Is this what a Perfect Mother looks like? DAY 393
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Being pregnant I have been facing some interesting points and experiences that I had no idea existed before becoming pregnant. One of the reasons is that pregnancy in how it is displayed in the media, is very one-dimensional and paints a romantic picture of the wonderful harmonic pregnant woman, without also relaying all the shocking and sometimes painful and horrible experiences one might go through.
This particular experience surprised me because it was not at all something I was expecting to experience.
In looking back at my childhood, I’ve mostly had a rather negative relationship with how I grew up. I have specifically focused on the lack that I experienced, both on a social, emotional and physical level. When I got pregnant however, I suddenly started thinking about all the awesome things my mother especially did for me when I was a child. She did in fact do a lot of things that I now would like to be able to do with my child, which surprised me a lot.
When I was a small child, we didn’t own a TV so our nights would consist of listening to the radio, read books, do chores or do something creative. I didn’t grow up with much. The first 6 years of my life we lived in a small apartment in the middle of the city. We never owned a car. I rarely got new clothes. My mom is a nature lover and would take me on bike rides and walks in nature as well as on travels that focused on spending time in nature. She would make sure to feed me wholesome and healthy home-cooked food every day. For the Danish equivalent of Halloween where kids dress up called Fastelavn, she would make me these incredible homemade costumes. When I was two, we started going on weeklong canoe trips every year with a friend of my mother’s and her children where I would sit in the middle of the canoe with a blanket around me as the adults and older children rowed. She spent endless hours reading to me, all the way up until I was 9 or 10 years old where I started reading more independently by myself.
Looking back at all this now that I am pregnant, I have wondered how life will be for my child. I have totally different lifestyle than I did growing up. It is almost the exact opposite in fact. I live on farm with my husband. We have two cars. Although we don’t have a TV, we both spend most of our free time on our computers, either working, researching, attending to our personal process or watching tv-series or movies. We don’t spend a lot of time in nature and we rarely go traveling. We do cook every day more or less and we use vegetables from our garden, but I am definitely also prone to a more ‘unhealthy’ way of eating, liking candy and the occasional pizza (which I never used to get as a child).
So in looking back, and comparing the life my mother provided me with, with the life I will be offering my child, I have started to worry that what I will offer is not good enough. I mean, I don’t want to be the kind of parent who never goes out and explores, who spends all their free time watching TV or on the computer, and yet, that is the example I am mostly living at the moment.
There is however also a different perspective which is that my husband and I can give our child something that I never had as a child; parents who are more self-aware, who are walking a process of becoming self-responsible, who doesn’t take their personal issues out on their children, whether directly or indirectly because of not knowing any better.
And yet another perspective is that we won’t ever be able to give our children the same childhood as we were given (I am also aware that I shared a very idealized version of it here!), because the times are different. When I was growing up, we didn’t have computers or smartphones, so technology wasn’t as integral a part of every day life as it is now. I am grateful to have access to technology, and I know that there are some awesome, amazing things one can do with it too, also together with a child. We will be able to research anything together. We can have a discussion about the lives of walruses in one moment, and in the next we can watch a documentary about walruses or find templates for how to draw them.
When I browse through the parenting Facebook groups I am a part of (they are typically for mothers adhering to an alternative way of raising their children; attachment parenting/Continuum concept/baby carrying/long term breastfeeding etc.), I see a lot of mothers worry about being bad mothers, even in the most miniscule of things.
In the times of today, mothers even try to control that their children are having the most optimal or perfect upbringing in the smallest detail of things, from feeding them an exact amount of breast milk every day at certain specific times, to only giving them specific foods and not in any way allowing them to come into contact with things like television or candy. It is no wonder that mothers are stressed out and exhausted! Along with having to work fulltime and pursue careers that fulfill us on a personal level, we also have to make sure we exercise and eat to look at best at all time, not mentioning being the perfect mothers to our children.
So – I would like to prevent this from escalating in my life as a mother. I’ve already walked through a near breakdown in relation to my cats (that I wrote about here) that was triggered by the exact same motherhood pattern, and this is not something I ever want to experience again. But I see how easy it is to fall into these intense and desperate fears of failing as a mother, equally connected with the intense desire to be perfect and in full control at all times.
I will start by releasing the fears, beliefs and desires through self-forgiveness and then I will prescribe a preventive and corrective process for myself so that I can stop this pattern from developing further.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to participate in a negative experience of worrying that I won’t be a good enough mother for my child when I look at the life I have now and the life I lived as a child with my mother, where I compare the two in an absolute way and conclude that one was perfect and ideal and another is not, when I know that this is not the case in fact
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think, believe and fear that I won’t provide my child with as good a childhood as the one I have because I don’t live in the same way now as I did as a child, because I do don’t the same things that my mother did with me, when in fact there is nothing that is stopping me from changing how I live now or later when I have my child
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to, already before having my child, trigger and become preoccupied with the motherhood fear and guilt system that I see in so many mothers that causes us to not be relaxed and natural around our children, expressing ourselves in an authentic and relaxed way, but that instead causes us to be constantly worried, tense and trying to control our children so that they will have and be what is best, actually causing us to not be the best for them that we can be, in trying so hard to be perfect
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to hold an ideal within my mind of who and how I am supposed to be as a mother, an ideal that I have absorbed from watching movies, television, seeing advertisements and seeing other mothers in my world, not realizing that this is an ideal that is entirely impossible to live where I as a mother am perfect at all times, having a perfect home, perfect body, perfect husband, perfect job, cook perfect cook and everything is simply perfect all the time – not realizing that I have copied this ideal from a one-dimensional still image of a perfect mother that is not only constructed and fake but that is also only containing one split second of a moment where things seemingly are or seem perfect, that I then believe that I must emulate in every moment, in every way and that I then hold myself up against and compare myself according to
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that I am setting myself up to fail when I believe I must live up to an ideal of being a perfect mother that is physically impossible to manifest into real life, because no matter what I do, I will never be that mother
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to, within my mind, measure the success of a mother based on the level and length of perceived perfection she is able to portray, thus for how long and how good she is able to portray herself as the ideal of a still image of perfection, instead of success being measured by who I am in reality with my child as I grow, learn and develop myself with my child, as being and becoming my fullest potential
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create an overtly positive expectation towards myself as a mother, where I think and believe that I will be so great at it and it will be so natural for me, which is the other side of the coin of this ideal and the fear I experience towards failing, where I am convincing myself that I am living up to the ideal and try to boost myself in my mind’s eye, instead of letting the entire thing drop and let go of trying to be perfect and in control, since what I will be facing with having a child, is something I’ve never done before, and so I have no idea how it will be or how I will
When and as I see that I am accepting and allowing myself to participate in fear and worry towards not being good enough of a mother towards my child, I stop and I breathe. I look at if there’s something in my practical reality I want to change, now or when I have my child that I see will benefit my child, and if there is, then I start implementing it, if not then I let go of the point and trust myself to direct myself here.
I realize that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to believe that it was in any way possible for me to control the outcome of having a baby in such a way that I could be perfect and that I therefore should strive for this perfection as anything less than that would be a failure and I now realize that that perfection was an illusion and that if I actually spiraled into this pattern of control, I would do myself and my child a disservice
As such, I commit myself to embrace myself here, as who I am, as and within the process I am walking, in my imperfection, to focus on who I am within and to keep walking the process I am walking of birthing life from the physical as what is best for all and let that be my measure of success as I walk into motherhood – to decide and determine who I am in all moments, as I walk into it with the self-trust that I will change and correct myself when necessary, and so grow and expand in the process.
How to become a perfect mother is thus to embrace my imperfections and within that stand as an example to my child of someone who is willing and able to grow, change and learn from their mistakes.
Learn more about this way of living:
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7 Year Journey To Life Process - People Sharing their Processes of Self-Forgiveness and Self-Correction
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