Friday, February 11, 2011

Practicing Motherhood

Doctors, dentists and lawyers have a 'practice.' Mothers are expected to be...no practicing, just be.

There is no school for mothers. There is no apprenticeship. You don't get to sit back for four years and learn the ins and outs of motherhood and then under supervision try it out for a few weeks to see if you're cut out for it. There is no competency test (thank goodness), no licensing process, no certifications, you don't get to practice being a mother, you just are. How crazy is that?


And even more mental is when women, strong, beautiful, intelligent, loving women, become mothers and suddenly they walk around in a cloud of worry and guilt over how they are raising their children. They judge themselves harshly, make no allowances for mistakes or their inability to predict the future. They lose sleep, lose hair, lose friends because all they can focus on, obsess over is whether they are good enough, are they a good enough mother?

We all want the best for our kids. We want to give them the tools they need to be successful, productive adults. We want them to be happy, kind and compassionate. We want them to avoid broken bones and broken hearts. We want them to know the thrill of success but never experience the bitterness of failure. We want better for them, so we do our best. We try and we succeed. And sometimes we try and we fail.

When we see success, we say, "Whew! What a lucky break!" and when we experience a parental failure we beat ourselves up and carry our misstep around our necks like a monument to our short comings.  We promise ourselves that we will do better next time, we second guess ourselves, berate ourselves. We hold on to the moments where we felt like we failed and let the successes slip through our fingers. How backwards is that?

We need to give ourselves a break and reframe how we look at motherhood. Being a mom isn't about the individual moments of success and failure, its about the big picture. Its about the kind of person you are. Its okay to be scared, to try things and fail, to make mistakes because the thing that matters, the thing your kids will remember is how you loved them.

A woman, and mother, whom I greatly respect said something to me a couple of years ago that changed my perspective of motherhood. She said, "You don't need to be a great mother to raise a great kid...you just need to be a good mother." I don't need to be perfect, to have all the right answers I just need to do my best. I need to practice motherhood.

Watch this video and give yourself permission to practice, to fail, to learn more, to do better.


1 comment:

mns said...

LOVE this. Are you in my head? : )