I have a wonderful friend who says the most brilliant things.
“Sometimes when I’m feeling down about how I’m showing up for my kids,” she said one day when we were running, “sometimes when I feel like I’m letting everyone down, or I’m just not nice to be around, or I can’t handle it all (or I’m handling it all poorly), I imagine myself getting a phone call telling me that I’ve just won Mother of the Year. It changes how I feel, and how I show up, immediately.”
Being a mother is hard. I’m sure that being any kind of parent is, but the only one I know firsthand is being a mother. And it’s hard.
Not that the work itself is hard, which sometimes it is, but that every mother I know can be so hard on herself. When my daughter was a baby, I’d fluctuate between thinking I’d over-stimulated her during the day, and I was therefore a bad mother, and thinking I’d under-stimulated her during the day (and I was therefore a bad mother). There is so much pressure to get this mother thing right, that so many of us are left judging ourselves. And others.
I have friends who work full-time jobs out of the house. Friends who work part-time jobs. Friends who stay home and work full-time raising their kids. Friends with their own businesses; friends who freelance; friends who are at home sometimes and at work sometimes. I have friends who are the primary breadwinner, the secondary breadwinner, the only breadwinner, and not the breadwinner. And nearly all, if not all, of them question their choice.
There’s so much pressure to get it right. All the time.
That’s why my friend’s comment was so brilliant. Because not only does she (do we all) deserve to win Mother of the Year, but by imagining that phone call she relaxed and released much of the (often self-imposed) pressure on herself…and then was able to mother from that place of love and joy and wholeness.
Maybe it’s even tougher for those of us who so deeply ingrained the negative tapes and vibes around and in us when we were young. Maybe my old internal judge is, at times, still looking for something to call me out about, to point out my flaws and my inherent not-enough-ness.
Maybe it’s tougher for those of us, and maybe it’s not. But either way, I know that we all deserve to be a bit easier on ourselves. As mothers. As fathers. As women. As men. As people.
We all deserve to imagine that phone call that recognizes what a great job we’re doing, and what a wonderful person we are.
Don’t you deserve to be Mother of the Year? Don’t we all?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!