Dear Brilliant Mothers,
My recent move back to South Africa has already challenged me as a parent in many more ways than I ever could have imagined. It has helped me to evolve and grow as they say. Probably quite resistantly also if I am honest!
Back in the UK, for example, when my son went to nursery he went to a Montessori nursery where I utterly loved the teachers and utterly loved the ethos behind each and every way they teach the children.
Back in the UK, I had access to so much organic food it was unreal. Spoilt in fact. I could buy pretty much everything organic from a regular supermarket and turn it into many healthy dishes that would feed my family, and especially my son, very well because it hadn’t been sprayed to the nines with deadly chemical pesticides.
Back in the UK, I had a handful of wonderful mother friends that lived on my doorstep that I could call upon at anytime for support.
Now, where I am living in South Africa in the oh so beautiful West Coast, in the Western Cape, I do not have all of these things- these things that are apparently quite important to me else I wouldn’t be rambling on about them in this post! (I do have a point to all this ‘moaning’ I promise.) Without having all of the above, I then couldn’t help feel this week that I had somehow failed my son. Somehow jeopardized his future.
This really was such an ugly thought given that there are so many children living with parents who actually have failed them before they have had a chance to shine their light. As many are brought up in a world believing they have no light to shine, and you can forget about ever knowing what organic food is. Much like one of my new friends foster kids, who was sexually abused by her parents and now will need therapy for the rest of her life to enable her to truly thrive and pull through what was done to her.
Then two things happened that altered my way negative way of thinking (or dramatic self-criticism).
Firstly, at the beginning of the week I drove passed a dog that needed help, and because I volunteer at a shelter I got another volunteer who lived near by to help me assess the situation. Due to Animal Lighthouse where I volunteer being currently full to capacity, a nearby shelter agreed to come out and take the dog in. So, me and the other volunteer left the scene thinking the dog was going to be taken away. When I got home it turns out the dog couldn’t be taken away, even though she was emaciated and had recently had pit bull puppies most likely bred for fighting, simply because the owner wasn’t willing to give the dog up to the shelter. So this naturally left me very sad, and made me think that this poor dog was still going to be living in this terrible situation, full of neglect and abuse. Neglect and abuse I was not issuing to my child…
Then, in the middle of the week I encountered a roadblock by a police car when I went to collect my son from nursery, and so had to go a different way. I found out later that night that it was due to a man in a car being killed by truck. This is on the same road I take Monday to Thursday to go collect my son at lunch time. This mans life was over, and his poor family will have been truly suffering so much because of this loss. A life I still have and need to not waste worrying about not being a good enough mother…
And then something just hit me – we need to stop letting our negative thoughts rule our lives and be satisfied more with all we do have. Because the dog truly wasn’t living a good life, and the man had lost his life. And I am living a good life right now. So we need to use these scenarios to help us remember that we need to be satisfied more as mothers. And simply more satisfied in our day to day life. We need to catch ourselves and stop all this internal self-judgement that eats away at your soul, robbing you of the happiness you should be feeling about raising your kids.
Because when you live a good life, and provide a good, safe life for your children (and animal children) – then we as mothers have never failed. No matter how small our bank balance may be, no matter if we have to work full time. We also need to not allow ourselves to get beaten down by what ‘Josefine down the road does’. And how clean her house is all the time, and how she doesn’t need to put her children into nursery and has the lifestyle (and energy levels) that allow her to carry out homeschooling.
Far too much of our time is wasted, utterly wasted worrying about are we good enough as mothers, are we doing enough each and every damn day that well, it’s time to stop this and start enjoying the short life we have been given and our precious children before they are too old to not want to enjoy us in the same way.
So, Brilliant Mothers, before going to bed at night – try this: allow yourself to feel satisfied with all you did and all you achieved in the day just gone. Because it is enough. You are enough and it’s time you realised this! And please tell yourself this either verbally or mentally at the end of every day. Maybe write it down too to really let it stick!
Life is too short to compete with others and there is just no need to set the bar too high, to only feel completely frazzled trying to reach it. And don’t even get me started on how all this stress damages your body (and mind!). Happy mothers after all breeds happy children.
I sincerely hope I can inspire you to pat yourself on the back once in awhile, if not every day. 😉