I'm a mum who is learning that it's okay to make mistakes
By Dani Higginbotham
One of the hardest things I have found about being a mum is not the sleepless nights, or the never-ending housework, but rather my own harsh judgement towards myself that I can never live up to.
Going to mother and toddler groups I am surrounded by other women of whom I would never judge as cruelly as I judge myself. I look at them with compassion; their blurry eyes speak of sleepless nights and piles of laundry. I genuinely congratulate their ability to stay engaged, love and laugh with their child, knowing even that is a sacrifice at times.
As new mums we accomplish something beyond comprehension - carrying and giving birth to a human being. Immediately after we have pushed our bodies through labour and beyond what we thought physically possible, we are then thrust into a deep sea of sleepless nights, baby puke, feeding challenges and poo explosions.
Amongst this new endeavour into the unknown we pile pressure upon pressure on ourselves to receive guests and provide freshly baked morning tea. We drown in our own unrealistic goals of leaving the hospital the next day in our skinny jeans and providing only the best in organic produce for this youngling.
Recently I started a new job. The frustration of learning the ropes had the ability to become all too much for my perfectionistic nature. That was until I started speaking kindly to myself. I made a conscious decision to replace the “I should have known that” and “you idiot!” with “you’re doing a good job!”, and “It’s ok to make mistakes because you’re still learning."
Putting realistic expectations on myself and removing the pressure to get it right first time have enabled me to enjoy the learning process and be empowered to ask questions.
I wondered what it would be like if I applied this same self-talk to my journey of parenthood.
After three children I am still learning, and with each season and each unique personality seasoning the mix, there are fresh challenges and new ground to embark upon. I’m learning what it is to be a mother to a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 10 month old. My husband is learning what it looks like to father these growing individuals with their own quirks and ways of expressing themselves.
Each tiny human in our household is learning what it is to be alive, what it is to communicate their needs and their wants. They’re learning what it is to not always get what they want and having to sometimes do something they don’t want to do. My husband and I are learning what marriage looks like with a growing family and what date night is after an exhausting week and children that won’t sleep.
We are all learning and it’s an on-going process with every new month and every new year. There are are hills and there are valleys, there are times of frustration and times of indescribable joy.
Every day is a new day with a different challenge, but I’m beginning to find that life is a lot sweeter and the journey is full of far more laughter when that voice says... "it’s ok to make mistakes because you're still learning" and “You're doing a good job!”