What is the hardest thing about being a parent? Sleepless nights, tamtrumming toddlers, stroppy teenagers, juggling home/work? My answer; always wondering if I have done the right thing (given the right food, chosen the right day care or school, got the right therapy, spent enough time with etc). My perfectionist nature makes being a parent hard at times and the mummy guilt piles up...
People have built careers by tapping into this mummy guilt and I have read articles, with tongue in check references to, the different types of mum; corporate mum, gym mum, helicopter mum, yummy mummy. They are entertaining and usually cleverly written. However, are these stereotypes helpful?
I spent the early months of big lad's life playing the role of professional mum. I had great company as my friends were largely older mums (like me) who had given up excellent jobs to raise their children. We spent our coffee mornings discussing the best feeding, best buggy's, best books, best baby groups, whatever was best for baby.
There was almost a competitiveness in the way mums packed snack boxes, designed their own party invites and decorated their children's rooms. Attendance at certain baby groups or classes was seen as a badge of honour. Our business now was raising, 'the best' children so had we morphed into a new species of corporate mum?
Next I joined the ranks of working mum. I swapped coffee mornings for lunch time conversations that centred around; child care (choice of and cost), balancing sick children with work, part time or full time work, after school care, play dates etc
I wasn't really prepared for the mummy guilt and my perfectionist personality struggled with having to rely on others. I had to learn to let go, relinquish control and accept that other people could do my job at work and at home! Perhaps the hardest thing about being a parent is the pressure we put on ourselves?
I am an autism mummy. I empathise with other Mums over sleeping problems, eating problems, problems at school, finding the right therapy, worrying about the future etc However, I rebel against this label. I will not become martyr mum.
I don't believe that the type of mum we are really matters as long as we are giving our children the love, support and time they need.
This morning my boys had an argument that went;
I love mummy more than ever, no, I love mummy more than ever.
I am an imperfect mum BUT...
I am happy to be perfectly imperfect me because what is important to me is the relationship that I have with my children...
|With the boys at the Middlesbrough match.|
This is a revised post, it was first published in February 2015.