THE irony is not lost on me.
Here I am writing a column on guilt-free motherhood while feeling guilty because it has taken me so long to do.
I often say, if I could give any new mother a gift, it would be guilt-free motherhood, after all we are all just flawed human beings doing our best. Whether you are home schooling, trying to protect your children from the world or in the school system trying to live in the world knowing we are not of the world, each mother is only trying to do what she perceives as best for her child.
Paediatrician Dr Meg Meeker says “some mums need to work a little, exercise, pray more or go out with friends periodically. These aren’t selfish things. They are important because they help us to be kind, and being patient with our kids is crucial to good parenting.”
I organise ladies breakfasts with my girlfriends on Saturday mornings every couple of months, my husband looks after the kids and we go and “download”.
I come back refreshed and it makes me a better mother and wife.
I think after a few hours with Daddy the kids appreciate me a little more too, but don’t tell him that.
I believe it is so important to surround yourself with true friends, there is nothing better than having a friend you can rely on and, something I am not always good at, is asking for help when I need it.
Having a true friend you can rely on when you need help is invaluable.
Don’t fall into the pride trap and try and do it all on your own.
All children are different – what works for one will not work for another.
We can see that within families, let alone between families.
We cannot compare ourselves to other mothers.
This is not healthy.
Some mothers have a lot of family support, others have none.
Some mothers have husbands that are hands on, others do not.
Some babies cry all the time and you don’t get a moment to yourself, let alone run your household and have time for your spouse and other children.
Other babies are settled and content and make life feel easy.
I think the main thing to keep in perspective is our motivation as to why we do what we do and when the best interest of our children is at the heart of our actions, then we can rest easy with our decisions.
Dr Meeker also says the “quality of your parenting doesn’t equal the quantity of your activity.”
Sometimes when the guilt sets in and I feel bad that I am not doing X, Y and Z with my children I remind myself that sometimes being present is enough.
There are days when we can be an all around “super mum” and then there are days when all we can do is sit on the couch and watch a movie with our children and that is okay.
If its eggs on toast for dinner sometimes then that is okay too.
We must be advocates for our children, we know them better than anyone else.
I am convinced that mothering, like most things needs a growth mindset.
If something is not working, change it.
We must be advocates for our children and do what is right and works for us, our children and our family.
We have to have to confidence in ourselves as mothers and to trust our gut instinct.
By Kate Saha