Mother’s Day is just a few days away. And I have no doubt that many of you will visit or call your mom, take her to dinner (restaurants will be packed) or buy her a gift as a token of your appreciation.
I like to use Mother’s Day as the perfect opportunity to relax — at least for a few hours. Thankfully, most people don’t wait until Mother’s Day to make sure mom knows she’s appreciated, but it definitely serves as a reminder of all the work mothers pour into their families.
And work hard we do. It ain’t easy being a mother. Actually, I don’t think motherhood is all that difficult. What’s hard is the pressure society puts on us to be the perfect mom. If you don’t parent your children just right then all sorts of bad things will happen to them or they will be the bad thing and it will be all your fault. It doesn’t matter if you did your very best. You messed up somewhere along the way or else your child(ren) wouldn’t be a mess.
It’s enough to make any woman opt out of motherhood.
What makes it bad is often it’s mothers who shame other mothers — especially now that we have the internet. It’s common to see women bashing each other about who is the best mom and who is the worst as if this is some competition where there will be a grand prize. So many times we don’t have all of the information, but we’re so quick to make a judgment and cast aspersions.
I believe most moms are doing their very best. I said most because I know there are some horrible mothers out there. I know there are women who became mothers and definitely should not have. However, most of us work hard to provide our children with a good childhood that will set them up for a great adulthood.
We need to give ourselves permission to make mistakes. We’re going to make them. We don’t know everything, and even when we have knowledge and the best of intentions we don’t have a crystal ball to know how things will play out.
As an amateur mom, I remember feeling like I had something to prove to everyone who doubted me. As a vet, I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I know who I am as a mother. It took me a while to get here, though. And there are still moments when doubt creeps in, but I have to remember I’m doing my very best and that’s all I can do. And my very best is my perfect version of being a mom.
For me, there’s nothing better than being a mom, but that doesn’t mean that’s all I am. I had to learn that it’s OK to want to get away from it all and not be a mom for a few hours. I had to learn that, for me, work is vital to being a good mom. Not only because that’s how I earn the money I need to provide for my children, but also because I need an outlet or I’m no good to anyone. I don’t feel guilty about having to work. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my children or that I don’t worry about them when I’m away from them. I do. But I also know it’s not feasible to be with them 24 hours a day 365 days a year. And, I’ll be honest. I don’t want to — and they’ve made it clear that they don’t want that either!
My Mother’s Day gift to mothers is to give you permission to not be perfect. Know that you’re going to make at least one mistake. Don’t feel guilty about spending time with adults for a few hours here and there. You need it. Realize that parenthood is a marathon not a sprint and you’re in this for the long haul, so don’t get so caught up on what you’re not doing. Instead, focus on all the amazing things you’re doing for and with your children. You’ll feel free and able to enjoy motherhood.