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However you choose to parent your children, you’ll probably always question certain elements of it. The trouble is that we have so many peers to compare ourselves with, and when you’re having a bad day as a mum, you’re bound to run into someone who seems to be doing the whole thing perfectly – with not a hair out of place.
Their kids are always clean and tidy, with hair brushed and co-ordinated outfits. They’re not only doing swimming and ballet after school, but they’re also learning to play a musical instrument. If you had to guess the mum’s star sign, maybe she’s a Taurus woman – confident, focus and practical. She’s probably a career woman who manages her kids as well as she manages her colleagues. You might feel scatty and disorganised in comparison (maybe you’re a Virgo or a Sagittarius?) but does it matter if your kids are happy and having fun?
The pressure that other mothers can unwittingly (most of the time), put on others is enormous, but if a mum just goes with her instinct and mothers in a way that is natural to her, she generally won’t go too far wrong.
We’re all different and have different approaches on life. It’s probable that if you’re a tidy and controlled kind of person, you’ll bring up your children so that they keep their rooms tidy and don’t act out with a tantrum in public. But your kids have their own characters and there’s no guarantee that they’ll toe the line in terms of behaviour. An organised mum might end up having the most outrageously behaved child. Whatever you get, you just have to deal with it in the best way you can.
Some women find they change totally with motherhood. They go from being the most organised person in the world to not being able to leave the house without going back three times for things they’ve forgotten. Others who were carefree and never planned ahead suddenly become master strategists, planning out their and the kids’ time to the last minute and living life on a routine that runs like clockwork.
So where do you fit on the mummy scale – at one end you’ve got the authoritarian who has control of their kids’ every move decision and at the other, the permissive parent who lets their kids do and have what they want? When you get the play-dough out, are you manically picking up the bits they drop on the floor, and more worried about the mess than if anyone’s having fun? Or when you and the kids make fairy cakes, do you allow them free rein with the sugar and flour so that the kitchen looks like a snow scene, leaving the clean-up til later, when the cakes have been baked and enjoyed?
Pregnancy releases all kinds of different hormones to equip your body and mind to be ready to be a mum, to protect and nurture the baby you’re carrying and will give birth to. A seemingly automatic side-effect that becoming a mum also seems to trigger is the ability to feel guilty about pretty much any aspect of the way she mothers her children – if she allows herself to. Even the perfect mums you aspire to be like probably worry if they’re doing this motherhood thing right.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which mum category you fall into – and you’re most likely not to fit neatly into any one stereotype. All that matters is that you love your kids and that you’ll always be there for them. A child couldn’t ask for more than that!