I don’t claim to be a great mother.
I don’t think I’m a bad mother.
I love my children with all my heart and soul. All of the parenting choices I make comes after careful thought and consideration. I’m not just raising my children, though, I know I’m still raising myself.
I believe I’m the best mother for my children. And I know that I’m good enough, but I’ll never see myself as a great mother.
At least I hope not.
I’ve wavered on going back to my former career versus staying home with my kids more times than I can count. I’ve written about feeling drawn back to work because careers in Corporate America have measurable successes.
I could say, “I’m good at this.”
I definitely realize the rewards of staying home with my children in the beautiful moments. You know, when I have the time and wherewithal to sit back and take it all in. In the throws of daily life, however, it can be easy to lose sight of that. In a world without quarterly reviews, the endless doubt of so many parenting feels completely daunting.
But that’s not what this is all about.
I mean parenting.
Parenting isn’t about winning awards.
Despite what the media would have us believe, parenting’s not about winning any awards. How we make the decisions that impact our families matter most. So what makes a great mother? I know I’m not a better mother because I had a home birth.
I’m proud of the fact that, that decision followed thorough consideration of many different factors about my health and our lifestyle. It would be ridiculous if I patted myself on the back for the outcome when so many factors were out of my hands. I’m just thankful it worked out so well.
I never want to get to the point where I stop trying to better myself as a parent or person. I think it’s important that I always realize that there’s room for improvement. Yoga taught me to respect my body by honoring what it can do while remaining open to new possibilities.
So what makes a great mother? Following your instincts.
Since becoming a mother, I try to learn more each day. I try to honor and trust my instincts, while remaining open to change and new parenting choices.
A big part of that is allowing myself to think outside the box in following my instincts. I never felt comfortable with the cry-it-out approach to sleep-training, but I didn’t want to practice family bed either. We wanted our oldest out of our bed but not necessarily in his own room. I remember griping to my husband repeatedly about how there didn’t seem to be any middle ground with the research I did.
I had a really hard time explaining why my son was sleeping in our room with us at four months of age. With all the sleep schedules and sleep training advice I received, it was hard to stand my ground. I’d done the research. I knew other parents co-slept with their babies.
Now, with my youngest, I’m open to doing things differently. I realize that just because I did it one way the first time doesn’t mean I have to do it that way again.
Though becoming a parent is the most important thing I’ve ever done and I’ll admit that much of it has come naturally, I would never say I’m good at this. I wouldn’t say that because it’s not over yet and there’s not real destination.
For me, mothering is all about the journey.