In a world where picture perfect families are what we are told we should aspire to; day to day motherhood is far from picture perfect. It is a time for exploration, learning, and constant crisis.
Motherhood is the second large crisis in women. The first one is when we hit adolescence; we go under an internal crisis because we crave independence that we don’t understand why we are not ready for; we are exploring the world as well as working on our identity; before we are “out in the world” by ourselves. But Motherhood is, when knowing that you are an adult, you must share the independence you gain after adolescence, with a tiny human being to which you are their whole existence.
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein
When I work with mothers that don’t feel they are doing enough, I ask them: “according to whom is it that you are not doing enough?”. And that is when the comparison with other mothers, their own mothers or even what society is portraying comes into play. They soon understand that there are no set standards for motherhood, as what you give to your child comes from a place of love.
Below are three of most common insecurities I run into, when it comes to motherhood, and instead of dwelling on how daunting they can be, we will look at the best way you can reframe those insecurities.
1. “I am not doing enough” vs “I am doing the best I can with what I have”
The feeling of not being enough comes from childhood, most of the time, and what our society shows as what the standards for motherhood are. And said standards come from people that are not in the same circumstances you are. They might have more help with their children, or with the house chores, they might not work, etc. There are many variables on why the picture perfect motherhood is not the experience that you are having at the moment. And that is more than OK. You are doing the best you can with what you have, under the circumstances you are in, and with the aspirations that you have as a woman.
If you need a reminder, write it down on a mirror with your own hands. This will allow you, when looking at your own reflection, to have a reminder of something that you already know, which is that you are enough.
2. Keeping your mothering style authentic to you
When we compare with other mothers, and even with our own mother, the self-doubt begins: “should I be doing this?” “can I do it this way?”. As your child grows, you will grow in your own style. Many times we are tempted to follow what other people are doing, to then realise, that it might not work for us. And we become insecure about what we are doing as it might not be to the standards that other people have set. .
The thing is, if you are doing things not in your own way, then it demands more effort; because your mind will try to do what is more known to you, what is safer to your mind and what will bring more pleasure.
Take motherhood as a blank canvas, where you can be yourself fully, express it in a way that when you child grows up, you can look back and say “I have done my best in my own way”.
3. Feel and act confident as a mother and your child will notice
Children are extremely perceptive of other people’s emotions. When we, as mothers, display signs of insecurities; our children would be aware. And because they don’t know any different, they will take it as something normal.
Some confidence issues can be easily changed, when we give them less power and focus on our strengths. However, for some people, those insecurities come from childhood, and working on them is especially important when we want to communicate confident messages to our children.
Being comfortable in your own skin is not only beneficial for your child, but for you as an individual. You will feel free to be more of your authentic self and your child will know it.
In summary, there are no set standards for mothers, more than caring and providing for their children. The ones dictated by some of the families you might see as “perfect” on social media, magazines, or the telly; are not the reality, and have not lived in your shoes. You have your life as an experience to share with your little ones in the way that resembles more your true self. If you still haven’t found your true self, let me tell you that motherhood is the moment where you will want to do what is best for you and your family, and you could find yourself in there.
About the author
Laura Abba is a mum of two; founder of Mind the Mother and a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Maternal Coach. She helps women to feel better. Either through hypnobirthing courses, 121 sessions, or group sessions; she supports mothers by nurturing their minds to feel more confident and in control.
Laura writes articles for mum's zines, as well as working with local charities supporting vulnerable mums. She is an advocate for Maternal Mental Health.
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