“Mummy Fail”. I had never heard or used this term, before I had my daughter. I had always believed there were either ‘good mothers’ or ‘bad mothers’. I know, how could I have been so naive, so black and white? I had no idea. I have no idea.
19 months since becoming a mother to my daughter, and most days I can’t even tell you if I am a ‘good’ mother or a ‘bad’ mother.
I can tell you that some days, by the time I put my daughter to bed, I am so exhausted, so stressed, so strung out from the tantrums, or the crying, or the battles over food, or a combination of all of the above that i just sit and cry. I wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong that makes this so freakin hard.
I can tell you that by the second or third time that she has woken overnight, I sit next to her cot, crying, as I try and pat her back off to sleep. And when that doesn’t work, sometimes I shout at her ‘JUST GO TO SLEEP!’. Then I hate myself, a little , for shouting at her. I go and wake my husband, because I know I’m losing it. I tell him I hate my life, and I crawl under the doona and cry, whilst he takes his turn to try and get her back to sleep.
I can tell you that some days I am so tired, so mentally and physically exhausted, that I put one TV show after another on for her, just so I can breath, and think, and not lose my mind. Then I hate myself a little, as I remember all the articles I’ve read about how bad television is for children, as they shouldn’t even watch any television before they are 2 years old, let alone two episodes of Hi5 in a row.
I can tell you that sometimes I honestly feel like I hate being a mother. That I am no good at it, that I am failure, that I am messing everything up. The term ‘Mummy Fail’ should hang around my neck, like a scarlet letter.
I can tell you that I wish someone had told me being a mother could feel like this. That there is no such thing as a ‘text book baby’. How can there be, when every damn book is different?? That being a mother is wonderful, and amazing, and joyful, however it is also the hardest thing you will ever do. That you will doubt every decision you make, that you will be so tired some days that from the moment you wake up, you will be focused on just getting through the day, and getting back in bed again. That your worst enemy, at times, will be other mothers. That some women will cut you down, tell you what you are doing is wrong, attack your choices, and, the biggie, judge you. It will happen, at least once.
I can tell you, that no matter how many other mothers judge you, it will be nothing, NOTHING compared to how harshly you will judge yourself. As a mother, you are your own worst critic. At the risk of making assumptions, I think I can tell you why that is too.
A good mother is never going to be able to meet her own expectations. A good mother, loves their child so much, that they want to be the perfect mother. A good mother is always going to declare a ‘mummy fail’, as there is no such thing as a perfect mother. They are a myth, along with the ‘text book baby’. A good mother is going to make mistakes, and is going to feel guilty about every single one . A good mother knows there is no such thing as black and white when raising a child, just all shades of grey, mixed with a kaleidoscope of crayon colours.
So, maybe today, I can tell you that I’m a good mother. That I love my daughter more than I ever imagined possible, and I tell her that several times a day, even on our worst days. Maybe today, I can believe that I am not doing such a bad job.
I can tell you, beyond a doubt, that good mothers are not perfect, they just wish they were. xx