Fighting That Feeling Of Failure
As mothers, we are often our own worst enemies. We set amazingly high standards for ourselves, forgetting that motherhood is the toughest job in the world.
There are definitely limits to our patience and long-suffering. We are not robots without feelings or emotions, or saints deserving to be canonised!
There are no perfect mothers, just as there are no perfect babies.
Can I let you in to a little secret? You may think you are the only mother who battles with impatience, anger, frustration, resentment etc., but you are not. We are all in the same boat!
Mothers assume that other mothers are perfect, because we don't live with one another twenty-four hours a day! Our 'company behaviour' is quite different to our 'at home' behaviour.
I remember my aunty describing one of her memorable moments as a mother. She was in a shop with her three young children. While waiting to be served, the kids decided to display their worst behaviour, for all in the shop to observe. Trying to remain calm in front of her critical audience, my aunty patiently attempted to control the children, to no avail. She managed to catch one son and tweaked his ear(behind a petition), having lost control herself! Her son screamed, "stop pinching me mummy!"
With every eye upon her she blushed and laughed, telling her son not to be silly. At that point she felt escape was her best option, and beat a hasty retreat.
The reality of mothering is that we are often stretched to the limits of our endurance.
We may fail to deal with stressful situations in the best way, but that does not make us failures. It makes us human!
In my many experiences of 'blowing it', I have come to realise two things;
Prevention is better than cure
Perfection is impossible
* Recognise there are times when you are most vulnerable, and be on your guard. For example,
If you are exhausted, and trying to settle a wakeful baby, you may be setting yourself up for trouble. That rhythmic pat on baby's back could become a little too 'firm' as your frustration builds. Its far better to ensure baby is warm and dry, and leave her to have a cry, than to stay and loose your control. Remember that at any time when you feel you're reaching your limit, time-out for both of you is wise! Don't take a tired toddler to the supermarket, it's a recipe for disaster. The tantrum your toddler throws in the check-out queue will be nothing compared to the one you throw on the way home in the car!
* Perfect mothers only exist in your imagination. You don't need to be perfect to be a good mother. Mothers are givers. We give out all the time. We exist with limited sleep, endless demands on our time and energy, trying to meet the needs of our children at the expense of our own. Yes we blow it from time to time, but is it any wonder? Failure is nothing more than rising each time you fall, ready to give it another go. Every mother makes mistakes. Mistakes are only bad if we never learn from them!
Let's be honest enough to admit our mistakes to one another. Then we can truly be of help and encourage one another. Be understanding. Even if you have never experienced the same problem, you may do so in the future. An old Indian proverb says that until you've walked two miles in another man's moccasins, you can't imagine the smell!
You may be feeling a failure compared to someone else's perceived success. "She's always organised, her child eats everything healthy, sleeps well, is obedient, never throws tantrums or hits other children. I'm obviously doing everything wrong. I'm such a failure!"
Never make comparisons. Everyone's situation is different, and everyone's child is different. Do your best with what you have been given. Try to keep a positive attitude towards your own circumstances, and especially toward yourself and your child. Giving in to feelings of failure will only make matters worse. We become what we believe about ourselves, and our children become what we believe about them.
Success is fleeting and fickle, but living successfully each day is always possible!
You are not in competition with anyone else. You are you! And your child is your gift. In that context, be content with what you have, and find your own success. Enjoy who you are and who your child is!
Motherhood may bring out the worst in us at times, but focus on the fact that it also brings out the best in us as well. Resources we never dreamed we had before, come to the surface when we have a baby.
I believe all mothers deserve a medal for service above and beyond the call of duty!
About the Author: Terri currently runs an Australian network of support for mums and is the author of 'Parenting Inc'. Visit http://articles.mothertime.com.au or http://mothertime.com.au for further reading. This article may be freely distributed without alteration and always with an active link to the mothertime.com.au website.