On giving up beating myself up

Today I realised something.

I realised that I am the one who is making life difficult for myself. As of today, I have had enough of beating myself up over trivialities, of going over things in my head time and time again trying to work out what I should or could have done in certain situations. I have realised that I’ll always be able to tell myself that, on any particular day, I was too strict, not strict enough, too quick to lose my temper, unable to give enough time to my children; that I should have done more crafts, should have got the paddling pool out, shouldn’t have got so annoyed that someone spilt their juice again….. You get the picture.

I will always be able to convince myself that my best just isn’t good enough, but by giving myself a hard time I am just using up valuable energy and making myself a bit miserable. So I am admitting that yes, there are days when I don’t really enjoy being a mum. No, of course I wouldn’t change it, but there are mornings, evenings, sometimes entire days when I hate it. Boys – if you are reading this somewhere down the line, that is not at all a reflection on you. What I hate is the fact that I am responsible for you but feel like I don’t really have the skills, capacity or patience to make a good job of it. I hate not having a clue how to handle the challenges. And anyone who has had children knows that there are plenty of those.

I owe a thank you to the friend who texted me yesterday and said ‘I often think I hate being a mother at the moment, do you?‘ It reminded me that it’s ok to feel like that sometimes; because children are unreasonable, unpredictable, take all their frustrations out on you and, by the end of the day, leave you feeling like a shadow of your normal self. But my little boys get three meals a day, get cuddles at bedtime, go out to new places and have parents that yes, get frustrated, but couldn’t love them any more than they do. So hopefully, even when mummy’s sitting in the corner with her head in her hands having a little cry and quietly wishing all the noise would just stop, they will be fine.

Us mums give ourselves a hard time. We give ourselves a hard time over keeping house, cooking the tea, being there for everyone who needs us, remembering all upcoming events and trying to remain calm when we are actually losing our heads. We look things up on parenting forums to try and work out what we’re doing wrong and how we can be better…..and there is always someone there telling us a better way of doing things. But, if you’re a perfectionist mum you’ll drive yourself mad. You’ll drive yourself mad thinking about all the things you could have done differently and, what’s worse, how these things might affect your children for the rest of their lives.

So I’m going to stop driving myself mad. I am accepting that I love my children, I do my best, but occasionally they do my head in. And that’s normal. I deal with it in the best way I can at the time, which often isn’t the actual best way but motherhood doesn’t give you the luxury of time to think things through.

We sometimes have bad mornings, we sometimes have bad bedtimes. Sometimes we have a whole bad day. We are not perfect, but we are mainly ok. And from now on, I’m going to try and content myself with that.

boy under a blanket

This isn’t me. But it is often how I feel.

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