Due to the work I do with parents I find that people often look to me as an example of a perfect mom. Am I? Well what is your definition of a perfect mom? If it is someone who never loses her temper, never says something inappropriate, never needs a holiday from her kids, never hides from them, is always fully present and patient and understanding and oozes love every moment of the day and never sits crying in a heap on the kitchen floor, then no.
There is no perfect parenting state that you can reach and then all is hunky-dorey. Parenting is a process of growth – both yours and your child’s. It is a relationship with another human being, and it is always these close relationships that help us to grow the most, that push our buttons, that challenge us. And this doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent – it’s part of the deal. You are raising yourself, not them. YOU are growing – as a person.
And your kids need to see you fall apart at times – to see that you can crack and lose the plot and scream and cry… and that you recover afterwards, admit your weaknesses and apologise for any harm done. It is this very humanness that helps them to accept themselves with all their own human frailties. By seeing you fall apart and recover, they know that when they fall apart they, too, can come right again.
So let’s redefine the perfect mother as a woman, who happens to have a child, who lives and accepts herself with all her perceived faults and problems; for such a woman will also love her child with all their limitations and will raise that child to love themselves no matter what. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for – unconditional love? Start by giving it to yourself.