I lost count of the times I said to myself the words ‘I am a bad mother’; whether it’s because I felt I could have done more or because I chose to do something for myself instead of sitting with my boys.
I thought if I pointed out where I was a ‘bad mother’ I’d eventually be able to be a ‘good mother’. We always try to live by example, being our children’s primary caregiver. That automatically puts pressure on being the best version of ourselves for them. With that said, in the process of being the ‘best version of ourselves’, we tend to forget we are also human – regardless of the version of ourselves we’re at now or aspire to be at.
As adults, we have the cognition to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’; which in turn translates what we teach our children about life. Children, especially under the age of 4, do not have their full cognition developed yet. Which means they don’t know what ‘good’ or ‘bad’ means outside what we teach them. Being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ mother is a perception based on what we have been taught growing up along with the influences of religion, society, and culture. With the absence of this conditioning, children are yet to develop the concept of a ‘good parent’.
By the nature of being human, we are bound to make some mistakes here and there. Throughout our life, we are in a trial-and-error journey; the more patient and understanding we are, the clearer the next attempt is. Conceptually, being able to identify where we went wrong allows us to do better next time. However, we tend to be wired to only focus on the bad while brushing quickly through the good.
Through this journey of attempting to become a better version of myself. I realized that how I am today is just right for today. Adjusting my mindset from self-guilt to self-compassion helps shift my reality to the better.
This realization of self-compassion did not only get me to be more patient and understanding with myself as a mother. But it also got me thinking of what example am I setting for my kids. I no longer want them to feel pressure to perform in order to please others. I want them to have a sense of self-awareness and realize that every mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a defeat or a loss.
We tend to be kinder to others than we are to ourselves. And strive to love our children with all we have, yet we are unable to show that love inward. We unknowingly are depriving ourselves from the love we carry in our hearts.
So, for a change, let us show ourselves some of the love and compassion we unconditionally give to our children. May we always lead with love and compassion in all our interactions, starting with our own self.
To every mother who is struggling to see the bright side of motherhood, I see you, I hear you, and you are doing the best you can with what you have. Keep shining.