Monday, January 9, 2017

Mothers: You Can’t Please Everyone, But Who Cares?

I’d just like you to know that you’ve failed miserably as a parent. In someone’s eyes, anyway.

It’s an insecurity and a sense of inadequacy felt by most mothers and is either a reflection of internal battles or something that’s been said aloud by someone else outside of you. If you’ve taken a few years out from your career to stay home and raise your little bundle of joy, some ignoramus is going to say that you’re lazily sitting there painting your toenails all day. If you’re back in the office working hard towards your family’s future, someone out there is going to say that you’re not giving your kids what they need. No matter what you do, the choices you make for your family can feel like a lose-lose situation.

Here’s the good news: both of those statements are wrong.

If you practice attachment parenting, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing, someone’s going to tell you that the baby shouldn’t be in your bed, they should be crying it out in the cot. If your toddler is having a huge tantrum in the mall because they’re not getting that shiny new toy, someone is probably glaring at you in the aisles and muttering something about the lack of discipline in kids these days, or even worse, confronting you about your supposed failure as a mother/human being.

Those people might not even have their own kids. But they sure do have opinions.

Fast-forward 18 years and nobody can tell which kid was sleeping in a cot or a bed or who went to daycare and whose mother stayed at home — those hang-ups feel almost trivial. If you’re giving your kid a loving home, nurturing their hearts and minds, and doing your best by them, then guess what? There’s still a lot of people who are going to tell you what a bad job you’re supposedly doing, and parent-shaming you. Please ignore them. You’re doing just fine. And your job is to be a great mother, not to achieve the impossible goal of pleasing everyone else.

Accept it for what it is. No matter what you do, no matter how loving and caring and just generally awesome at being a mum you are, somebody will think you’re absolutely crap at it. But why should you care, when you know that they’re wrong?

Stop seeking external approval.

Seeking approval at an emotional cost is an all-too-common habit that holds many of us back and damages our self-esteem. Women often feel pressured to please everyone around them, and when you become a mother, suddenly it’s ten times worse. You’ll be made to feel guilty at every turn, like you’re not trying hard enough, and like real mothers are superwomen with perfect makeup and a radiant Madonna-and-child glow who are handling 100 tasks at once with a constant smile on their face (and no mystery stains on their shirt).

By all means, seek constructive advice, but if anyone is coercing you, bullying you, invalidating you, or nagging you to do things their way, then seriously, you’re probably not the problem. As the primary caregiver of a tiny little human who you love and want the best for, you deserve a reasonable amount of respect and autonomy. You don’t have to follow great-aunt Agnes’ must-follow tips (from that parenting manual she read back in 1953), or parenting advice from that “psychic” that your mother-in-law keeps visiting. If you can ignore well-intentioned pressure from your loved ones, then you certainly don’t have to satisfy the expectations of complete strangers.

You’re allowed to say “no”, “go away”, or even “leave me the heck alone” if you have to. Often times, you’ll be doing that because you’re a good mother and ultimately want the best for your child.

So embrace the fact that you’ve already failed miserably at pleasing the mum-guilt-propagating community of interfering naysayers, and just carry on succeeding at being the best mother you can be to that little angel gazing back at you (when they’re not throwing a tantrum, anyway), who loves you for exactly who you are to them: a good mother.

You’re the most awesome failure out there, so hold your head up high.

(This article first published on The M Word)

Featured photo credit: iStock by Getty Images via

The post Mothers: You Can’t Please Everyone, But Who Cares? appeared first on Lifehack.

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