Here’s to being OPEN. For openness leads to FREEDOM. Here’s to the end of secrets and shame. Here’s to hugs and kindly faces. Here’s to the TRUTH that we aren’t alone. Here’s to the END of silencing our own anxiety, depression and neuroses. Here’s to HOPE that THERE IS A WAY through. Here’s to the tentative budding choice to believe that WE ARE WORTH IT. Here’s to tears of RELIEF that comes when we take the risk of talking to the right people. Here’s to the beginning of the END OF STIGMA. Here’s to the start of VALUING our own processes. Here’s to RECONCILIATION. Families and relationships REBUILT. Here’s to RECOVERY. Here’s to the investment in making KINDER choices. Here’s to SELF CARE even if it feels unnatural at first. Here’s to picking up the phone to SUPPORT NETWORKS. Here’s to daring to LEAN ON others. Here’s to learning more about what it feels to be ACCEPTED and the conscious act of letting yourself be LOVED. Here’s to chipping away at the power we’ve given abusers and bullies and CLAIMING BACK our ground. Here’s to TAKING UP SPACE in the world and recognising that we DESERVE it as much as the next person. Here’s to starving the critical voice and FEEDING the one that says I’m INNATELY VALUABLE. Here’s to STANDING ALONGSIDE EACH OTHER, brothers, sisters, just finding our way through. Here’s to STARTING THIS JOURNEY. Here’s to CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION about mental health. I cried writing this. I truly believe that every word is possible. If I can spend my entire life sharing, writing and talking about this message in the hopes some of it may provide people with increased freedom and understanding of their worth, I will.
Sometimes, when we live life too fast, stepping out of the day-to-day isn’t enough to slow down. Turning off the engine doesn’t force the wheels to an immediate stop. You can stop the sprinting, but the heart continues to race. Sometimes, slowing down has to be more intentional than we could have ever imagined it should be.
The antidote? Introducing slowness into each day somehow. Schedule it if you must. You either slow down purposefully, or life has a way of forcing you to stop. One is intentional and controlled, the other is messier. PS. I’m totally preaching to myself here.
Here is a 3 minute video on this topic for you.
At the start of Yoga this Saturday, our teacher read a script telling us to ‘start where you are’.
We are where we are. That’s all we are now. We’re not the us of yesterday or the us that we may be tomorrow.
It got me thinking about how often we delay doing things that will benefit us somehow because we tell ourselves that we need to be a in a certain physical or mental headspace first.
We may think, I can’t face the gym until I’ve lost some weight. I will start to try and think better, eat better in January. I’ll change things tomorrow.
You are worth making changes, moving, doing, starting now. Not when you are thinner, happier, more energised. Not when it’s sunnier or when the New Year clock chimes midnight.
To keep putting off making kind and positive changes is to procrastinate our way into self-sabotage where things pass us by. Things get harder and worse, and then we end up making changes out of hitting a messy rock-bottom rather than a motivation for self-care and investment.
To act is an act of self-love. And if self-love feels an alien concept, do it anyway and choose to trust that making changes will actually feed into a new cycle of worth.
I’ve ventured to You Tube and am doing a 3 minute series on various motherhood and mental health topics. Here’s on on how to be a ‘perfect mum’. Hint hint….it doesn’t exist.
I’m the first to acknowledge that I’ve spent the majority of my life as a perfectionist. An insatiable demand placed over myself, by myself. A desire to be the best, with little room left for my humanness. I never believed I was enough. I could write a whole post on how I have begun to let go of perfectionism in the last few years as a parent and how freeing I’ve found it, but that’s for another day.
This post is for us Mum’s who often don’t feel good enough.
When did ‘good enough’ stop becoming good enough?
As children we welcomed a ‘tick’ on our school work. Little validations in scrawled marks telling us that we met the standard. Good enough used to be good. It used to be enough.
‘Good enough’ has been steam rolled by perfectionism and comparison. Good enough is now substandard. Pah! Who’d want to be good enough when you could be GREAT? We see snapshots of other people’s mothering, and we merge them together into one supposedly attainable ideal of what it is to be a ‘great mum’.
Perhaps it’s the increase in social media. Tiny little Instagram squares feeding this belief that others are mothering better than we are. They are coping better, parenting better. They shout less, cook more, look nicer, never argue in front of the kids, gaze at their phone less, and NEVER ever want to run away and hide in the kitchen with wine.
How come when we compare ourselves to others, we tend to come off worse?
Winnicot was a Psychoanalyst and parenting expert in the 1950’s. He studied thousands of mothers and knew the emotional, physical and mental energy required to raise these small people. He summarised that the way to be a good mother, is to be a ‘good enough’ mother.
Good – acceptable, positive, satisfactory, valuable, worthy, agreeable, admirable
Enough – abundant, ample, sufficient, suitable, acceptable, competent, decent, sufficing
Mother – source, origin, creator
Good enough takes into account our humanness, with all of our failures and our limits. Imperfection becomes positive.
It’s healthy for children to be failed in tolerable ways in the context of relationship with a loving parent. We are teaching them how to survive in an imperfect world that will fail and disappoint. Parenting is a long-haul job, it’s a daily grind. We mother through sickness, highs and lows, sleep deprivation, PMT. We need to have more grace for ourselves.
Guilt fills the void between the mother we think we should be, and the mother we are.
I should be more patient
I shouldn’t be letting my little one watch so much TV
I should be doing more,
I should be more.
I am not enough
The very fact that we feel this guilt says that we are probably doing a fab job. But perhaps we need to change the language we use.
‘Should’s are aggressively critical, pointing the finger, breeding guilt and stifling action. This language slowly chips away at self-acceptance and worth.
Perhaps the ‘should’s are alerting you to areas for change and tweaks. Turn it into a “hey, let’s grab a book”, an encouragement for action, rather than an an action stifling criticism.
When you offer your children consistent love as a base, no matter what the day holds, or whether sleep deprivation induced impatience leaves you snappy and highly strung (my hand is up here!), or the TV does the babysitting whilst you tear around the house tidying yesterday’s chaos…. you are good enough.
So, beautiful Mum’s. You are enough. You are so enough. It’s unbelievable how enough you are.