It’s 2014, I am at a dreaded networking event and the sweat is rolling down my back. I’m two years in ‘business’ now. I have a bunch of Vistaprint business cards in my hand at the ready, praying that no one asks me for one.
That was the story of my life back then. I was constantly concerned at where I fitted in, yet I was still turning up. I felt less than everyone else in that room. All those other ‘real’ business owners, with their ‘real’ businesses.
“Just trust your gut.” This triggered me as a new mum. I couldn’t hear my gut through the chaos of having a new born, being sleep deprived, having breastfeeding problems and my body healing after human exiting it. It came with time. Time and compassion in bucket...
I’m 6 months in and I have NEVER compared myself to others as much as I have done in the last 6 months.
This person is flying it…. That person’s baby sleeps like a dream…. That girl over there has this nailed…..
Why is that?
I’ve learnt about motherhood from a sociological perspective but now I’m living it and holy shit balls. Learning about something and living it – two very different things. I obviously know that. But now I knoooow that.
Half the time I feel like what I suspect Alice must have felt like when she fell down that rabbit hole. However, if you follow that story through, she had a pretty wild adventure. And I relate to that too.
But so where the does all this comparison come from?
Dr. Sophie Brock, a sociologist in Motherhood Studies says “We have been conditioned to internalise the patriarchal, social and cultural beliefs around what it means to be a good mother.” The Perfect Mother Myth.
These beliefs are deeply, deeply ingrained in our society and are basically unhelpful rules we as mothers must adhere to in order to be considered, and consider ourselves, to be good mothers. This is big stuff.
Further to that she states “comparison can be a way to berate ourselves into being a better mother.” Ah. Clever.
‘It’s not necessarily the comparing thought that’s the issue, but rather the feeling of guilt and shame that follows’. – right. And no better way to ensure compliance. Guilt and shame are long used forms of social control.
Motherhood – it’s an extremely loud arena. And as new mum, who like us all is learning daily on the bounce, it has been harder to drown out the noise than I ever expected.
Okay, so what can we do about this comparison then?
First, we must recognise that we cannot resist what we cannot see.
So, grab a pen and paper and write down:
1. What do you currently believe you should be doing in order to consider yourself a good enough mum. 2. Challenge any thoughts that are creating shame or any feelings of not good enoughness. Where do those thoughts or images come from? 3. Could you then create your own image of what a happy, content and good enough mother is?
My intention for 2022 is rebuild what my own beliefs are around all this.
I don’t think it’ll happen overnight but what I wish for me as a new mum, and all the mums out there, is to mother my little love like no-ones watching.
Mom guilt Mom guilt. I think it’s fair to say that most women have heard this term. But what is it and why does it happen? Research shows that mom guilt tends to happen most when a mother has aligned herself closely to the Perfect Mother Myth. Briefly, the...