This post was contributed by Maggie Dent
Today’s world is a worrisome place in so many ways. The global disasters and horror stories that filter through to our TVs, radios and newsfeeds minutes after they happen – often with scant regard for the truth – mean that our perceptions of our own safety are also unsettled.
When we parents are unsettled – especially mums and mother figures – we can become over-worriers, over-thinkers and stress cakes (especially when we’re sleep deprived which, for many parents, is a constant state of being).
Then to add to our stress there is the massive amount of information at our fingertips that has in many ways become unhelpful for parents because there are so many charts and lists of recommendations and developmental markers that our children and we must live up to.
We compare and so often despair – all this makes our fears worse..
When you add into the mix the influence of social media and the endless flow of filtered images of perfect-looking children, in often-perfect looking homes it just makes the mama guilt monster roar!
Stress and mama guilt are such great, naughty mates.
The endless chatter in our mind becomes toxic when stress and guilt come to play –negative self-talk can then really run away from us.
The more stressed we are the more likely our self-talk will tell us we aren’t good enough and that we are failing our children.
Some mums have told me that they wake up in the middle of the night worrying because their children haven’t eaten broccoli or one of their kids didn’t have a bath – these items probably form part of a long list of concerns for many.
It seems our worst enemy as mums is ourselves.
So please stop being so hard on yourself. If you have ever locked yourself in the toilet and wondered why you ever wanted kids – relax – a lot of us have been there, done that and have the T shirt!
My four sons have grown up pretty well even though I accidently shut their fingers in car doors, forgot their lunch box many times and even left one at the pool after swimming club.
Our kids number one need is to feel loved – and that can happen amid the chaos, the mistakes and the less-than-perfect moments which happen every single day.
They can forgive us when we say I am sorry. A hug and a snuggle speak huge volumes of love – no matter how we may have mucked up!
Remember and know that parenting is a long journey and being your own ally or friend, rather than your worst enemy, can really make those crappy days so much better.
So please put that mental stick down when your worried mind starts running away with criticism and lists of failings.
Instead, make a cuppa, take a few deep breaths, relax on the couch and repeat the mantra – ‘Despite what’s happening right now, I have got this!’
If chocolate is also needed – so be it!
Then, put this item at the top of your list: please stop being so hard on yourself.
Maggie Dent is one of Australia’s favourite parenting authors, an educator and resilience specialist. She is bringing together a ‘dream team’ of parenting experts for her Raising Children Who Shine: Exploring Toddlers to 10-year-olds conference in Perth, Brisbane & Sydney in March 2018. www.maggiedent.com