Before I became a mother, I read ALL THE THINGS. "How not to f*ck them up" was one of them. I was going to ace this motherhood gig and do things the 'right' way to raise a securely attached, confident, lovely human being.
Sound familiar? Maybe you've found yourself 'down the rabbit hole' of trying to be the 'perfect mother' too. You'll know it if you have other voices in your head, that aren't your own, telling you how to do things, or berating you when you 'fall short' or you're not 'conscious enough'.
In my case, all the voices in my head from all the 'experts' didn't know one thing; they didn't know me. The parts of myself I would face, the buried beliefs I would invariably dig up, the long-lost pain of the past that was creeping into my consciousness saying, 'come, this is the way', when I want to run in the opposite direction, numb out, or fight it.
Because the thing is, whatever we have 'run from' in our own childhood, we are going to 'run into' with our own children, until we can make conscious the unconscious dynamic that's at play.
That thing they do that gets you going from calm and centred to wild, within seconds? It's not isolated to them, like a mirror it's reflective of something bigger, and not separate from us. The anger masks the fear that's coded into our brain, because our children 'plug us in' to our own 1,2,3,4+ year-old selves, to face, and integrate, what we've got marked as 'unhealed' in the recesses of our psyche.
Facing these parts of ourselves - THIS is the work of motherhood, if we are to step into our greatest alignment as parents. Beyond the tasks, techniques and service to our children, is the awareness we are being called to give to ourselves, and the dynamic we are in with our children and family.
What is it you find you are most judging yourself for in mothering? Where did you pick up that belief? If you think it's true - who said so?
Do you have a version of the 'gold standard' in mothering? What does that look like? Have you ever considered what the drawbacks might be to you or your children if you were 'that'?
When we want the very best for our children, we can tend to internalise the voices and opinions of others who we look up to, instead of connecting to our authentic selves and bringing the best of 'us' to the moment. Our children can send when we're wobbly or incongruent, and keep pushing the same 'button' for us to help us find our voice, transform old beliefs, and smash our fantasies of there being 'one right way'.
So I'm not going to be the poster 'Pinterest' mum.
Nor am I going to play on the floor with them happily for hours on end.
But I'm going to listen to my children, respect their wholeness, and nourish them as best I can.
You've heard it a thousand times before - there is no 'perfect mother', but there's a million ways to be a good one. When you step into your unique truth, values, and vision for yourself and your family (and no one else), this is where you get to shine, and feel aligned. Your children are guiding the way - and in your greatest 'rub' with them, lies your greatest wisdom. May you find the space within you to feel it, hear it and see it. You've got this, mama.
Bridget Wood is Co-Founder of Nourishing The Mother and a lover of life and connecting people to themselves through wisdom, introspection and quality questions. Bridget is also the Director and Events Manager of Suburban Sandcastles. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to understand the bigger picture of human behaviour and how the world works, Bridget is on an inspired path to learn more deeply who we are beyond the limitations that we, and our society and culture, place upon upon us.