Whenever I talk to mums one thing becomes clear they often feel not good enough. They feel not good enough because of the way they birthed. They feel not good enough because of not breastfeeding. They feel not good enough because their baby isn’t sleeping through the night. They feel not good enough because their little one is slower at crawling, slower to walk or be toilet trained or talking. Most of all they are sad because they often believe they are not doing enough, not a good enough mum for their little ones.
It is human nature to look at the negative. Some times this can be a good thing because it can help us see where we can improve and do better. Yet all too often when it comes to parenting the negative can take over and become the focus. It can cause mums to feel inadequate and greatly impact emotional wellbeing.
Especially when supporting mums who have had a difficult birth do I see the painful turmoil of them believing they didn’t do enough to prevent their difficult experience, leading to self blame and guilt.
So often we forget to see, and celebrate, the things that we have achieved. It maybe just getting out of bed and surviving the day, which somedays can be all we can manage. If we were to sit down and really think about all that we have and are achieving I know that it would far out way the things we ‘think’ we are not doing.
If we could all as families look more at what we ‘are’ achieving as apposed to what we think we ‘should’ be achieving then we would see how amazing we are. It can be hard because naturally we all compare ourselves to others, but each of us is individual and so are our circumstances. We all have different needs and personalities as well as abilities. We are all like snowflakes completely different and unique and yet beautiful in so many ways.
So what can we do to help us see what we have achieved?
One way is everyday before you close your eyes to think of one special moment that day. It may have just been your little one saying “I love you mum” or a story shared at bedtime. It may be that you built a tower of blocks or sang a nursery rhyme together, maybe you just held your little one close while they had their third tantrum of the day. Whatever it is, whatever that small moment means to you let it fill your mind and drift to your heart and let it whisper ‘you are good enough’.
This can also be done if your mind drifts to times when you feel you didn’t do enough. For many years I struggled because I wasn’t there for my daughter in the early days after her birth. My mind would imagine her lying there, alone and it would break more pieces of my already fragile heart. The more that I did this the more I berated myself for not being good enough. Yet I was missing something very important. I missed that I had nearly died, that I could do nothing about the situation but that I fought with all my might to be with her as soon as I could and then I never left her side. I was good enough, I just needed to see it.
Another way is a memory jar. Take a jar and get your little ones to help you to decorate it. Then whenever you do something, go somewhere, achieve something or enjoy something write it down and place it in the jar. It doesn’t have to be big things. It can be puddle splashing on the way home from school, or the final eruption of a tooth that has had you all endure sleepless nights. What matters is they are special moments to you and they help you see that you are good enough. Every so often empty the jar and look at all that you have done, I guarantee you will surprised.
When we can embrace the good moments and allow them to nourish us they help us to see that we are good enough, that we are giving so much to those that we love and we just need to see it.
In my work I am surrounded by mums and what I see are beautiful women trying hard to juggle life with all its pressures and difficulties, making sure they give all they can to those they love and often forsaking themselves. Many times they doubt they are good enough, sometimes because of their own questioning, sometimes because others feed those doubts. I wish I could hand them a magic mirror so they could peer into it and see themselves truly as they are, brave, strong, kind, generous and loving, the list is endless. They are are more than good enough they are the centre of their families universe and sometimes if you look close enough as they hold their babies close, deep in their eyes you will see stars dancing, because they are gifts, gifts to those they hold close and they are not only good enough but precious and deserving to know how amazing they truly are.