I am an amazing mother. I’m also a pretty damn shocking one. I am calm and patient and understanding. I’m also short tempered and irritable and impatient. I do things that build my kids up… and I do things that break them down.
Sound familiar? Or are you still seeing yourself through the lens of super mom or scary mom? Do you have yourself on a pedestal or in a pit? Are you tooting your own horn or dragging yourself though the mud?
The truth is, we all have all traits. We’re all sometimes fantastic and sometimes terrible. We’re all sometimes dependable and sometimes unavailable, sometimes present and sometimes distracted, sometimes kind and sometimes cruel. There’s no getting away from it. You are a human being, and like all human beings you have all traits. Not that this is good or bad either. Even our so-called “bad” traits have their place in the world and in parenting.
When we look at someone and fantasise that they are some kind of a super mom, what we are doing is firstly focusing only on their good traits (they have the opposite too, I promise, even if you’re not seeing it right now) and then being too humble to admit that we have those same good traits that they do. We may display these traits at a different time or even in a different way, but we have them.
We do the same then when we label someone as a scary mom. We focus in on their bad traits (and ignore the good ones that are definitely there too) and we’re too proud to see that we have those ”bad” traits too.
It’s actually a really helpful life lesson to do this. The people in our worlds will reflect to us the traits that we are too proud or humble to see in ourselves. If we can stop in those moments and find those traits, we will gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and will be more patient and loving with ourselves, our children, and everyone else.
So what makes someone a “good” parent then? If there were such a thing, I would say it would be someone who both acknowledges and embraces all traits in themselves, in their partner and in their kids; who allows themselves and their family to be normal and human and to express all their traits.
Too often, as parents, we are expecting ourselves or our children to only display one half of our nature – to be always good, kind, loving, generous, patient, respectful, truthful, trustworthy, helpful, humble, focused, charming, fun, and meticulous. Nobody can be expected to live that out on a day-to-day basis – it’s a recipe for rebellion at least and insanity at worst.
Every one of us is also lazy, rude, impulsive, quarrelsome, malicious, stingy, bossy, unfriendly, self-centred, arrogant, obnoxious and sullen. When we stop judging these traits as “bad” and see them as part of the colourful array of human traits that we’ve all been given, we’ll start moving away from self-judgement, guilt and self-minimization and start moving towards wholeness. We will also stop punishing our children for being human and will help them to grow up with a healthy self-image.
Let us embrace both super mom and scary mom and stop judging ourselves as being anything less than the perfectly multifaceted beings that we are.