5 Things I tell myself as a Good Enough Mum: By Ani Tuna at MumLife Australia.
It wasn’t long ago that I said goodbye to the over-stretched, overwhelmed, overtired mother I used to be, and gave myself permission to relax.
I stopped feeling guilty for using the TV as the babysitter to enjoy a hot coffee, or letting my youngest grizzle in bed for an extra couple minutes to get myself some more sleep.
I stopped pretending that I love playing tea-parties and admitted that more than four days in a row at home makes me crazy.
I stopped apologising for the mountains of dirty laundry waiting to be washed and the fridge that’s almost always empty.
Why? Because I’m a good enough mum.
Sure, some days I’m the Martha Stewart of craft and others I’m the Julia Childs of cooking.
But most days, I’m just an everyday mum trying to keep her head above water and doing her best to raise two happy and healthy children.
And you know what? That’s totally good enough!
So what do I tell myself on those days when I feel like I’m failing?
1. Perfect mum is not the standard – you just show up, that’s what you do
Perfect mum doesn’t exist. She’s nothing but a figment of your imagination. An occupational hazard.
Sure, there’s gourmet mum, fun-mum and even born-to-be-a-mum mum.
But perfect mum? Nope, she doesn’t exist.
So take a deep breath and move on.
2. Being a martyr mum will get you no-where
Without realising it, we can become victims to our kids.
We complain about how hard we work, how little we sleep, how we don’t get help from anyone, yet we rarely accept help from others (or worse, we accept it, only to later criticise the help).
We resent others (usually our spouses) who make time to enjoy their lives, but never allow ourselves that same opportunity.
We seek constant praise and sympathy for our sacrifices yet the person that values and appreciates us the least is often ourselves.
Here’s the thing – living the life of a martyr mum is no good for anyone. And let’s be honest – it’s not much fun!
Accept help when it’s offered. Be selfish sometimes. Get over your need for constant validation.
There is no award for the busiest, most self-sacrificing mum.
Just enjoy life. It’s too short to play the victim.
3. I can’t take care of others, until I first take care of myself
Life becomes a lot more enjoyable once you accept that taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your family.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t require a lot of time or money. But it does require a subtle shift in priorities and mindset.
In five minutes you could have a shower, dance to some music, flick through a magazine, sit in the sunshine, call a friend.
Of course, you may not always (or ever) have time for a two hour salon treatment or a long lunch with a girlfriend – but you’d be surprised at what you can do for yourself in just five minutes, twenty minutes or an hour.
4. Let go of the guilt!
There’s not a mother in the world who hasn’t gone to bed and lay there feeling guilty.
Guilty for working instead of staying home. Guilty for losing tempers, snapping and shouting. Guilty for not feeling guilty!
Whatever it is you feel guilty about – you just have to let it go.
We’re all doing the best we can. And it is good enough.
5. Pick your battles
Parenting is all about picking your battles.
There are some things worth fighting for and others that don’t matter so much.
Just as we’re not perfect, neither are our children. Decide what’s most important to YOU (and your family) and fight those battles. The rest – just let it slide.
And if your toddler insists on drinking out of the purple, polka dot cup (not the yellow one mum!) – then for heaven’s sake, just let them.
Thank you so much to Ani at MumLife Australia for submitting this post to #MyFiveThings! I couldn’t agree more on every sentiment and how we need to let go so much of the guilt that comes with parenthood.