Everyone knows I’m a big fan of an inspirational quote. I’m also a fan of inspirational people, not just famous ones but everyday heroes, like the lady down the road, my best friend or the chap at work all facing the challenges trials and tribulations of life and remaining strong (these are all hypothetical examples before anyone starts checking up on my nearest and dearest) these things cause me to reflect on my mindset, thought pattern and how I approach the ups and downs of daily life. Today I read one that I want to break down a bit more, it goes like this, “the fact you are worrying about being a good mum, means you are.”
Brutally honesty, I don’t like it. As much as I feel like there is some truth in it, I don’t like the phrasing and it’s got me thinking. Why do we focus so much on being good enough? Hear me out. I don’t worry about being a good mum, I am a good mum. I don’t always get it right and I’m also guilty of using the phrase “mum guilt” and “mum worry” but in actual fact this needs to stop. The negativity of these phrases is terrible. I’m not a good mum because I worry about being a good mum, I’m a good mum because I reflect on my actions and approach to situations and experiences with little P.
I don’t always get things right when it comes to parenting, who does? But the fact remains I’m raising a small human, a real person and how she responds, feels and what she likes and dislikes is different to every other child. It’s what makes her unique. It’s what makes us all unique. So it’s not about being a “good mum” because there isn’t a set criteria for what is “good enough” for mine or anyone else’s child, it’s about what’s right for them. Now, I know there’s basic needs practical, physical and emotional that all children and people need but even then there’s discrepancies based on health conditions, allergies etc etc. So one size doesn’t fit all and what’s important is that as the two of us face a challenge, whether that be the most recent sleep battles and her clinging attachment, separation anxiety issues or something else, it’s about working through it as mother and daughter to figure about the best course of action for a positive outcome.
I went for a walk with a friend who’s opinion I really value and we discussed parenting, her boys are a lot older than P and grown up but her experiences in life have been very similar to mine in a lot of ways and I really appreciate her thoughts and advice. She spoke to me about how sometimes she has a word with herself and reminds herself of what and how she should expect and reflect on what she’s does as a mum and how to keep re-evaluating what and how to do things when raising kids. She really got me thinking about more than motherhood. We work together too and share similar values about education and are both ambitious so the conversation obviously veered off onto other topics but some of the principles remained the same.
You see it’s not just about altering the perception of being a good enough mum and more about doing the right thing. It’s more than that isn’t it? We live in such a diverse world, we meet people and situations in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways and have to approach and handle these in the most appropriate as best way possible. Take for instance job interviews and applications, is it always about being good enough, well yes and no. It’s also about being the right fit, is the establishment right for you, is it the most appropriate? Are you you right for there? Are you all on the same page with the same ethics, moral purpose and values. You might be good enough to do the job but as Simon Sinek always refers to, is your “why” the same, because if it’s not then despite how good you or the company are, the paths you are on and the goals you are working towards will not always align. Fact.
This principle could be applied to so much, friendships, lifestyles goals, relationships, fitness goals, interior design in your home, anything! It’s not about things being “good enough” it’s about them being right for you and anyone else involved. You cannot be a good enough friend if one just wants the friendship to be about a coffee or boozy night once in awhile whilst the other person wants a daily chat, regular check in and emotional support, it’s draining for one friend and unfulfilling for the other. It’s not a bad thing just a friendship mis-match. You cannot redesign your house with the idea of it being show home style and minimalist whilst your partner wants somewhere to be cosy and ordained with memories, artefacts and constant activities and creative outlets that disrupt your feng shui (cue my conversation with little P about putting toys away) you have to both be working towards the same goal and outcome as you revamp your living space, rather than one opting for function whilst the other focuses on fashion.
I mean, you don’t go clothes shopping try things on to see if they’re good enough, you try them on to see if they fit and are suitable for you. They might not fit you perfectly, they might need altering, the hem taking up or the trouser length shortening (the life of a short girl) or they might not suit you but look amazing on your bestie (story of my shopping life) but it doesn’t make the clothes not good enough.
So yes in short (no small girl pun intended) I am a good mum but not because I worry about being a good mum, because I reflect on how I’m parenting and keep adapting and changing to meet the physical and emotional needs of my little girl. Let’s change the phrases, let’s make them more positive, take out the worry and the good enough language and make it more reflective and empowering. Because it’s hard enough being a mum without the stuff meant to build us up having a negative connotation.