Every mother wants to be a good mum. Some might want to be perfect mums. Those who have been doing mothering for some time know that there is no such thing as perfect in parenting; but those who are new to it might put that extra pressure on themselves when the load on their shoulders is already immense.
According to psychologist Tamás Vekerdy it is very important to try not to be perfect. Children are very demanding; it’s exhausting to look after them, they take up all our energy, they suck vitality out of us. Some parents might be afraid to admit it but in reality that’s how they are supposed to feel – and this is normal.
In the past centuries this wasn’t that much of a problem as the extended family was there to help; great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all participated in child rearing, and no parent or couple was expected to do the job alone. That was unheard of.
Times have changed since and the era of the extended family is gone, and parents are left to cope on their own. Of course this is going to be a bit of a struggle sometimes and it is vital for parents to get help from time to time. All carers have to enjoy some “me-time” that allows them to recharge their batteries, and couples have to incorporate quality time together. If no friend or family member can help, try to get a baby sitter for one or two hours a week – it might not be the most ideal solution, but it is essential for your mental wellbeing. Go out for a meal or a movie, indulge in something you enjoy; when you get back home refreshed and recharged your child will feel the benefits too.
A priority of good parents should be their wellbeing, otherwise how could they be good role models? Cleaning, chores, ironing come at the bottom of the list; it is best not to iron at all, says Mr Vekerdy. Just get Daddy some of those non-iron shirts that are a God-send. Once the kids are a bit bigger they’ll be too busy with their friends anyway, then you can get back to ironing (if you’ll want to, that is).
It is also important to be authentic. Be honest with your kids, don’t hide your opinions and don’t try to hide your feelings. If you feel like crying, cry; and tell them why you’re crying. You don’t necessarily have to go into details, but it’s better to explain why you’re feeling a certain way than trying to hide it. Kids pick up on these vibes, and if there is a discrepancy between what they sense and what you say, they will trust what they sense.
So don’t try to be perfect, just be yourself, and enjoy yourself. That way you’ll enjoy your children too; and there you have the base for a happy family.