The imperfect mother

Do you know what really, really winds me up about motherhood? The other mothers who want to tell you that you’re not as good as them because you’re doing things differently. The women who never struggled with breastfeeding and want you to know that your child is going to suffer forever for your failure. The mothers whose unassisted home births were the epitome of wondrous perfection, while your “fearful”, “clinical” [fucking painful] birth experience was “unnatural”. The fact that there’s always somebody somewhere, sitting on a soapbox and waiting to tell you that everything you are doing for your children is WRONG.

It must be wonderful to be perfect, to never lose your shit with your kids for crayoning on the wall AGAIN or upending the cat food all over the floor for the gazillionth time or having a screaming tantrum over fucking breakfast cereal every sodding morning. But you know what? I’m okay with my imperfect children and my imperfect life. My kids weren’t EBF for the first six months of their lives and they weren’t weaned on organic spinach and minted pea purée. I did the best I could, and I really doubt that they’ll grow up to be serial killers or those really annoying people who get “you’re” and “your” mixed up all the time.

Do they look unhappy to you?

These mothers are all over the place, and while they present the Earth Mother facade, they can be alarmingly hostile if you don’t share their ideology. We get it; you gave birth to your child in a summer meadow beside a babbling brook while the birds in the trees around you sang an ode to your greatness. That’s lovely for you. And you’re going to breastfeed your offspring until they start school and maybe even beyond. I’m happy for you. I really, really am. But you don’t speak for me. You don’t get to tell me how I should have experienced birth or the “right” way to raise my children.

What I’d love to know is what qualifies these women (and I’m sorry to say this, but it’s usually women) to judge anyone else on anything they do. Is it because they want everyone else to feel inferior to them? To want to be them? To feel like, by comparison, they will never, ever be good enough? Is it because – and I’m going to say this really quietly because I think it’s supposed to be a secret… but could it possibly be that they’re just a teeny, tiny bit insecure?

These are the women who never post a blog or a tweet about their shit day/week/month. They never admit to yelling at their kids or bingeing on chocolate or using CBeebies as bribery. They only ever tell us about the things that make us feel small and crappy. And while I don’t actually believe that ownership of a uterus creates any kind of “sisterhood” or whatever, it really wouldn’t hurt for us to be supportive of one another, especially during the shitty times. Because I don’t know about you, but when I’m sitting on the sofa at 8pm, staring vacantly at the wall and wondering why my three year-old occasionally very closely resembles a gnome with bi-polar disorder, the last thing I need to see is a tweet from a woman who wants to tell that I’m fucking up his life in one way or another. Guess what? I didn’t ask for your opinion.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again; this is hard. It’s hard trying to figure out what the right thing for your children is when there’s so much conflicting advice out there. It’s hard trying to be patient when you’ve had a rubbish day and you’re tired or battling with a stress headache. It’s really fucking hard to not feel like an absolute failure when something goes wrong, whether it’s a small thing like an upside down bowl of purée on the carpet (which can often feel like the biggest thing in the world), or something fundamentally important to you like deciding it’s time to stop breastfeeding. Having someone point out the flaws in your parenting doesn’t make it any easier; it just makes the harder days even harder.

So, I’m just going to say this, from one struggling, imperfect mother to another; all you can do is your best, and that is enough for your children. Please, please don’t let anybody make you feel like it isn’t.

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11 comments

  1. That Random Guy · March 30, 2016

    https://t.co/JfpuMjzKVK
    Like for like?

    Like

  2. mymanytitles · March 30, 2016

    Great post!! I can’t find the follow button so I can keep up to date with your blog, I may be going blind but if you can point me in the right direction that would be great! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · March 30, 2016

      Oh, you sweetheart! Thank you! I’ve been a little nervous about this one because I thought I’d probably offend some people…

      I use WP on the iPhone app and the follow button kind of appears in the bottom right corner of the screen as I scroll. I don’t know if that helps?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mymanytitles · March 30, 2016

        Yay I found it! Don’t worry about offending people, there is always going to be one 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · March 30, 2016

        Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to engage :). I’m just heading over to read through some of your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. babiesbiscuitsandbooze · April 2, 2016

    Really enjoyed this. People do so love to foist their opinions on others and it’s totally unnecessary. The things that work for one family won’t work for others. Everyone needs to respect other parents choices!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 2, 2016

      Thank you, you’re absolutely right. I don’t understand why some parents have to be so judgmental of others. Aren’t we all just trying our best and muddling through, or do they have access to some Perfect Parenting Manual I’m not aware of?!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. momlifeandmore · April 2, 2016

    LOL!! Some of this is hilarious! I really dislike when women do stuff like this, especially women in my family who want to compare my sons progress to everyone else in the family. It make’s me sick and it hurts too because I try my hardest, even on the days when I’m not doing much.

    Just because it’s my first child doesn’t mean that I need you to hold my hand and tell me how to take care of my child. Most of these women were the same ones who hated when people did this to them. I pray that I don’t do this in the future. I try to openly accept advice and criticism, but it’s hard when I didn’t ask for it!!! Lol

    I really love this post, but I’ll stop here because I’m going to end up writing another blog in the comment section lol. I’m currently dealing with this while my husband and I are out of town visiting his parents/siblings, so that’s probably why I’m so pumped up about this post right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • momlifeandmore · April 2, 2016

      Oh yea, I found you at Just Another Linky 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 3, 2016

      Many other mothers still do this to me now, even though I’m on my second child and my first one – besides being a threenager a lot of the time right now – is doing great. I think it has more to do with their insecurities about their parenting than anything you or I are doing “wrong”, to be honest. I’m sure that you, like me, are doing your best even on the shitty days when you don’t know how you will survive the exhaustion until bedtime. And if your little one knows that you love him/her then that’s all that really matters.

      Thank you for engaging here. It’s lovely to hear from other mums about their experiences too :). X

      Liked by 1 person

  5. mummyhereandthere · April 3, 2016

    You nailed this, you have similar experiences and thoughts too me. I am glad I am not alone and I love the thought about the gnome and bipolar, haha crazy times X #justanotherlinky

    Liked by 1 person

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