on Me-time.
Are We Perfect In Any Way?
It is not like that good enough mothers come with an inherent instruction manual for the perfect upbringing of a child. And anyway, what is perfection? Who is a perfect mother?
Perfection is just the yardstick that you choose to measure anything based on societal norms or the so-called traditional ways or what you have always been asked to follow as conventional. Trying to fit into that mold drowns you into the sea of despair and frustrations because it is an endless abyss. It kills the joy of motherhood.
I believe perfection is a myth. Most parents can’t relate to those perfectly filtered alternate realities. What we see in movies or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram only adds to the woes.
Motherhood is not an idea or a concept. It is a relationship, a bond, and like any other human relationship. Motherhood is not a race. It is a slow and beautiful process of learning and growing along with your child.
Self Care Is Crucial
Also, your own life doesn’t come to an end with becoming a mother. Self-love and self-care are as important as your love and responsibilities for your child. If you can’t take care of yourself, how will you be able to take care of anything else?
A 2019 study of 13,000 parents worldwide found that 55% feel they are failing at the first year of parenthood. And moms are more likely to feel this way (60%) than dads (45%).
U know, by the way, all the judgments can often make you question your self-worth as a mother. And it is normal. All we need to do is take a moment to remind ourselves that there may be a thousand ways to bring up a child, and just because someone may do it differently does not mean that our way is wrong. Check this article on What Good Enough Mothers Do?
Enjoy Your Motherhood
Our role is critical in supporting the child grow physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and intellectually, to nurture and guide, to help them find their path in the journey of life, to help them find themselves, to help them grow up with compassion, to be that emotional anchor for them to grow up strong enough to deal with their struggles and failures as gracefully handling their success and achievements.
Also, the race for perfectionism is something that our children will imbibe from us. They will not be able to handle life with their share of setbacks and challenges, searching for a perfect life.
So, instead of giving in to all expectations, getting demotivated due to endless judgments and forcing ourselves to be an ‘ideal’ mother, let’s try to be a ‘good enough mother’ — a term that was coined by the British pediatrician and psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott in his famous book Playing and Reality.
To all the ‘good enough mothers’ in the world. You are enough, your love is enough, and you are the best in your way!!!