You – yes YOU – are a successful mummy
Instantly, some of you will have thought “no, I’m not”. If that’s you, stop right there. That’s storytelling: a story that your mind is telling yourself. I’ve got a different story for you, and everyone who’s ready to listen to a new truth. It’s the story of why you, me, all of us are successful mummies.
Today, in this world we are mothering in, we are surrounded with books, blogs, posts… opinion, opinion everywhere. What we should and should not do with our children, when we should do it, how we should do it.
We’re social beings and right from our own childhood our basic need is to belong. We listen so intently to other people’s expectations; we put such a lot of store in what other people think of us.
The thing is, other people tend to watch, notice, and judge only what they see. Which means the visible milestones and behaviour of our children are the yardsticks by which our success as mothers tends to be measured.
Things like being toilet-trained, able to swim, the first day of school, the first prize at assembly. These though, are but fleeting moments amid constant, never-ending work.
Children are work
Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work. (John Trainer)
Motherhood – parenting, for that matter – is a job for life. One with a huge responsibility: to nurture and guide a human being to the best of his or her potential.
Some will say it’s not a “job”. Some won’t like the term “work”. That’s because both of these terms can have negative connotations; it makes it sound like it’s a grind. But let’s face it, parenting isn’t a walk in the park!
The reason I’ve used these words is because I want to draw parallels between “jobs” in the traditional sense and mothering. I want to draw your attention to the unseen successes you – yes YOU! – are having each and every day as a mummy.
These days, most workplaces focus on what you deliver and how you deliver it. ‘Soft skills’ are as important as qualifications and technical training. Team engagement is a measure of enthusiasm and commitment to one’s job and a proven measure of organisational success.
These skills and attitudes are increasingly important to businesses. And this is the stuff us mummies are made of! Active listening; respectful of differences in opinion; negotiating; showing empathy, compassion and support; coaching, challenging, motivating and leading; setting boundaries – and knowing when to flex them; being a confidante, trusted and reliable; having thick skin, resilience, and above all patience.
As mothers we strive to support our children to reach those visible milestones. But more than that, we support our children in their lives; the learning, development and growth that they’re undergoing every minute of every day. This, dear reader, is what makes a successful mummy.
It’s hard to measure, it’s silent, it’s largely unrecognised and certainly not celebrated enough. So let’s change that. If we can define it, then we can more easily recognise and honour it…
The 3 reasons you are a successful mummy
Everyone is doing the best they can in any given moment. We might not think a decision we’ve made is best in hindsight, but we do the best we can in the circumstance – eg. your state of alertness (um, hello baby brain and a state of fogginess from sleep deprivation!). I’m sure you want the best for your child and no matter what choice you make in the moment, you are doing it with the best of intentions believing it to be the best decision. That’s success.
We try. So, so hard. Yet we worry so much about how we’re doing; whether we’re doing well enough. Did you know that the original quote by Indian spiritual master Meher Baba, “Don’t worry, be happy”, also included two more words that have been dropped from the modern phrase: “Make efforts”. Consider Meher Baba’s quote in reverse: Make efforts, be happy, don’t worry. There is effort in everything we do as mothers: all the teaching, helping, protecting, transporting, feeding, loving… All of that? That’s success.
Just the fact that we are present, as guide and witness to our childrens’ lives, is an achievement. Aside from belonging, another fundamental human need is a feeling of significance. When you take time to Just Be with your child (however much – it’s about quality not quantity), you are showing them they’re significant. That, to me, is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, and one of the greatest successes of motherhood.
Intention, Effort and Being are the quiet achievers, the unsung heroes of motherhood. These are qualities to be proud of, and to celebrate. If you’re reading this, you care about mummying. Or daddying. Maybe it’s another mum or dad you care about who is feeling overwhelmed, guilty, like a failure, and you’re looking for content to build them up. This, I hope, will help.
We all want to be the best parent we can. And in each of our unique ways, with our effort and being, we are. Take a moment now to reflect. Take a deep breath in and as you do, breathe in pride for yourself and the most important job that you do so well, every single day.
Then breathe out gratitude (and maybe relief too!) – for this realisation, this belief, this knowledge deep inside you. That you are enough. Just you, with your good intentions, your effort every day, and the time you spend being present with your child.
Another breath in with pride. Another breath out with gratitude. Now smile. Celebrate yourself and your achievement today. And tomorrow. And every day.