I’ve realised lately that we Mums tend to say a lot of things to ourselves. Self-talk can be a great thing, a wonderful motivator. But sometimes it can be simply unhelpful and destructive.
So this blog series is about a few common phrases I’d like all mums to take out if their vocabulary.
I WILL NEVER…
Becoming a Mum is a pretty awesome thing. It’s such an incredible responsibility, to know you now have this tiny little bundle who is completely dependent on you.
So we want to get it right. We’re going to “do it the right way” and be the best damn mother the world has ever seen, right?
But to do that we’re going to need to set ourselves some guidelines, some new Mumma rules. And they commonly start with these three words…
I will never.
How many of you have ever said these word to yourself?
I will never give my baby a dummy.
I will never feed my baby packaged baby food.
I will never use a controlled crying method.
I will never….. all of the above.
I know I told myself “I will never… ” more than a few times early in my motherhood journey.
But I did. More often that not I ended up doing the exact things I swore I wouldn’t do! But you know what? That’s okay! Truly it is.
Remember back to those early days of pregnancy? When you spent hours reading, researching and planning out exactly what sort of parenting style you would use? You consumed as many books, magazines and blog articles as you could find. And by the time your due date rolled around, you had it sorted. You knew exactly what methods you were (and weren’t!) going to use to raise your baby.
But then your baby arrived. And this teeny little bundle didn’t seem to want to fit in with your planned style of motherhood. Your little precious monkey started throwing at you a whole bunch of behaviours and challenges you weren’t expecting. And now! all that researching and decision making seems so, well, useless!
But you’re determined, right? You’ve read the research, you “know” what’s best. So you keep pressing on doggedly with you pre-conceived strategies. Even though it’s causing you stress, exhaustion and guilt. Even though you haven’t slept for three nights and your baby is screaming, and you’ve tried every settling technique you can think of… Except a dummy, because “I will never give my baby a dummy….”
So many of us make decisions when we become a mother based on what we think or know to be right.
But difficulties can ensue when things don’t turn out the way we expect. We never know what temperament our baby is going to have, and we don’t really know how motherhood is going to change us personally. Our goals, beliefs, attitudes. We may like to think that motherhood won’t change us, but it does. Often in ways we never see coming.
Raising a child is like wandering into the great unknown. While its a wonderful and enriching journey, it’s also a challenging one, dotted with stumbling blocks and unforeseen barriers that we never knew even existed. Sometimes along his journey we may have to do things we NEVER envisaged our sleeves doing.
But that’s okay, because there is no right or wrong way to raise a child. There is just YOUR way. What works for you and your little family. And this might not be exactly how your mother did it, or how your sister or best friend does it, or how the books/blogs/magazines say to do it.
So don’t close yourself off to different styles and methods of parenting. Because you never really know which one is going to be the best for you. It often takes a lite trial and error – because that’s how we humans learn best. Through experience.
What matters most is figuring out how to raise your baby in a way that suits your personality and style, and helps you work towards your own personal goals of motherhood. It’s not about hard and fast rules of “do this” and “don’t do that”.
So, do away with the “I will never”s. Instead, be flexible and open to different suggestions and parenting techniques.
Be willing to say “I didn’t intended to do it that way, but I’m willing to try….”.