Being a mummy is the most important job I have and it’s also the one that I worry about the most. I worry constantly about the decisions we have made and the effect they will have had on our girls. Was it the right thing to move them to the other side of the world? Should we stay here or move somewhere else?
Then there are those recurring worries that make up the fabric of every day life – is it okay for children to have Nutella on toast for breakfast every single day? Should I make them eat more vegetables and less sugar? Should I have let them quit gymnastics? Should they do more after school activities or less? How much pocket money should they get? Should I be getting them to do more school work at home? What time should they be going to bed?…
I have tried over the years to avoid comparing myself to other mums who often seem more organised, efficient and productive than me but I have to admit that I still sometimes feel intimidated by the mums who seem to be able to do it all with polish and aplomb and I am guessing other mums might too.
I imagine other mums lovingly preparing dinner and the whole family gathering around the table to eat and discuss their day, while reality for us is often beans on toast sitting on the floor in the lounge. While other mums seem to sweep gracefully from activity to activity, I literally stumble and trip in my old woolly boots, fuelled by coffee, usually running late. I am the teacher mum who forgets to make time for my girls to do their homework and I have no imagination whatsoever when it comes to making the dreaded packed lunch.
I question my decisions constantly and worry often about my job as a mum because it is the most important job I have ever had or will ever have and I know I am not alone. Mums and dads are usually their own worst critic – often disregarding the hundreds of small amazing things they do every single day for their children to agonise over the one small thing they feel they didn’t do so well like an impatient tired response to yet another question or heading to the drive-through at the end of a long day. This is perhaps because unlike other jobs we hold, there is no review or appraisal process to be undertaken and no opportunity to reflect on the strengths we bring to this special job.
Over the past couple of years, I have consciously adopted the motto -“try your best then let it go” and I am trying hard to apply it to all areas of my life. It is in my role as a mum that it has been most useful though. Instead of letting my worries and decisions overwhelm me, I am trying to accept that I am a super woman, not Superwoman. I can’t predict or control the future, I can’t be in two places at the same time, I have limited funds at my disposal and only four limbs.
Trying my best as a parent, means being guided by love. Remembering that I want our girls to always feel safe and secure in the knowledge that they are loved. It means trying to respond with love in my voice and in my actions, even if I am tired, sick, sad or frustrated. It also means treating myself with love, accepting that there is no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect family.
Today I want to encourage mums and dads to reflect on their most important job. Be proud of all you have accomplished, raising human beings is no easy feat. Give yourself some grace and know that if you are doing your best- it is enough.