Hello everybody! I am super excited to announce the last of our new columns over at Motherhood: The Real Deal: The Not So Perfect Mum. Kicking off with this edition: You are enough, and penning her words of wisdom on motherhood I’m delighted to introduce Teresa Townsend.
Teresa is a Certified Coach, with in-depth experience and knowledge of parenting as a step-mum for over 25 years, and as a mum to a 16-year-old son of her own. She is passionate about helping people to see, that with simplicity, common-sense, honesty, love and humour, both parenting and life can be a joyful experience.
The Not So Perfect Mum: One of the greatest gifts you can give to your child
Have you ever looked around at some of your friends, family members, or gone on social media and wondered how these mums seem to have this parenting gig so under control?
They are all looking gorgeous, with their flowing hair, perfect matching outfit, and beautifully behaved children. You, on the other hand, are looking in the mirror with bags under your eyes, messy hair, in your jogging bottoms, hiding from your kids, wondering where on earth you went wrong.
I will let you into a little secret, no one has it all under control, and if anyone is telling you they have, they’re deluded. Yes, it’s true some people take to parenting like a duck to water, and others find this time more challenging. But there’s no doubt this time of our lives is the wildest adventure we could ever go on.
You are enough
With pressures at an all-time high, it is no surprise many of us mums are left feeling not good enough in one way or another. Not pretty enough, not a good enough mum, not slim enough, not a good enough partner, and I am here to remind you that you are enough.
We can be seduced into thinking through the images we see that unless we have the perfect figure, we are not enough, or if we do not have the white picket fence, then we have failed in someway – again not enough.
Knowing you are enough with or without cellulite; with or without a degree; with or without the white picket fence, is the place to begin.
It is ok to drop the ball
If you’re a working mum or a stay at home mum, I salute you both. Juggling so many balls at one time is not an easy task, and many of us can be left feeling exhausted, and burnt out. You simply cannot do everything, and it is ok to drop the ball on occasions.
If as an example you have worked all day and you’re too tired to cook a meal; get a takeaway or bung some fish fingers in the oven. Do not now spend the evening feeling guilty for not providing a wholesome meal, as once in a while it is ok to take the easy route (unless there is a medical reason).
Equally, there’s a school fete or some other get together at your children’s school, and they’ve asked the parents to bring in some cakes. If you’re the next Mary Berry, then this will be right up your street.
However, if you’re anything like me, I will always take the easy route, and drop into the supermarket the night before. Does this now mean I’m not a good enough mum because I did not spend hours baking, should I now downgrade myself in some way? Give myself a 5 of 10 for lack of effort?
Of course not, this would be ridiculous. Not to say I have not experienced the judgment looks on occasions, but get a life springs to mind. I had a friend who used to make regular negative comments because I did not make fresh bread, I hasten to add, she had a bread maker!
Focus on you and your family’s wellbeing
My message here is these are small things, and insignificant in the great scheme of things. Focusing on our child’s wellbeing, and equally importantly, our own should be the top of our priority list.
Wellbeing is paramount, with anxiety and depression on the rise in both adults and children; it is undoubtedly the area to put your energy. Ensuring your child has all their basic needs, including mental and emotional needs, is vital.
Letting them know they are enough, with or without a good grade is another excellent place to start. Checking they are happy, sleeping well, eating a balanced diet, socialising well at school, and so on, will going forward aid in creating a happy, well-rounded adult.
Taking time for yourself is essentials
Many mums I speak to find this challenging, and it does not have to be anything too wild or expensive. It could be a long soak in the bath, feet up with a good book, a movie night, or a long walk. It does not matter what you do, as long as it is for you.
These downtimes will give you space, a chance to fill up your glass, and an opportunity to be yourself again. I cannot stress this enough how important these times are; as you are their role model, they will learn from these times and know how to treat and value themselves.
I honestly cannot think of a better gift to give your child.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
- TIME FOR YOURSELF IS VITAL
- FOCUS ON YOU AND YOUR FAMILY’S WELLBEING
- KNOW YOU ARE ENOUGH
- GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DROP THE BALL FROM TIME TO TIME