I used to think I was a crap mum. I used to feel that my family would be better off without me. I do not say these things for people to counter with “no you aren’t” or “no you weren’t”. The fact is that I really did feel this way and I truly thought that MadDad and the boys would be better off without me. I suffered with Post Natal Depression, I bullied myself, catastrophised everything and was filled with terrible anxiety. I couldn’t separate rational and irrational thoughts. I received fantastic treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy over five years ago now and it changed the person that I was and helped make me the mum and person I am now.
I was reading Kate’s post earlier in the week about how scared parenting made her feel and it brought all those feelings back to me, but rather than let them take over me, I remembered that I am parenting in an imperfect world and my imperfect parenting skills are just preparing y boys for the road which they will travel. This is one of the biggest things that CBT gave me, it helped be put things into perspective and process them. I am not a perfect mum, but I am the best mum the boys could hope for, I am their mum and I love them with all my heart and every fibre of my being.
I have two quotes that help me navigate the waters of perfection, for as soon as I realised that I didn’t need to be the perfect mother, that it was OK to give shop bought food and not beat myself up about formula feeding and ensured that if I was happy so would the boys be, things started to come together for us all.
“There is no one way to be the perfect Mother, but there are millions of ways to be a good one!” - Jill Churchill
“Being Happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections” - Gerard Way
So on those days when I am screaming like a fishwife at my boys or wondering how to find the words to tell them about challenges that life may throw at them, I hope that I can remember that it is OK to be an imperfect parent in an imperfect world and give myself a break, for this parenting lark is the hardest, unceasing, but most rewarding job I have ever done or will ever do.
I have also vowed to be in the picture more, this was something that I did a lot more after my mastectomy. So I will be passing the camera to other people more often and instead of being the one behind it taking the pictures, I will be the one in THAT picture with my family.