The Perfect Mother?

A5KT171433445967We all want to be the perfect mother for our children, of course, because we love them. We do our absolute best. Sometimes we can feel happy about our efforts but sometimes it can be hard to feel that we are doing well enough.

It can be so easy to believe we are failing, particularly when we see other women who seem to be doing a better job than us. But what is this ideal that we feel we need to live up to?

At those times when we feel like we are failing it is worth stopping to consider what it is that we think we ’should’ be.

There is not one perfect set up or style of parenting. Let’s take as an example, a familiar point of difference; a working mum and a stay at home mum. A stay-at-home mum might see a working mum and think she is being a better role model and is able to juggle more. A working mum might see the stay-at-home mum and think she is doing better because she is more available for her kids.

The truth: there is no better, there is just what is right for each family. For some women, working helps them feel better about themselves and so they then enjoy time with their kids more than if they were at home all the time. For some, it is a necessity and staves off the stress of money concerns with all that entails. For other mothers, being a stay-at-home mum feels essential and they would not want to juggle more than their family in those early years. Whilst for some, it is the only practical way to manage childcare. There are millions more reasons that women choose to do what they do, and that is it, it is just choices.

There is no right way to be a parent, there is just your way Click To Tweet

There is no right or wrong way, there is just your way. We make our choices in life and when they are no longer right for us then we may need to make other choices.

Of course, it is good to assess our situation and consider the decisions we have made along the way. Learning from other women and having role models can be a great thing. But comparing ourselves in a manor that diminishes how we feel about ourselves invalidates the significance of who we are as people. We are all just muddling through doing our best with what life gives us. If we learn something new and decide to change track, then all the better. That is life and growth and the two go together.

So if we can’t be perfect mothers then is there something we can do to be the best mothers possible? Well there is no definitive answer to that. Each family has different circumstances and needs which differ greatly. But there are some needs that are fairly universal.

Being loved and feeling secure in that love is important for all children. The details of how we go about that are as varied as the individuals who make the choices. But those choices are not just about children.

What we juggle on a daily basis is a family dynamic. We all have our own needs. If we only ever saw to our children’s needs and were miserable ourselves it would not help them in the long run. We need to consider the family as a unit and all its individual members, which includes ourselves.

Of course, mothers and parents delay and defer many things that they want to do for the good of their children, particularly in the early years. But there needs to be some balance over time.

Through the media we are fed so much information on children’s needs (which are important) but we must add to that the needs of the other members of the family too. What is good for the family as a whole is good for children.

What is good for the family as a whole is good for children. Click To Tweet

So back to those times when we are striving to be the perfect mother and feel like we are failing. Maybe in those moments we should stop and challenge that inner voice, giving ourselves a break and some respect for the choices we have made along the way. We can acknowledge that we don’t need to pursue being a perfect mother because what our children need most is ‘us’, flaws and all.

What our children need most is us, flaws and all Click To Tweet
Do you try to be a perfect parent? do you question your choices as a Mother? Or can you see your own needs as important too? I would love to hear what you think on any of this post.

So what is next?

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36 thoughts on “The Perfect Mother?

  1. It’s definitely true, all we can do is strive to be the best we can – that’s not always perfection but we are all pretty new to this (even those who are doing it different as children are so different it’s forever a learning curve!). Despite whether we work or don’t work, we may not feel perfect but I bet our children think we are nevertheless. Until they are old enough to realise that we are doing all wrong of course! Great post 🙂 #Sundaystars
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…VE Day – a celebrationMy Profile

    1. Absolutely. Once they are older they will likely think we have not done a good job, until they are parents of course! Thanks for Commenting Lisa.

  2. It’s all too easy to focus on our failings and not our successes! I used to feel really bad when my daughter wasn’t interested in reading and I saw myself as failing in that area. To be honest it’s taken quite a few counselling sessions to help me see that I’m a fab mummy. None of us are perfect but there is always something we can work on to become as you said “best” or better mothers. It’s a fine tuning process and a journey i’m excited to be on. Angela xx
    Angela at recently posted…Shot of the Week 10/05/2015My Profile

    1. You are right. It is a fine tuning process. I am glad to hear that you have been helped by counselling. Motherhood is certainly a journey and I am excited to be on it too. Thanks for your comment Angela.

  3. great post i agree with everything you said, its really tough to not compare to other parents and think what could you do better but as you say everyones situation is different what works for one will not work for another. Thanks for linking up to #sundaystars x
    Everything Mummy recently posted…Sunday Stars 10/05/15My Profile

    1. Thanks for your comment. Mothering is as individual as we are. It took me a long time to learn that though.

    1. Here, here. Criticising others can make people feel safer because they are not doing whatever it is they see as wrong. But it is much better to support other mothers and see the complexity of the world we live in. Thank you for commenting.

    1. I like that Claire. I haven’t heard it put so succinctly. It is a true sign that we care when we consider our children and if we recognise that in ourselves, all the better. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Great post! I agree with everything and we all do what is best for us. There is so much judgement when it comes to parenting but a lot comes from people that are not in our situation so don’t know why we do what we do. We are all the best mothers to our children #TwinklyTuesday xx
    Something Crunchy Mummy recently posted…A successful day outMy Profile

    1. Thank you. Judgement is tough but it really says more about the people judging than it does the people being judged. It is great when we can value our efforts as mothers even when we don’t always get it right.

  5. This is an incredible post. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I do think that mum guilt is something we’ll never get rid of though. I felt guilty when I went back to work when Evie was 7 months old. I felt guilty that I quit my job when she was 11 months old because childcare was too expensive so I was no longer contributing to our family unit. I feel guilty that I’m not doing enough for her etc etc The list could go on!

    I started a new job yesterday. There was a mum there that works full time & she has a baby the same age. The first thing we spoke about was mum guilt.

    My daughter is happy, she is healthy & she is thriving. What’s more is she knows she is loved by so many people & it’s so obvious she loves us back. Despite the guilt, i know that her happiness is all that matters. xxx
    Chloe recently posted…#MYSUNDAYPHOTOMy Profile

    1. Thank you Chloe for your compliment. I agree with you that we will never be rid of mum guilt. As a mother we need to consider our kids needs and some guilt is a sign of us being the caring diligent parents we are in a complex world. I wrote about this topic in my two most recent posts “Why so much guilt?’ and ‘Dealing with guilt’. It is just about helping ourselves keep it in balance and one way to do that is by understanding the process of guilt in our lives.

  6. Aaah what a fabulous post. I think we’re all guilty of this aren’t we? There are days that I think I’m the best mum in the world, others that I beat myself up about the fact they’ve not eaten properly, they’ve had too much TV time, I’ve not played with them enough and spent too much time working… but, ultimately, no-one could be a better mother to my babies than me. Thanks for reminding me of it x
    Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Caro |
    Caro | The Twinkles Mama recently posted…Twinkly Tuesday {12.05.15} | Featuring Carry On KatyMy Profile

    1. Spot on Caro, love your wording ‘no-one could be a better mother to my babies than me’. That is so true. Glad it did remind you. Thank you for hosting.

    1. We all compare, it is human nature. None of us are perfect. We can strive for perfection but it is just not possible. And as you say our kids love us anyway. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Yes, it is a harsh way to live a life and it invalidates a lot of our creativity and the uniqueness that we bring to the world. Thank you for commenting.

  7. Hi Kirsten, Nice to come over to your blog. I used to worry if I was doing everything right in the early years. Now my boy is 9 I have grown in confidence and learnt to accept that as long as I try my best, that’s good enough for us both. Great post xx
    teacuptoria recently posted…The Truth About Domestic BlissMy Profile

    1. I am the same. My confidence has grown and I am much more confident than I was. There are still many new things that I am faced with but mostly I feel more secure in being the mother I am. Thank you for commenting.

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more, what works for one family, doesn’t for another. We all do what’s best for our families and that’s what matters. I really enjoyed this post. A lot of parents need to take note and stop competing with others or beating themselves up! Motherhood is hard enough without the mummy wars.
    Muesliandwafer recently posted…Crabby.My Profile

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is a great release to not feel the need to compete with others. It is good to question ourselves but not to strive for something impossible.

  9. This is so true. Really good post about the mum guilt and why we should jut leave it. I have to be honest, I’ve never felt mum guilt because I think I am the best mum for my daughter, and do everything to the best I my ability, but I can see why some mums do feel bad. Society and media places unbelievable pressures on us to have it all, when that clearly is not possible. For financial, physical or mental reasons.

    Wave to Mummy recently posted…How to choose the best Stokke Tripp Trapp accessories for your familyMy Profile

    1. I am glad to hear that you feel the best mum for your daughter. Knowing that we do everything to the best of our ability is a good thing. Thank you for commenting.

    1. Here here Ashley. It takes time to learn but when we realise that we are best being ourselves, it gets easier. Thank you for your comment.

  10. I loved reading this and it was something I needed to read. I am guilty of trying to be the perfect mother but yet it’s the perfect in my own mind which really is just unrealistic. I have begun to realise that I have my own way of doing things and that “perfect” for our family. #twinklytuesday
    The L’s Mum recently posted…Toddler words are the bestMy Profile

    1. That is great. It is working out how to do what is right for our family unit rather than living up to some external ideal. Thanks for contributing to this discussion.

  11. Love this. So very true we are all unique, our children are all unique and we are all doing our best for our little ones. I wish we supported each other in our different ways to parent instead of judging so much. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    jenny recently posted…Letters to him & her ~ #19/#20My Profile

    1. Hi Jenny, I think support from other women is invaluable and so helpful in helping us see ourselves all as we are flawed but more than good enough for the task. Thanks for your comment.

    1. It takes time to really learn that one, or it did me. We want so much for our kids including ourselves to be perfect mothers. It is such a relief when we realise we cant be. Thanks for reading.

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